Temporal range: Eocene–Recent
Australian snake-necked turtle
(Chelodina longicollis)
Scientific classification edit
Fitzinger, 1826 [1]
Distribution map of Chelodina species.png

Chelodina, collectively known as snake-necked turtles, is a large and diverse genus of long-necked chelid turtles with a complicated nomenclatural history.[2] Although in the past Macrochelodina and Macrodiremys have been considered separate genera and prior to that all the same, they are now considered subgenera of the Chelodina.[2]

Chelodina is an ancient group of chelid turtles native to Australia, New Guinea, the Indonesian Rote Island, and East Timor. The turtles within this subgenus are small to medium-sized, with oval shaped carapace. They are side-necked turtles, meaning they tuck their head partially around the side of their body when threatened instead of directly backwards.

Macrochelodina represents those species that have often been termed the Chelodina B group, or thick necked snake neck turtles. The subgenus was described in 1985 by Wells & Wellington (as a new genus) but was not recognized until recently when it was shown that the name was valid. As such they are a side-neck turtle of the family Chelidae with extremely long necks and long flattened heads. They are specialist fish eaters using a strike and gape mode of feeding. They are medium to large species with the largest Chelodina (M.) expansa reaching shell lengths of some 45 cm (18 in).[3] The first fossils (C. (M.) alanrixi) are known from Queensland from the Eocene period (Lapparent de Broin, F. de, & Molnar, R. E., 2001).[4]

Macrodiremys is a monotypic genus recently split off from the rest of the Chelodina.[5] Its sole member is the enigmatic Chelodina (Macrodiremys) colliei from Western Australia.


Current taxonomy follows that of Georges & Thomson, 2010[2] with updates from van Dijk et al. 2014.[6]


  • Chelodina  Fitzinger 1826
    • Chelodina  Fitzinger 1826:6
    • Hydraspis  Bell 1828:512
    • Chelyodina  Agassiz 1846:79 (nomen novum)
    • Hesperochelodina  Wells and Wellington 1985:9 (nomen nudum)
    • Macrochelodina  Wells and Wellington 1985:9
    • Macrodiremys  McCord and Joseph-Ouni 2007:57
  • Type Species:
    • Chelodina: Chelodina longicollis (Shaw, 1794)
    • Macrochelodina: Chelodina rugosa Ogilby 1890:56 = Chelodina oblonga Gray 1841
    • Macrodiremys: Chelodina oblonga McCord and Joseph-Ouni 2007 = Chelodina colliei


Subgenus: Chelodina Fitzinger, 1826

Subgenus: Macrochelodina Wells & Wellington, 1985[12]

Subgenus: Macrodiremys McCord & Joseph-Uoni 2007[5]