Cranial morphometry of the African Sideneck Turtle (Pelusios castaneus)

Igado O.O., Olukole S.G., Olopade J.O., Oke B.O.


This study was designed to investigate the cranial morphometry of the African sideneck turtle, Pelusios castaneus, a freshwater turtle of the family Pelomedusidae. Twenty adult turtles (8 males and 12 females) were used for this study. The skull shape, topography and relationship of the cranial bones to each other were analysed while fortytwo (42) cranio-morphometric parameters were investigated. Male turtles had 13 significantly higher values (p<0.05) including maximum length of the skull, width of the skull, neurocranial volume and the maximum width of the palatine bone which were 4.07±0.18 and 3.62±0.26 cm; 3.12±0.32 and 2.77±0.25 cm; 0.87±0.19 and 0.71±0.33 cm; 1.86±0.17 and 1.67±0.16 cm in males and females respectively. There were no significantly higher craniomorphometric data in females (p >0.05). None of the morphological features of the cranium of the turtle was observed to be sexually different. Major features of the cranium included a large subtemporal fenestra as well as projections resembling wings and hamulus on the pterygoid bone. The observed morphological architecture of the cranium was compared with turtles from other climes. This report is the first of its kind in the African sideneck turtle and data obtained are expected to be useful in comparative regional anatomy of freshwater turtles, archaeological, anthropological and forensic investigations.


Key words: African Sideneck Turtle, Pelusios castaneus, cranio-morphometry.

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