Sternotherus is a genus of aquaticturtles known commonly as musk turtles, which are endemic to North America. This genus is closely related to the genus Kinosternon. The most common species of Sternotherus in most of North America is Sternotherus odoratus, the common musk turtle or stinkpot; that entry has more information on the ecology of this group of turtles.
They are very similar to the American mud turtles, but tend to have a more domedcarapace, with a distinctive keel down the center of it. Sternotherus odoratus typically grows to only 8–14 cm (3–5½ inches) in carapace length at full maturity, with females often being larger than males.
Bell T. 1821. In:Gray JE. 1821. "A Synopsis of the Genera of Reptiles and Amphibia, with a Description of some new Species". Annals of Philosophy, New Series [Second Series] 10: 193-217. (Sternotherus, new genus, p. 211).
Goin CJ, Goin OB, Zug GR. 1978. Introduction to Herpetology, Third Edition. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company. xi + 378 pp. ISBN 0-7167-0020-4. (Genus Sternotherus, pp. 136, 263-264).
Smith HM, Brodie ED Jr. 1982. Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3. (Genus Sternotherus, p.28).