Named By: Hay - 1899.
Synonyms: Axestus, Conchochelys, Eurycephalochelys, Paleotrionyx.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Testudines, Cryptodira, Trionychidae, Trionychinae.
Species: A. byssina (type), A. cerevisia, A. erquelinnensis, A. montinsana, A. quinni, A. splendida, A. vittata.
Size: Size varies considerably between species. One of the largest individuals belongs to A. byssina and has a body length of at least two meters.
Known locations: Belgium. Canada. France. UK. USA.
Time period: late Cretaceous to Eocene, possibly later.
Fossil representation: Numerous individuals of varying levels of completeness.
is a genus of soft shelled turtle that lived from the Late Cretaceous
to at least the Eocene, and is known from both North America and
Europe. Instead of a hard shell, Axestemys
would have had a tough
leathery skin surrounding its body. Modern day soft shelled turtles
can be omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals, though
many species are exclusive carnivores. Prey animals of soft shelled
turtles include fish, molluscs, amphibians, crustaceous,
virtually any small aquatic organism that they can catch. It is thus
inferred that Axestemys had a similar predatory
- Descriptions of some new Vertebrata from the Bridger Group of the Eocene. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 12:460-465. - E. D. Cope - 1871.
- A new turtle from the Paleocene of Colorado. - Fieldiana Geology 10:1-4. - K. P. Schmidt - 1945.
- Giant fossil soft-shelled turtles of North America. - Palaeontologia Electronica. - Natasha S. Vitek - 2012.