These turtles are generally small to medium in size, usually less than 12 in (30 cm), with a relatively extensive plastron that may (in Pelusios) or may not (in Pelomedusa) have a hinge present between the pectoral and abdominal scutes. The neural series is highly variable (with four to eight present), and the pleural bones almost always meet at the midline posterior to the neurals. A pair of mesoplastral bones are present between the hyo- and hypoplasta, and may (in Pelusios) or may not (in Pelomedusa) be in contact. Five claws are present on the hind feet.
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