Johnstone River Snapping Turtle (Elesya stirlingi) on the Atherton Tablelands:
summary Report for the 2009 monitoring season
By: Dr. Tim Curran (with Elliot Diggs) – The School for Field Studies Center for Rainforest Studies Yungaburra
Alastair Freeman Threatened Species Group Department of Environment and Resource Management Atherton
Elseya stirlingi (Johnstone River snapper) is a newly described freshwater turtle found endemic to the Wet Tropics of North Queensland. It was thought to be a unique taxa for some considerable time despite being included within the E. dentata species complex (George and Adams, 1996; Cann, 1998; Georges and Thomson, 2006). The species E. stirlingi was described in 2007 (Wells, 2007) although the method of this description, a non-peer reviewed, electronic newsletter, is controversial (Iverson et. al., 2001 A. Georges, U Canberra, pers. comm.). However, due to the widespread recognition of this taxa as a separate species (George and Adams, 1996; Cann, 1998; Georges and Thomson, 2006) and the lack of an alternative name, we have chosen to accept the nomenclature of Wells (2007).
Elliott Diggs is a Senior Biology major at Guilford College, with a focus on rainforest ecology and environmental policy and socioeconomics. His research and education is extensive, and involves personal experience of freshwater turtles in Australia.”