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Temporal range: Early Jurassic—Present, 190–0 Ma
[citation needed]
Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Cope, 1868[1]



Cryptoderes Duméril and Bibron, 1834
Cryptodera Lichtenstein, 1856
Cryptodira Cope, 1868
Cryptodiramorpha Lee, 1995
Pancryptodira Joyce, Parham, and Gauthier, 2004

Cryptodira is a suborder of Testudines that includes most living tortoises and turtles. Cryptodira differ from Pleurodira (side-neck turtles) in that they lower their necks and pull the heads straight back into the shells, instead of folding their necks sideways along the body under the shells' margins. They include among their species freshwater turtles, snapping turtles, tortoises, soft-shell turtles, and sea turtles.

Systematics and evolution[edit]

Cryptodires evolved during the Jurassic period, and by the end of the Jurassic had almost completely replaced pleurodires in the lakes and rivers, while beginning to develop land-based species.

The Cryptodira suborder has three living superfamilies, the Chelonioidea (sea turtles), Testudinoidea (tortoises and pond turtles), and Trionychoidea (soft-shell turtles and relatives). The families within the Kinosternoidea are now recognized as a paraphyletic assemblage of mostly primitive Trionychoidea; they do not form a natural group.[3]

Two circumscriptions of the Cryptodira are commonly found. One is used here; it includes a number of primitive extinct lineages known only from fossils, as well as the Eucryptodira. These are, in turn, made up from some very basal groups, and the Centrocryptodira contain the prehistoric relatives of the living cryptodires, as well as the latter, which are collectively called Polycryptodira.[3]

The alternate concept restricts the use of the term "Cryptodira" to the crown clade (i.e. Polycryptodira). The Cryptodira as understood here are called Cryptodiramorpha in this view. Under this approach, the pleurodires and cryptodires are not sister taxa.[3]

As per the system used here, the Cryptodira can be classified as:[4]

The Indian flapshell turtle (Lissemys punctata) from the Trionychidae is a highly advanced eucryptodire.


  1. ^ a b Rhodin 2011, p. 000.171
  2. ^ Rhodin 2008, p. 000.3
  3. ^ a b c See references in Haaramo (2008)
  4. ^ Anquetin, J. R. M. (2012). "Reassessment of the phylogenetic interrelationships of basal turtles (Testudinata)". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 10: 3. doi:10.1080/14772019.2011.558928. 

Further reading[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptodira — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

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