Taxonomy and nomenclature of the longneck turtle (genus Chelodina) from south-western Australia

WA Museum Records and Supplements | Updated 12 months ago

ABSTRACT – Gray (1856) recognised Chelodina colliei from south-western Australia as a different species from Chelodina oblonga Gray, 1841 from ‘Western Australia’. In addition, Gray (1873) specifically mentioned specimens of C. oblonga from the Port Essington region of today’s Northern Territory. Boulenger (1889) synonymized C. colliei with C. oblonga, a view followed by later reviewers for over seven decades. Goode (1967) and Burbidge (1967) both reinstated Gray’s original concept that the longneck turtle of south-western Australia represents a distinct species, but erroneously applied and restricted the name C. oblonga to the south-western Australian species. Thomson (2000) detected this nomenclatural error and subsequently applied to the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN case 3351, Thomson 2006) to give precedence to rugosa over oblonga whenever the two were considered to be conspecific and to place on the official lists the names colliei, oblonga and rugosa, thus leaving colliei as the only available name for the south-western Australian Chelodina. Since then, the name Chelodina colliei was again used by several authors for the south-western Australian taxon, including in books and checklists (Bonin et al. 2006; Fritz and Havaš 2007; Iverson 2007). With case 3351 still under consideration by the ICZN, McCord and Joseph-Ouni (2007) further aggravated the nomenclatural confusion regarding the south-western Australian longneck turtle by fixing a ‘neotype’ for C. oblonga and by describing the genus Macrodiremys for C. oblonga (= colliei), both actions in violation of Articles 75.6 and 82.1 of the 1999 ICZN Code.

KEYWORDS: Testudines, Chelidae, Chelodina colliei, Chelodina oblonga, nomenclature

Author(s) Gerald Kuchling
Records 25 : Part 4
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