A New Turtle in Town

No, that is not the title of the latest Franklin* book, readers. The story below is about a new turtle species discovered in April of last year. The one in the photograph has a surprisingly friendly expression on its face, for a creature which swallows its prey in one gulp.

Click the link to learn more, readers:

New species of turtle discovered

New species of turtle discovered

APRIL 24, 2020

by Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum

Together with an international team, Senckenberg scientist Uwe Fritz described a new species of mata mata turtle based on genetic analyses. Until now, it had been assumed that the genus Chelus only contained a single species. The new description also necessitates a reassessment of the conservation status of these species, which are frequently sold in the illegal animal trade. The study was recently published in the scientific journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

There is a good reason for the bizarre appearance of the mata mata turtle: hidden in the mud under water, the up to 53-centimeter-long animals look like algae-covered rocks. But when a prey animal approaches, the turtle sucks it in by suddenly opening its large mouth and swallows it whole. “Although these turtles are widely known due to their bizarre looks and their unusual feeding behavior, surprisingly little is known about their variability and genetics,” explains Professor Dr. Uwe Fritz of the Senckenberg Natural History Collections in Dresden, and he continues, “Until now, we assumed that there is only one species of this armored reptile that ranges widely across South America.”

Read more….

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If you liked this article, friend Caroline Furlong on Facebook or follow her here at www.carolinefurlong.wordpress.com. Her stories have been published in Cirsova’s Summer Special and Unbound III: Goodbye, Earth, while her poetry appeared in Organic Ink, Vol. 2. She has also had stories published in Planetary Anthologies Luna and Uranus. Another story was released in Cirsova Magazine’s 2020 Summer Issue. Her most recent piece is available in Planetary Anthology: Sol. Order them today!

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