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Big-headed Amazon River Turtle

Peltocephalus dumerilianus


The big-headed Amazon River turtle is known locally as the “Cabezón”, which means ‘big-headed’ or ‘stubborn’. This species is one of the most understudied species of turtle in South America, despite being an important food resource for people living in Amazonia.

This species is the only member of the genus Peltocephalus, which diverged from all other species around 100 million years ago. This is around the time humans last shared a common ancestor with tigers, bats, whales and pangolins!

The big-headed Amazon River turtle is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. The species is under threat from overharvesting, as they may be eaten and traded at an unsustainable rate. This species is protected from illegal international trade as it is listed on CITES Appendix II.

  • Order: Testudines
  • Family: Podocnemididae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: unknown
  • Size: 40cm (?)

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.97 (?)
ED Score: 96.781 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


This species is found in Brazil. Colombia, French Guiana, Venezuela.

Habitat and Ecology

This is a semi-aquatic species. It feeds on fruits, seeds, fish and aquatic plants. It also eats invertebrates and algae.

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