Manning River Helmeted Turtle - profile

Indicative distribution

   Loading map...
The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Myuchelys purvisi
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 28 Apr 2017
Profile last updated: 07 Sep 2017


A medium sized, short-necked freshwater turtle. It is brown above, but is usually quite bright yellow below, except in large older individuals. Usually a distinct yellow stripe from the angle of the jaws, especially in the young, while the underside of the tail has distinctive yellow markings. For detailed description see Cann (1998), Cogger (2014) and Cann et al. (2015). The species was previously known as Elseya purvisi, E. latisternum and is referred to as Wollumbinia purvisi in some publications.

Allanson M, Georges A (1999) Diet of Elseya purvisi and Elseya georgesi (Testudines: Chelidae), a sibling species pair of freshwater turtles from eastern Australia. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3, 473–477.

Blamires SJ, Spencer R-J, King P, Thompson M (2005) Population parameters and life-table analysis of two coexisting freshwater turtles: Are the Bellinger River turtle populations threatened? Wildlife Research 32, 339–347.

Cann J (1998) ‘Australian freshwater turtles.’ (Beaumont Publishing: Singapore)

Cann J, Spencer R-J, Welsh M, Georges A (2015) Myuchelys georgesi (Cann 1997) – Bellinger River Turtle. Chelonian Conservation Monographs 5, 091.1–9.

Cogger HG (2014) ‘Reptiles and amphibians of Australia. 7th edition.’ (CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood)

Wells RW (2002) Taxonomic notes on some Australian freshwater turtles of the genera Chelodina and Elseya (Reptilia: Chelidae). Australian Biodiversity Record 2002(2), 1–30.


Endemic to the middle and upper reaches of the Manning River catchment area. Its distribution is inferred to be severely fragmented and highly restricted. Lack of targeted surveys in the more remote and inaccessible upper catchments means the habitat value of upper catchment areas is unknown, as is the presence of this species in conservation reserves.

Habitat and ecology

  • Habitat preference is for relatively shallow, clear, continuously fast-flowing rivers with rocky and sandy substrates (Wells 2002).
  • Boulder beds in pools 2-3 m deep and submerged logs are used as shelter sites by individuals or small aggregations of turtles (Wells 2002).
  • The species is predominately diurnal, often seen basking on logs, rocks or the river banks near deep pools, although nocturnal foraging in shallow areas has been observed (Wells 2002).
  • It is apparently omnivorous (Allanson and Georges 1999; Wells 2002) but lacks the ability to catch fast moving prey, instead foraging on the benthos for less mobile food such as other macro-invertebrates, terrestrial fruit and aquatic vegetation (Allanson and Georges 1999).


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region