Added September 14 2003. Last updated April 14 2009: updated text and added links to Peltocephalus and Erymnochelys.


Afro-American Side-Necks, Primitive Side-Necked Turtles

Found mainly in the Amazon basin, with the sole exception of Erymnochelys in Madagascar. Formerly included in the Family Pelomedusidae, which are now confined to Africa and Madagascar.

The family is characterised by the presence of a mesoplastral component and absence of a cervical scute. The forelegs are equipped with 5 and the hindlegs with 4 powerful claws.

Genus Common Name No. of species Location Notes
Erymnochelys Malagasy Big-Headed Side-Necked Turtle 1 Madagascar  
Peltocephalus Big-Headed Amazon River Turtle 1 Amazon basin  
Podocnemis Amazon River Turtles 6 Amazon basin and drainages of the Orinoco River  


Turtles and Tortoises of the World, David Alderton, Blandford, London 1999.

Schildkröten, Gerhard Müller, Eugen Ullmer, Stuttgart 1995.


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