Map Turtles

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    All ten species of Map Turtles are native to eastern North America. They have a low ridge, or keel, along the midline of the carapace (the thick shell that covers the back of the turtle). Certain species, such as the False Map Turtle, have knobs on the keel and are sometimes called Sawback Turtles.

    As the turtle ages, the knobs tend to wear down. The Ouachita Map Turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis), similar in appearance to the False Map Turtle and overlapping much of its range, is distinguished by four large yellow spots or alternating yellow and dark green bars on the underside of the head.

    Other map turtles are specific to certain river basins in the South. All are gregarious, basking together atop logs or on steep banks and vanishing quickly when an intruder appears. Although some species eat plants, invertebrates make up most of their diet. The female Map Turtle takes freshwater clams and snails, while the smaller male feeds on insects and crayfish.

    Conservation Status

    Common map turtles are less tolerant to poor conditions than most other turtles (Kirkpatrick 1999). Humans are hurting the turtles by numerous methods. Pollution, waterfront development is destroying their breeding sites, and automobiles are also a killer of these turtles when they are migrating to the breeding sites

    Graptemys geographica (Northern Map Turtle)

    IUCN Red List: Least Concern (LC)

    Graptemys barbouri (Barbour’s map turtle)

    IUCN Red List: Vulnerable (VU)

    Graptemys caglei (Cagle’s Map Turtle)

    IUCN Red List: Endangered (EN)

    Graptemys flavimaculata (Yellow Blotched Sawback)

    IUCN Red List: Vulnerable (VU)
    US Federal List: Threatened

    Graptemys nigrinoda (Black-knobbed Map Turtle)

    IUCN Red List: Least Concerned (LC)

    Graptemys oculifera (Ringed Sawback)

    IUCN Red List: Vulnerable (VU)

    Graptemys ouachitensis (Ouachita Map Turtle)

    IUCN Red List: Least Concerned (LC)

    Graptemys pseudogeographica (Mississippi Map Turtle)

    IUCN Red List: Least Concerned (LC)

    Graptemys pulchra (Alabama Map Turtle)

    IUCN Red List: Near Threatened

    Graptemys versa (Texas map turtle)

    IUCN Red List: Least Concerned (LC)

    Video Credits: Kamp Kenan
    Image Credits: 27707


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