Arizona mud turtle

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Arizona mud turtle
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Kinosternidae
Genus: Kinosternon
Species: K. arizonense
Binomial name
Kinosternon arizonense
(Gilmore, 1923)
  • Kinosternon arizonense Gilmore, 1922
  • Kinosternon flavescens stejnegeri Hartweg, 1938
  • Kinosternon arizonenese Iverson, 1978 (ex errore)
  • Kinosternon flavescens arizonense Iverson, 1979

The Arizona mud turtle (Kinosternon arizonense) is a species of mud turtle in the Kinosternidae family. It is found in Arizona (United States) and Sonora (Mexico).


The turtle’s body varies in colour. The carapace (upper portion of the shell) tends to be brown, olive or a yellow- brown in colour.[2] The marginal shields, which can be described as the rim around the shell is yellow.[2] In addition, the lower portion of the shell also known as the plastron is yellow as well.[2] The top of the head is grey in colour and the sides are cream.[2] One thing that separates them from other species of turtles is that the first and second marginal shield do not connect.[2]

Habitat and behaviour[edit]

The Arizona mud turtle can be located in the Lower Colorado River Lower Colorado River Sonoran Desertscrub,Arizona Upland Sonoran Desertscrub, and Semidesert Grassland communities.[2] The Arizona mud turtle’s activity occurs during the day.[2] It also is active at night but specifically in July and August in monsoon season. Because it is warm during this period, they tend to spend most of their time in the water, hence why they are known as semi aquatic.[2] During the winter months, they hibernate in an underground burrow.[2] Their diet consists of toads, tadpoles, fish, intervertabrates and carrion.[2] The Arizona mud turtle lays one to seven eggs and mates primarily in the summer.[3] Female turtles tend to grow between 12 and 13 cm and have life span from 6 to 10 years age.[3] During mating season females tend to lay between 1 and 7 eggs.[3]

Major threats[edit]

The species is considered threatened, because there has been ranching, agriculture and flood control taking place in the Sonoran Desert.[3] Establishing themselves in wetlands, also exposes them to climate and habitat degradation.[3] An adult Arizona mud turtle usually will survive these conditions, however, could be impacted. Road mortality is also likely to affect this species.[3] On the positive side, the Arizona mud turtle adapts and benefits from pond reconstruction performed by humans.[3]


  1. ^ Fritz Uwe; Peter Havaš (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World" (PDF). Vertebrate Zoology. 57 (2): 251. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Brennan, Thomas. "ARIZONA MUD TURTLE Kinosternon arizonense". Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Frost, D.; Hammerson, G. & Gadsden, H. "Arizona Mud Turtle". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 


  1. Gilmore (1923). "A new fossil turtle, Kinosternon arizonense, from Arizona". Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 62: 1–8. doi:10.5479/si.00963801.62-2451.1.