Genus Pelochelys

Gray, 1864a
Asian giant softshell turtles

Currently two species are recognized in this genus, Pelochelys bibroni and P.
cantorii. The carapace is flat and rounded. That of juveniles may bear numerous small tubercles and a low medial keel; however, the carapace surface becomes smoother with age and the keel disappears. Only a single neural lies between the 1st pair of costals, and the 7-9 neurals form a continuous series in which the 1st and 2nd may be fused. Of the eight pairs of costals, the last pair or two meet medially. All carapacial bones are pitted. The plastron lacks cutaneous flaps. The epiplastra are widely separated, and the entoplastron lies at right or acute angles to the plastral midline. There are 4-5 large plastral callosities. The flattened skull is short and broad, with a very short, rounded, bony snout (shorter than the greatest diameter of the orbit). Its interorbital space is wider than the greatest diameter of the orbit. The proboscis is also very short, and that part of the head extending beyond the gular skin fold seems very short, giving the head a small, blunt appearance. The prefrontal contacts the vomer. No ridge is present on the broad triturating surfaces of the maxillae. Several small flaps of skin may protrude from the gular region. The toes are webbed. The smaller males have longer, thicker tails than do the larger females.

Species identification
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