June 01, 2022
Elseya irwini, a species of turtle named after wildlife expert Steve Irwin, was detected in northern Queensland, Australia, for the first time in 25 years. Environmental DNA (eDNA) from the water in the Burdekin River in Queensland was examined by researchers from the James Cook University, Australia, confirming the presence of the species at various sites. This species uses its cloaca, a cavity at the end of the digestive tract, to breathe underwater. The turtle was first discovered in the early 1990s by Steve and his father Bob Irwin in the Burdekin catchment.
According to scientists, the dynamics of the Burdekin River changed since a dam was built there. The turtle was last seen in the region 25 years ago and there were no formal records to prove that the species was still living in the river until the rediscovery. According to researchers, eDNA detection technology proved to be vital to the rediscovery of the species as it is very difficult to catch these turtles for a sample.
Did You Know?
Turtles do not have teeth. They use their beak-like mouth to eat food.