Pelusios broadleyi

Bour, 1986
Turkana mud turtle

This species has an elliptical carapace (to 15.5 cm) broadest behind the center and with a knobby keel on all five vertebrals; those on vertebrals 3 and 4 are highest, and the keel is most pronounced in juveniles. Juvenile vertebrals are broader than long; in adults, the 1st vertebral is flared anteriorly but long and narrow posteriorly, the 2nd broader than long, the 3rd longer than broad, the small 4th broader than long, and the 5th flared posteriorly. Six neurals are present, the 1st and 8th being absent. A small cervical scute may be present, and the posterior carapacial rim is smooth and rounded. Ground color of the carapace is grayish brown, and each scute contains many small, dark, radiating lines or dashes. The plastron is basically rigid as the pectero-abdominal hinge hardly moves. Its anterior lobe is long and rounded, usually well over twice as long as the length of the abdominal scute. The posterior lobe is tapered posteriorly at the femorals and anals, does not entirely cover the carapacial opening, and contains a deep anal notch. Mesoplastra are short. Medially, a large abdominal fontanelle persists in adults. The plastral formula is: fem > hum > abd >< intergul > an > pect > gul. The intergular is about 1.4 times longer than broad. Both pectorals and abdominals contribute to the bridge, axillary and inguinal scutes are normally absent, although a pseudoaxillary may be formed by subdivision of the pectoral scute near its lateral border. Plastron and bridge are brown to black; yellow pigment may be present medially at the abdominal fontanelle. Juveniles have more yellowish plastra with some dark-brown pigment. The broad head has a short, slightly projecting snout; its upper jaw is neither hooked nor notched. The frontal scale is large, and two chin barbels are present. Light vermiculations are present dorsally on the brown head. Ventrally, the chin and neck are gray to yellow; the yellow upper jaws contain dark spots or bars. Other skin is gray to yellowish brown. Large transverse scales lie on the anterior surfaces of the forelegs.
Males have concave plastra and long, thick tails; females have flat plastra and short tails.

Distribution and Habitat
Pelusios broadleyi is known only from the southeastern shores of Lake Rudolph (= Lake Turkana), Marsabit District, Kenya.

Natural History
This species has only quite recently been discovered, so little is known of its habits. Bour (1986) estimated that hatchlings have 25 mm carapaces. Captives eat fish and commercial dry trout chow.

IUCN Red List Status (1996)
Vulnerable (D2).