Big-headed Amazon river turtle (Peltocephalus dumerilianus)

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Big-headed Amazon river turtle
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Big-headed Amazon river turtle fact file

Big-headed Amazon river turtle description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderTestudines
FamilyPelomedusidae
GenusPeltocephalus (1)

The big-headed Amazon river turtle (Peltocephalus dumerilianus) has a grey-brown to black domed upper shell (carapace) with a keel running down its centre, which is pronounced in juveniles, but becomes lower with age. Likewise, the carapace scutes of young adults are marked with growth rings (annuli), but those of older turtles often become worn smooth. The lower shell is yellow to brown, and the neck and limbs are grey to olive. The large, triangular head is also usually grey to olive but may become noticeably white in old adults. Jaws, by contrast are tan coloured, with the upper jaw being strongly hooked and the snout protruding. All toes are webbed (2).

Also known as
Big-headed sideneck.
French
Peltocephale De Duméril, Podocnémide De Duméril.
Size
Carapace length: 44 cm (2)
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Big-headed Amazon river turtle biology

The big-headed Amazon river turtle is an omnivorous species that feeds on fish, invertebrates, fruits and seeds, aquatic plants and algae. Hatchlings reportedly feed on fish and vegetable matter (2).

In Colombia, this turtle nests during the dry season, starting in mid-December and, in Brazil, hatching has been observed in August and September (2). Clutches contain seven to 25 eggs, which are incubated in a flask-shaped nest 12 to 24 cm deep in floodplain forests for at least 100 days (2) (4).

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Big-headed Amazon river turtle range

Found in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru and Venezuela (1).

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Big-headed Amazon river turtle habitat

This semi-aquatic species inhabits streams and rivers, and adjacent flood-plain fields, lagoons, oxbows, and swamps (2) (4).

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Big-headed Amazon river turtle status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

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Big-headed Amazon river turtle threats

The threats to this species are unknown.

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Big-headed Amazon river turtle conservation

There are no conservation measures currently targeting this species.

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Omnivore
An organism that feeds on both plants and animals.
Scute
One of the large keratinous scales on the carapace (the top shell of a turtle or tortoise).
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (January, 2007)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Turtles of the World (CD-ROM), by Ernst, C.H., Altenburg, R.G.M. and Barbour, R.W. (February, 2007)
    http://ip30.eti.uva.nl/bis/turtles.php?selected=beschrijving&menuentry=soorten&record=Peltocephalus%20dumerilianus
  3. CITES (January, 2007)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. Damisela.com (February, 2007)
    http://www.damisela.com/zoo/rep/tortugas/pleuro/pelo/dumeriliana/index.htm
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Image credit

Big-headed Amazon river turtle  
Big-headed Amazon river turtle

© César Luis Barrio-Amorós / Fundación AndígenA

Fundación AndígenA
Postal 210, Mérida 5101-A
Estado Mérida
Venezuela
Tel: +58 (414) 748 08 83
Fax: +58 (274) 252 53 44
atelopus@andigena.org
http://www.andigena.org/

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