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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
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).

External links[edit]