We describe a new species of small chelid turtle from perennial streams in the Araguaia River subbasin near Serra das Andorinhas State Park, São Geraldo do Araguaia, Pará, Brazil. It is morphologically distinct and the smallest known member of the genus Mesoclemmys, with an average straight-line carapace length (CL) of 144 mm and maximum recorded CL of 170 mm. The species has a moderate head width of approximately 20% of CL. The carapace and dorsal soft parts are blackish, the plastron is light brownish yellow with a blackish brown central plastral figure, and the ventral soft parts are pale yellow. It has the largest femoral scutes of any Mesoclemmys and its plastral contact formula is Intergular > Anal > Humeral > Femoral > Abdominal > Pectoral > Gular. We describe the shell and skull morphology of the new species and performed genetic analysis using mitochondrial DNA (cytochrome c oxidase, subunits I [COI] and 16S) to build a phylogenetic tree for the genus, which placed the new species as sister to M. vanderhaegei.
Mesoclemmys sp. nov