Central African mud turtle
The elongated black to dark brown carapace (to 38 cm) is broadest behind the center and has a low vertebral keel. The 1st vertebral is flared anteriorly and the 5th posteriorly, both are broader than long. Vertebrals 2-4 may be as long as or longer than broad. Eight neural bones are present in a continuous series; neural 1 touches the nuchal bone, but neural 8 is well-separated from the suprapygal. The posterior marginals are smooth. The plastron is large, and when closed covers almost all of the carapacial opening. It is indented at the abdominal-femoral seam, and posteriorly notched. The forelobe is shorter than the hindlobe. The plastral formula is: abd >< fem > hum > intergul > an > pect > gul. The bridge is broad and lacks an axillary scute. Plastral ground color is entirely black to brown, or with yellowish or lighter brown medial patches. The head is moderate in size with a slightly protruding snout and an upper jaw with two toothlike cusps. Head scalation is like that of P. castaneus; only two chin barbels are present. The head is brown with irregular darker markings dorsally, but lighter laterally.
Sexual dimorphism is strong, as in P. castaneus.
Pelusios chapini is found in Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Congo-Brazzaville.
Apparently this species inhabits streams, rivers, and lake margins.
Geographic Variation and Natural History
Originally proposed as a large subspecies of Pelusios castaneus, P. chapini was elevated to species status by Bour (1983).
IUCN Red List Status (1996)