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Common Names in English:
Yellow-spotted River Turtle, Yellow-headed Sideneck, Yellow-Spotted Amazon River Turtle, Yellow-spotted Sideneck Turtle
Common Names in French:
Podocn?mide de Cayenne, Podocnémide De Cayenne
Common Names in Russian:
Черепаха желтопятнистая амазонская или желтоголовая бокошейная
Common Names in Spanish:
Species Podocnemis unifilis
The Yellow-spotted Amazon turtle, Podocnemis
unifilis , grows to a length
of 12 to17 1/2 inches. The carapace
) is dark brown to black, and has a distinct
) on the second and third vertebral scutes
. The front legs
and the hind legs are webbed
with four claws. The head
is dominated by paired
, which meet along a distinct
between the eyes.
Turtles of this genus have two or three barbels (an elongated sensory projection) under the chin. The Yellow-spotted Amazon has only one, hence the name unifilis.
Juveniles have greenish irises and black heads spotted with bright yellow. Adult females have grayish skin , black irises, and they lose most of their yellow head spots. Their carapace is dark brown, often with a dark median streak. Adult males are smaller than females. They retain their yellow head spots, have a longer thicker tail, grayish skin, and greenish irises.
Yellow-spotted amazons are found in Northern South America, Venezuela and Surinam to northern Brazil; mainly in Amazon and Orinoco river drainages , in large rivers, backwaters , lagoons , and flooded forests . They usually inhabit rivers only during mating season . At other times they live in lagoons and backwaters.
These turtles are herbivorous, feeding on aquatic vegetation and fruits of waterside plants . They open their mouths at the water surface filling it with fine particulate surface food. Then it closes its mouth, filtering water through its nostrils and jaw.
on and near the beach
during the nesting season
for several days to bask
. Males also congregate, but do not usually
A relatively shallow nest , 6-10 inches, is dug in a variety of substrates, preferably on sandy beaches. 14 to 49 elongated, hard-shelled eggs are laid, approximately 1-3/4 x 1-1/4 inches. The nest is filled, then stamped flat with an open foot and loosely swept over. Two clutches may be laid per season.
Incubation is 75 to 90 days, averaging 84. The shell is first ruptured at approximately 64 days. The young remain in the shell several days until the yolk sac is completely absorbed. They gather at the top of the nest chamber and emerge after another two weeks, at night and usually after rain.
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Bateson, 1885
- Cuvier, 1812
- Infraphylum: Gnathostomata () - auct. - Jawed Vertebrates
- Subphylum: Vertebrata () - Cuvier, 1812 - Vertebrates
- Phylum: Chordata () - Bateson, 1885 - Chordates
- Infrakingdom: Chordonia () - (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Deuterostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Chelys (Hydraspis) lata • Emys cayennensis • Emys cayennensis Schweigger 1812: 298 • Emys terekay SCHINZ 1833< /i> (Fide Pritchard & Trebbau 1984) • Podocnemis cayennensis — David 1994 • Podocnemis unifilis — Gorzula & SeÑaris 1999 • Podocnemis unifilis — Kahl Et Al. 1980: 117 • Testudo terekay
Status: Accepted Name
Comment: Holotype: ZMB 142, now lost (fide KING & BURKE 1989). Mittermeier and Wilson (1974) and Wermuth and Mertens (1977:121) believe Emys cayennensis Schweigger 1812 may be an older name applicable to this species. Acting on Fretey's (1977) information about the type specimens of Emys dumeriliana and E. cayennensis, Hoogmoed and Gruber (1983:346) concluded that dumeriliana was an older available name for unifilis, and that cayennensis was a junior synonym of P. expansa. Pritchard and Trebbau's (1984) review showed the holotype of E. cayennensis, MHNH 8359, is a P. unifilis and that action by the Intl. Comm. Zool. Nomencl. may be necessary to suppress the variously applied cayennensis in favor of the more stable unifilis (after KING & BURKE 1989).
Members of the genus Podocnemis
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 6 species and subspecies in this genus:
P. erythrocephala (Red-Headed Amazon River Turtle) · P. expansa (South American River Turtle) · P. lewyana (Magdalena River Turtle) · P. sextuberculata (Six-Tubercled Amazon River Turtle) · P. unifilis (Yellow-Spotted River Turtle) · P. vogli (Savanna Side-Necked Turtle)
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- Amphibians and reptiles of the Hopkins-Branner expedition to Brazil [by] Karl P. Schmidt and Robert F. Inger. 31 1951 [Chicago]Chicago Natural History Museum, 1951. url p. 449.
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- Catalogue of shielf reptiles in the collection of the British Museum. Pt. 1, Appendix. LondonPrinted by order of the Trustess1872 url p. 26.
- Catalogue of the chelonians, rhynchocephalians, and crocodiles in the British museum (Natural history). London: Printed by order of the Trustees, 1889. url p. 203.
- Checklist of CITES Species CITES, WCMC url p. 205, p. 227, p. 241.
- Checklist of CITES Species: a reference to the appendices to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora CITES url p. 197, p. 198, p. 241, p. 215.
- Checklist of reptiles and amphibians listed in the CITES appendices and in EC Regulation 338/97 JNCC url p. 14.
- IUCN Directory of Neotropical Protected Areas IUCN url p. 294.
- In the field: the bulletin of the Field Museum of Natural History. Chicago, IL: Field Museum of Natural History, c1990- url p. 6.
- List of the vertebrated animals now or lately living in the gardens of the Zoological Society of London. London: Printed for the Society, 1896. url p. 568, p. 568.
- Occasional papers of the Museum of Natural History, the University of Kansas. 1982 Lawrence, Kan.: The University, 1971-1994. url p. 28.
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- Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. London: Academic Press, [etc.], 1833-1965. url p. 745, p. 748.
- Report of the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and financial report of the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents for the year ending June 30. .. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1933-1965. url p. 129, p. 137, p. 145, p. 158, p. 158, p. 159, p. 164, p. 176.
- Revised list of the vertebrated animals now or lately living in the gardens of the Zoological society of London. 1872. London, Printed for the Society,  url p. 331.
- Smithsonian year. 1965 Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1965-1976. url p. 186.
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- The Conservation Atlas of Tropical Forests: the Americas IUCN url p. 308.
- The IUCN Amphibia-Reptilia Red Data Book. Part 1 Testudines Crocodylia and Rhynchocephalia IUCN url p. 261, p. 262, p. 263, p. 264, p. 265, p. 266, p. 315, p. 34, p. 35, p. 36, p. 38, p. 39.
- The baculum of the gorilla [by] D. Dwight Davis. 31 1951 [Chicago]Chicago Natural History Museum, 1951. url p. 655.
- The vertebrate fauna of the Selma Formation of Alabama. Rainer Zangerl. [Chicago, Ill.]: Chicago Natural History Museum, 1948. url p. 41.
- World Checklist of Threatened Amphibians and Reptiles Joint Nature Conservation Committee url p. 24.
- World Checklists of Threatened Amphibians and Reptiles Nature Conservancy Council url p. 24, p. 58.
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- Tortoise & Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group 1996. Podocnemis unifilis. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloadedon 04February2012.
Accessed through GBIF Data Portal February 27, 2008:
- Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum: Bishop Museum Natural History Specimen Data
- Museum of Vertebrate Zoology: Terrestrial vertebrate specimens
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2547157
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Rep-5790
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 13765291
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 202121
- IUCN ID: 234372
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Species Identifier: C00K
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 9950