Black-knobbed Map Turtle (Graptemys nigrinoda)

…a species of emydid turtle that is endemic to the southeastern United States, specifically the Mobile Bay drainages in Mississippi and the Tombigbee/ Black Warrior River systems in Alabama. Black-knobbed map turtles are typically active from April to late November and have a diet that consists mainly of algae, insects, mollusks, sponges and bryozoans. As its common name suggests G. nigridoda’s first four vertebrate posessing knob like processes. The second and third processes typically more dominant and will reduce with age. G. nigridoda is also sexually dimorphic with females being twice the size as males, poscessing higer carapaces, and shorter tails than males.

Currently Graptemys nigrinoda is listed as near threatened and faces threats from habitat degradation and habitat loss.


Animalia-Chordata-Reptilia-Testudines-Emydidae-Deirochelyinae-Graptemys-G. nigrinoda

Images: graptemys.com and M. North

Escambia Map Turtle - Graptemys ernsti

This is an adult male of the species Graptemys ernsti (Testudines - Emydidae), a rare and Near Threatened turtle endemic to the United States, restricted to parts of the Escambia, Yellow, and Shoal rivers and their tributaries in western Florida and adjoining Alabama.

This is a medium to large size turtle. Males are up to 12.7 cm as adults and females are about 29 cm.  It has a domed shell keel that is exaggerated as a hatchling and slowly wears down with age, especially old females.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Kenneth P. Wray | Locality: Northwest Florida, US (2007)

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Trachemys scripta elegans “Red-eared Pond Slider” Emydidae

Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle, WA
May 9, 2016
Robert Niese

Red-eared Sliders are a distinct subspecies of Pond Slider popular in the pet industry. Originally native to the southern US, these animals have been introduced to nearly every state including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam. As such, they are on the IUCN’s list of the 100 most invasive species in the world. They have not yet been reported in Montana, Alaska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, or North Dakota. If you see a Red-eared Slider in one of these states, contact your state’s Fish and Wildlife department immediately. Here in the PNW, these turtles out-compete native Western Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta bellii) and the threatened Western Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata).

Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)

Also recorded as Emys blandingii, Blanding’s turtle is an endangered species of semi-aquatic marsh turtle (Emydidae) which is native to North America, where it occurs mainly in the great lakes region, extending into central Nebraska and Minnesota. Like many other members of its family, Blanding’s turtles are primarily encountered in wetlands, typically with clean shallow water. They are also known to wander far from water, primarily during the nesting season. Blanding’s turtles are omnivorous, feeding on a range of freshwater invertebrates, carrion, berries and other plant matter .

Currently Emydoidea blandgingii is listed as endangered by the IUCN, as it faces major threats from habitat fragmentation/destruction as well as nest predation by introduced predators. 


Animalia-Chordata-Reptilia-Testudines-Emydidae-Emydinae-Emydoidea-E. blandingii

Image: Me!

Terrapene carolina triungis | ©Dietrich Meyer   (Bryan, Texas, US)

Terrapene carolina (Emydidae) is a species of box turtle found throughout the eastern United States and Mexico. It has six recognized subspecies, four of them are found in the United States, and two subspecies are found in Mexico. 

All box turtles have a bilobed, hinged plastron that allows the turtle to close its shell almost completely (that is why they are named box turtles). When frightened, box turtles retract their head, tail, and limbs into their shell and clamp it shut.

Terrapene carolina triungis (pictured) occurs in the Mississippi River Valley from northern Missouri southward across southeastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma into south-central Texas, and southeastward across western Tennessee and Georgia to the coastal lowlands. It is known as the Three-toed box turtle by having only three toes on their hind feet instead of the normal four.



European Pond Turtle

Common name: European Pond Turtle

Latin Name: Emys orbicularis

Family: Emydidae

Size: 4-15 inches (12-38 cm)

Life Span: 40-60 years

Daytime Temperature: 70-80° F (21-26°C)

Basking Spot: 85-90° F (29-32°C)

Nighttime Temperature: 65-75°F (18-23°C)

Water Temperature: 65-75°F (18-23°C)

The European Pond Turtle is one of only five freshwater turtle species native to Europe. This turtle may vary in appearance across its range, but is easily identifiable by the beautiful yellow spots on its skin and shell. To survive the harsh climate conditions in some of its range, the European Pond Turtle has a couple of tricks. In cold winter conditions, this turtle will brumate (the reptile equivalent to hibernation) at the bottom of a pond or buried in mud. To escape summer heat, it can aestivate (a period of animal dormancy due to dry or hot conditions). European Pond Turtles emerge from brumation in the spring, usually between March and May. After breeding season, the females may lay a clutch of 3-16 eggs in a nest that she digs in a carefully chosen place. Choosing the nesting site may take several hours and up to one whole day! For a period of 55-90 days, the eggs incubate. If the young hatch in the fall, they may spend the whole winter in the nest and wait to emerge the following spring. These hardy turtles may live 100 years or longer if they are able to avoid potential threats such as predators, and find sufficient resources such as food, clean water, and nesting sites. 

Fun Fact:

Unlike the common name suggests, this species is not limited to Europe. These turtles can also be found in Northern Africa, and Western and Central Asia.

all info and photo from Zoo Meds in coordination with the turtle and tortoise preservation group 

Learn more about world turtle day from Zoo Med Labs here

Hispaniolan Slider (Trachemys decorata)

Also sometimes known as the Hatian Slider, the Hispaniolan slider is a species of pond turtle (Emydidae) which is endemic to the Dominican Republic and Haiti (Hispaniola). Hispaniolan sliders are a freshwater species inhabiting freshwater ponds, lakes, and rivers and feeding on a range of aquatic insects, vegetation, and occasionally fish. 


Animalia-Chordata-Reptilia-Testudines-Emydidae-Deirochelyinae-Trachemys-T. decorata

Image: Brian Gratwicke

Carolina Diamondback Terrapin - Malaclemys terrapin centrata

An attractive adult male of the Carolina Diamondback Terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin centrata (Testudines - Emydidae), a subspecies found from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to northern Florida, in the United States.

Reference: [1

Photo credit: ©Kevin Stohlgren | Locality: Glynn Co., Georgia, US (2013)

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Red-eared Slider - Trachemys scripta elegans

The Red-eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans (Testudines - Emydidae) is ‘the’ traditional pet turtle, farmed in large quantities in the southern USA for the global pet trade.

It is a semiaquatic turtle found throughout the United States east of the Rockies to extreme northeastern Mexico. It is said that some 3 to 4 million Red-eared sliders are exported from the United States every year. Most originate from intensive farms in Louisiana and Mississippi. However, the same commercial turtle hunters who supply replacement breeding stock for these farms are also responsible for collecting as many as 25,000 - 30,000 adult animals per week for export to foreign food markets (mainly in the Far East). 

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Jon Nelson | Locality: not indicated (2012)

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Pond slider - Trachemys scripta

Trachemys scripta (Emydidae) is a species of xx native to the United States and Mexico, which has been introduced in many countries around the world.

Pond sliders are aquatic, omnivorous generalists, which rarely leave water except to bask.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©e_monk | Locality: Lake Lynn, Westlake, Raleigh, North Carolina, US (2010)

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Turtle in the Summer Sun | ©Trish Hartmann

Peninsula Cooter, Pseudemys floridana peninsularis (Reptilia - Testudines - Emydidae), photographed near Tampa, Florida at Lettuce Lake Park, US.

The status of the taxon Pseudemys peninsularis remains subject to different interpretations as a full separate species or a subspecies of P. floridana, depending on the assignment of the taxon floridana as a full species or a subspecies of concinna.

This species is widespread in peninsular Florida and generally common in suitable habitat including a variety of protected areas.


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Suwannee cooter

Pseudemys concinna suwanniensis (Emydidae) is a species of medium-sized to large (430 mm shell length) freshwater basking turtle, endemic to the west coast of peninsular Florida, eastward of the Ochlockonee River (US).

The Suwannee cooter inhabits in rivers and large streams, including alluvial, blackwater, and spring-run streams, often with dense aquatic vegetation upon which species feeds. Occasionally enters estuaries at river mouths.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Jake M. Scott

Locality: Gilchrist County, Florida, US

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Galapagos Giant Tortoises have good hearing and communicate during courtship and mating

For a long time there was a general belief among herpetologists that turtles and tortoises lack a functional sense of hearing. However, at present we know from many studies that a number of species have a considerable auditory sensitivity that no doubt enables the animal to perceive many acoustic signals both on land and in water.

In fact, the elaborate courtship and copulatory behavior of the chelonia is based on a multiple signalling system involving visual, olfactory, and acoustic signals. Particularly interesting are the vocalizations associated with mounting, as this is the predominant – or for some species the only – behavior during which turtles vocalize. 

According to a review of the courtship behavior in chelonians published in 2005, mounting-calls have been reported for 35 species belonging to the families Testudinidae (29 species), Trionychidae (3 species), Emydidae (2 species) and Bataguridae (1 species).

The fact that most Testudinidae species vocalize during mating therefore suggests that mounting-calls provide receivers with some useful information to assess signaler qualities. Signalers  in turn, may gain some selective advantages, ranging from being preferred as sexual partners by females, as documented by their mounting success, to avoiding sexual interferences from other males.

So, the explanation proposed by many authors that their vocalizations are simple “noises” involuntarily produced by copulatory movements is quite inaccurate.

Particularly, in the Galapagos Giant Tortoise (pictured), Chelonoidis nigra (Testudinidae), males emit mounting vocalizations consisting of roars and bellows, repeated at regular intervals.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Vittorio Ricci | Locality: Galapagos Islands 

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