From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sternotherus odoratus.jpg
Sternotherus odoratus
common musk turtle, hatchling
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Kinosternoidea
Family: Kinosternidae
Subfamily: Kinosterninae
Genus: Sternotherus
Bell in Gray, 1825[1]

Sternotherus is a genus of aquatic turtles known commonly as musk turtles, which are endemic to North America. This genus is closely related to the genus Kinosternon.[2] 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.

Geographic range[edit]

The genus occurs in southern Canada, as well as the United States and Mexico.


They are very similar to the American mud turtles, but tend to have a more domed carapace, 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.


All musk turtles are carnivorous, consuming various aquatic invertebrates, fish, and carrion.


They are a highly aquatic genus. But some, like the common musk turtle, are known to bask on fallen trees and coarse woody debris on shorelines.[2]



  1. ^ "Sternotherus ". ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System).
  2. ^ a b Ernst CH, Barbour RW, Lovich JE. 1994. Turtles of the United States and Canada. Washington, District of Columbia: Smithsonian Institution. (p. 137).

Further reading[edit]

  • 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).

External links[edit]