Emydura australis - Australian Big Headed Turtle. The forgotten species.
Up until recently there was always listed in early versions of checkleists of Australian turtles the species Emydura australis. It did not go extinct it was synonymised by mistake with Emydura macquarii. This should never have happened because the type is not an E. macquarii and as the second oldest described species of Emydura, it is therefore valid, whatever it is.
John Cann corrected the oversight in his 1998 book and hence it must be recognised. Even though it has been overlooked in the numerous genetic surveys of Australian turtles this is no excuse to forget its existence. It was synonymised because Cogger thought the type was an E. macquarii but I suspect he actually examined the E. victoriae type which is an E. macquarii. The type of E. australis looks nothing like any form of E. macquarii and was correctly reinstated by Cann (1998).
This turtle occurs in the escarpment country of northern Western Australia. It has macrocephaly and is clearly a member of the mulluscivorous Emydura's from northern Australia. We have placed it as the sister of E. victoriae and E. tanybaraga but I acknowledge that is largely a guess. The female to the right is fully grown and was photographed at John Cann's place by me about 5 years ago. At the same time I also had in my collection a male from the King Edward River. This adult male had a carapace length of approximately 10cm. This is one of the smallest species of turtle in Australia. Only the Hastings form of Emydura macquarii macquarii is similar in size.