Podocnemis erythrocephala.

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Family: Podocnemididae

Scientific Name: Podocnemis erythrocephala

Brazilian Name: irapuca ou calanumã.

South American: chipiri (Columbia and Venezuela).
English: Red-headed Amazon River Turtle.

Length: The longest individual recorded is 32.2 cm. 

Appearance: The species gets its name from the distinctive red (sometimes orange) colouration on the head. Adult males retain their red heads while in females, the red turns to dark brown. Females are larger than the males which have a longer, thicker tail.

Distribuition: They are generally encountered in black waters, but have also been registed in clear water rivers.

Diet: Primarily herbivorous eating aquatic plants and fruit that falls into their streams, however fish may also form part of their diet.

Reprodution: During the reproductive period the females travel large distances to nest on the meadows and beaches of the Rio Negro. Egg-laying generally occurs at night, when the female deposits from 5-14 eggs per session. This may occur up to 4 times in a reproductive season. The eggs are elongated with a rigid shell. The sex of the hatchlings is determined by the incubation tempertaure.

Exploitation: Adults and eggs are mainly taken (by humans) from along the Rio Negro, but some records show that this species is also eaten by  the black caiman (Melanosuchus niger).  The eggs are preyed on by flies, lizards monkeys, rodents and other mammals such as the carnivorous tayra (Eira barbara) and the marsupial, the big-eared opossum (Didelphis aurita).

Conservation. This is considered to be a vulnerable species, but nothing has been done to protect its nesting areas.