Northern map turtle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Northern map turtle
Northern Map Turtle.jpg
Gatineau, Quebec
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Emydidae
Subfamily: Deirochelyinae
Genus: Graptemys
Species: G. geographica
Binomial name
Graptemys geographica
(Lesueur, 1817)[1]
Northern Map Turtle range map.jpg
Range map
Synonyms
  • Testudo geographica Lesueur, 1817
  • Emys geographica Say, 1825
  • Terrapene geographica
    Bonaparte, 1831
  • Clemmys (Clemmys) geographica Fitzinger, 1835
  • Emys megacephala Holbrook, 1836
  • Graptemys geographica
    Agassiz, 1857
  • Malacoclemmys geographica
    Cope, 1875
  • Malacoclemmys geographicus
    — Davis & Rice, 1883
  • Malaclemys georgraphica Hay, 1887 (ex errore)
  • Malaclemys geographica
    — Hurter, 1893
  • Malaclemmys geographicus
    — McLain, 1899
  • Malaclemys geographicus
    — Paulmier, 1902
  • Graptemys geographicus
    Siebenrock, 1909[2]
  • Graptemys geographica
    Stejneger & Barbour, 1917[3]

The northern map turtle (Graptemys geographica), formerly known as the common map turtle,[4] is an aquatic turtle in the family Emydidae. It is endemic to North America.

Description[edit]

Five sunning with a midland painted turtle, Ottawa, Ontario

The northern map turtle gets both its common and scientific names from the marking on the skin and carapace. The light markings resemble contour lines on a map or chart.[5] The lines on the carapace are shades of yellow, tan, or orange and are surrounded by dark borders. The rest of the carapace is olive or greyish brown. The carapace markings on older individuals tend to fade but are usually still apparent when the shell is wet. The carapace has a hydrodynamic appearance and is broad with a moderately low keel. The rear of the carapace is flared and the rear marginals form serrations. The plastron is yellowish and is marked by a central dark blotch (plastral figure) that follows the sutures of the plastral scutes and fades with age so that many adults lack a pattern all together (i.e., the plastron is immaculate). The head, neck and limbs are dark olive, brown, or black with thin yellow or green stripes. There is an oval or triangular spot located behind the eye. Like other map turtles, this species exhibits extreme sexual size dimorphism.[6] Males are 10–16 cm (3.9–6.3 in) in carapace length and weigh between 150–400 g (5.3–14.1 oz), while females are 18–27 cm (7.1–10.6 in) in carapace length and weigh around 0.67–2.5 kg (1.5–5.5 lb). Females have a much wider head than males and this is associated with differences in feeding.[6] Males have a narrower carapace with more distinct keel, narrower head, and a longer, thicker tail. Unlike females, the opening of the cloaca is beyond the rear edge of the carapace. Young map turtles have a pronounced dorsal keel. Hatchlings have a round grayish-brown carapace that is about 2.5 cm (0.98 in) long.

Adult plastron

Distribution[edit]

Northern map turtles inhabit an area from south Quebec and Ontario to northern Vermont where it lives in the St. Lawrence River drainage basin. Its range extends west through the Great Lakes and into southern Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota, west of the Appalachians, south to Kansas, northwestern Georgia. It also occurs in the Susquehanna River system located in Pennsylvania and Maryland and also in the Delaware River. There is also small european population in Czech republic, which is formed of escaped or released turtles and their descendants. In Czech republic is Northern Map Turtle considered as alien species, but is threatened together with Czech native turtles, other reptiles and amphibians by big population of another invasive turtle Trachemys scripta elegans.

Habitat[edit]

The northern map turtle inhabits ponds, rivers and lakes. They prefer large bodies of water and areas with fallen trees and other debris for basking. These turtles are more often found in rivers than in lakes or ponds. They are found in larger rivers and lakes in the northern portion of their range but are more likely to live in smaller rocky rivers and streams in the south and west.[6]

Basking on a sunny day

Ecology and behaviour[edit]

This turtle is dormant from approximately November through early April depending on local climactic factors. Northern map turtles spend the winter under water and do not surface to breathe, especially when ice cover makes this impossible. Adults rest on the bottom or wedged underneath rocks or logs and often hibernate communally with other northern map turtles where they may remain somewhat active.[5] Hibernacula must be well oxygenated because, unlike some other turtle species such as painted turtles, map turtles need to absorb oxygen from the water in order to survive the winter.[6] They are avid baskers and they bask in groups. They are diurnal. They are also a very wary animal; at the slightest hint of danger they slip into the water and hide.

Reproduction[edit]

Northern map turtles breed in the spring and fall. Most mating takes place in deep waters. The nesting period lasts from May to July. Unshaded sites with sandy soil is highly preferred. The female usually chooses well-drained areas for depositing the eggs. The nest cavity is dug with the hind feet. The size of the clutch is between 6 to 20. The eggs are oval, about 3.2 cm (1.3 in) long, and have a flexible shell. After the eggs are laid, the cavity is filled. They hatch after 50 to 70 days of incubation, and most hatchlings emerge in August to September. When a nest hatches late, the northern map turtle hatchlings have been known to overwinter in the nest. The female usually lays two or more clutches in one breeding season. The sexes of the young are determined by the temperature. At 25 degrees Celsius incubation produces a majority of males whereas 30–35 °C (86–95 °F) yields more females.

Diet[edit]

Map turtles are more carnivorous than most other members of the family Emydidae, and the northern map turtle is no exception. Adult females have wide heads and broad alveolar crushing surfaces in their mouths which they use to feed on molluscs, their primary prey, as well as insects and crayfish.[6] Adult males are much smaller and have narrower heads and feed on smaller molluscs and insects.[6] Like most other aquatic turtles, feeding always takes place in the water. In places where invasive molluscs such as Zebra mussels and Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea) are abundant they may become the most important food of female northern map turtles.[7]

Existing protection and conservation status[edit]

Map turtles are considered habitat specialists and may be replaced by a more tolerant species when their habitat is altered.[8] Unfortunately the effects of human interference by way boating and recreation on shorelines are likely impeding the map turtle from re-establishing itself in natural areas.[9] Thus, populations of Northern map turtles have probably declined across their entire natural range but they remain widespread and may be abundant in some locations.[6] This species has classified as Least Concern (LC) by the IUCN.

United States[edit]

Collecting, keeping and selling of Northern Map Turtles is prohibited by Animals in Captivity Regulation in nine states. It is considered endangered in Kansas, Kentucky and Maryland [10]

Canada[edit]

Like most jurisdictions of the United States, Canada lists the Northern Map Turtle as a species of special concern.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System). www.itis.gov.
  2. ^ Fritz, Uwe; Havaš, Peter (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World". Vertebrate Zoology 57 (2). Archived from the original on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Stejneger, L., and T. Barbour 1917. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 125 pp. (Graptemys geographica, p. 117.)
  4. ^ Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America, North of Mexico ..., SSARHERPS.org
  5. ^ a b : Status Report of the Northern Map Turtle Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Ernst, C.H., and J.E. Lovich. 2009. Turtles of the United States and Canada. 2nd Edition. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. (Graptemys geographica, pp. 293-302.)
  7. ^ Lindeman, P.V. 2006. Zebra and quagga mussels (Dreissena spp.) and other prey of a Lake Erie population of common map turtles (Emydidae: Graptemys geographica). Copeia. 2006 (2): 268-273.
  8. ^ Pritchard, P.C.H. 1997. "Conservation strategies - an overview: Implications for management". pp. 467-471 In: Proceedings: Conservation, Restoration, and Management of Tortoises and Turtles - An International Conference. New York Turtle and Tortoise Society.
  9. ^ St. Lawrence Centre. 1996. State of the Environment Report on the St. Lawrence River. Volume 1: The St. Lawrence Ecosystem. Environment Canada - Quebec Region, Environmental Conservation, and Editions MultiMondes, Montreal. “St. Lawrence UPDATE” series.
  10. ^ Natureserve. 1998. Natural Heritage Central Databases. (Data on North American Animals, developed in collaboration with the Association for Biodiversity Information, U.S. and Canadian Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centres). www.natureserve.org.
  11. ^ Northern map turtle, Species At Risk Public Registry

Further reading[edit]

  • Conant, R., and J.T. Collins. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Third Edition. Expanded. New York: Houghton Mifflin. 640 pp. ISBN 0-395-90452-8 (paperback). (Graptemys geographica, pp. 167–168 + Plates 3, 6.)
  • Harding, J. 1997. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. 400 pp. ISBN 0-472-06628-5.
  • Le Sueur, C.A. 1817. An Account of an American species of Tortoise, not noticed in the systems. Journ. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 1 (1): 86-88 + Plate V. (Testudo geographica)
  • Smith, H.M., and E.D. Brodie, Jr. 1982. Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Golden Press. New York. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3 (paperback). (Graptemys geographica, pp. 50–51.)

External links[edit]