Alligator snapping turtle
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Clade: Americhelydia
Family: Chelydridae
Genus: Macrochelys
Gray, 1856[1]

Macrochelys is a genus in the family Chelydridae. The genus was considered monospecific until a 2014 study by Travis Thomas divided it into three separate species.[2]


Currently, there are three extant species[3][4] and two extinct species.

Fossil history

Unlike the family Chelydridae as a whole, the genus Macrochelys is exclusively North American. Hutchison (2008) considered genus Chelydrops to be a junior synonym of Macrochelys, and recombined its type species, Chelydrops stricta from the Miocene (early Barstovian) of Nebraska, as the (then) fourth species of Macrochelys.[5]


  1. Rhodin, Anders G.J.; van Dijk, Peter Paul; Inverson, John B.; Shaffer, H. Bradley; Roger, Bour (2012-12-31). "Turtles of the world, 2012 update: Annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution and conservation status". Chelonian Research Monographs. 5: 000.251. doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v5.2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-01-04.
  2. John R. Platt (April 17, 2014). "Alligator Snapping Turtles, the Dinosaurs of the Turtle World, Are Actually 3 at-Risk Species". Scientific American.
  3. Thomas, T, Granatosky, M, Bourque, J, Krysko, K, Moler, P, Gamble, T, Suarez, Leone, E, Enge, K, & Roman, J, 2014. Taxonomic assessment of Alligator Snapping Turtles (Chelydridae: Macrochelys), with the description of two new species from the southeastern United States. Zootaxa 3786 (2): 141–165
  4. Joshua E. Brown (April 24, 2014). "Research splits alligator snapping turtle, 'dinosaur of the turtle world,' into three species".
  5. J. Howard Hutchison (2008). "History of fossil Chelydridae". In A.C. Styermark; M.S. Finkler; R.J. Brooks. Biology of the Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 14–30.

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