Florida red-bellied cooter

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Florida red-bellied cooter
Florida Redbelly Turtle.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Emydidae
Subfamily: Deirochelyinae
Genus: Pseudemys
Species: P. nelsoni
Binomial name
Pseudemys nelsoni
(Carr, 1938)
Synonyms[1]
  • Deirochelys floridana Hay, 1908
  • Trachemys jarmani Hay, 1908
  • Pseudemys nelsoni Carr, 1938
  • Pseudemys rubriventris nelsoni Mertens, 1951
  • Chrysemys (Pseudemys) nelsoni McDowell, 1964
  • Chrysemys rubriventris nelsoni Obst, 1983

The Florida red-bellied cooter or Florida redbelly turtle (Pseudemys nelsoni) is a species of the genus Pseudemys.

Its range is in Florida, and southern Georgia. The Florida redbelly cooter is mainly herbivorous, and can be found in nearly any type of aquatic habitat. It reaches particularly high densities in spring runs, and occasionally can be found in brackish water. This species is active year-round and spends a large portion of the day basking on logs. They are noted for sometimes laying their eggs in the nest mounds of alligators.

The Florida redbelly is closely related to the Peninsula cooter (Pseudemys floridana) and can often be found basking on logs together. The Florida redbelly can be distinguished from the other turtles by its distinctive red-tinged plastron (belly) and two cusps (like teeth) on its upper beak. Like most Pseudemys turtles, this species is a fairly large river turtle. Carapace length in mature turtles can range from 20.3 to 37.5 cm (8.0 to 14.8 in).[2] Females, which average 30.5 cm (12.0 in) in length and weigh 4 kg (8.8 lb), are noticeably larger than males, which are around 25 cm (9.8 in) and 1.8 kg (4.0 lb) in mass.[3][4]

Florida redbellies are commonly exported for consumption and the pet trade, with about 50% wild caught individuals and 50% captive bred.

Most of US export statistics (as collected by the World Chelonian Trust in 2002-2005) simply describe exported turtles by its genus, Pseudemys, without identifying the species. They are exported by the million, and are mostly farm-raised.[5]

Female cooter basking

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fritz Uwe; Peter Havaš (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World". Vertebrate Zoology 57 (2): 195. Archived from the original on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ Declared Turtle Trade From the United States - Pseudemys sp.
  • Florida red-bellied cooter Southeast Ecological Science Center.
  • Ernst, C.H., R.W. Barbour and J.E. Lovich. (1994). Turtles of the United States and Canada. Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • Hubbs, C. (1995). Springs and spring runs as unique aquatic systems. Copeia. 1995(4): 989-991.
  • Reed, R.N. and J.W. Gibbons. (2004). Conservation status of live U.S. nonmarine turtles in domestic and international trade – a report to: U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Aiken, SC, Savannah River Ecology Lab: 1-92.