The northern snakenecked turtle Chelodina oblonga (formerly rugosa) has some remarkable ways of dealing with unpredictability in the availability of water in the wet-dry tropics of Australia and southern New Guinea. The adults aestivate beneath the drying mud of their billabongs to wait out the dry season, where they are susceptable to traditional harvest by indigenous peoples and exotic predators such as feral pigs. They cope with unpredictability in the timing of the end of the wet season by laying their eggs in saturated soil or even underwater. While innundated, the embryos undergo early developmental arrest stimulated by hypoxia. We have invested much time and energy in unravelling this intriguing reproductive biology. We described closely related species of snakeneck from the sandstone country of Arnhem Land and the Kimberley.


Welsh, M., Doody, J.S. and Georges, A. 2017. Resource partitioning among five sympatric species of freshwater turtles from the wet–dry tropics of northern Australia Wildlife Research 44:219-229. [pdf]

Kennett, R., Fordham, D.A., Alacs, E., Corey, B. and Georges, A. 2014. Chelodina oblonga Gray 1841 -- Northern Snake-necked Turtle Chelonian Research Monographs 5: doi:10.3854/crm.5.077.oblonga.v1.2014. [pdf]

Thomson, S., Kennett, R., Tucker, A., Fitzsimmons, N.N., Featherston, P., Alacs, E.A. and Georges, A. 2011. Chelodina burrungandjii Thomson, Kennett and Georges 2000 - Sandstone Snake-necked Turtle. Chelonian Conservation Monographs 5, doi:10.3854/crm.5.056.burrungandjii.v1.2011 [pdf]

Alacs, E.A., Hillyer, M.J., Georges, A., FitzSimmons, N.N. and Hughes, J.M. 2009. Development of microsatellite markers in the Australasian snake-necked turtle Chelodina rugosa, and cross-species amplification Molecular Ecology Resources 9:350-353.

Fordham, D., Georges, A. and Brook, B. 2009. Experimental evidence for density dependent responses to mortality of snake-necked turtles. Oecologia 159:271-281.

Alacs, E.A. 2008. Forensics, phylogeography and population genetics: A case study using the Australasian snake-necked turtle, Chelodina rugosa. PhD Thesis, Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, ACT Australia.

Fordham, D., Georges, A. and Brook, B.W. 2008. Indigenous harvest, exotic pig predation and local persistence of a long-lived vertebrate: managing a tropical freshwater turtle for sustainability and conservation. Journal of Applied Ecology 45:52-62.

Alacs, E., Janzen, F.J., Scribner, K.T. 2007. Genetic Issues in Freshwater Turtle and Tortoise Conservation. Chelonian Research Monographs 4:107-123

Fordham, D. A. 2007. Population regulation in snake-necked turtles in northern tropical Australia: modelling turtle population dynamics in support of Aboriginal harvests. PhD Thesis, Applied Ecology, University of Canberra

Fordham, D., Georges, A. and Brook, B.W. 2007. Demographic response of snake-necked turtles correlates with indigenous harvest and feral pig predation in tropical northern Australia. Journal of Animal Ecology 76:1231-1243.

Fordham, D., Georges, A. and Corey, B. 2007. Optimal conditions for egg storage, incubation and post-hatching growth for the freshwater turtle, Chelodina rugosa: Science in support of an indigenous enterprise. Aquaculture 270:105-114.

Fordham, D., Georges, A. and Corey, B. 2006. Compensation for inundation-induced embryonic diapause in a freshwater turtle: Achieving predictability in the face of environmental stochasticity. Functional Ecology 20:670-677.

Fordham, D., Georges, A., Corey, B. and Brook, B.W. 2006. Feral pig predation threatens the indigenous harvest and local persistence of snake-necked turtles in northern Australia. Biological Conservation 133:379-388.

Thomson, S., Kennett, R. and Georges, A. 2000. A new species of long necked turtle (Chelidae:Chelodina) from the sandstone plateau of Arnhem Land, Northern Australia. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3:675-685 [pdf]

Powered by