Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Saturday, June 6, 2015

My Cousin: The Ringed Map Turtle

The Ringed Map Turtle is found in the Pearl River and its tributaries in Mississippi and Louisiana.  The Pearl River is a large river that can have very swift currents when the water is high.

This is a small to medium size turtle. Males are about 3.5 to 4.5 inches as adults and females are about 5 to 7.5 inches long.  This turtle is part of the narrow head group of map turtles and therefore is mostly an insect eater, but they are also opportunistic so crustaceans and fish could also be eaten.  It has the typical map turtle central keel that is exaggerated as a hatchling and slowly wears down with age, especially old females. However, of all the map turtle species, this group (the sawback group) has the highest central keel. It also has a small plastral pattern that consists of a few horizontal lines.

Like the other sawbacks, the Ringed Map inhabits a sandy, mud bottomed river.  It is associated with brush piles (trees that have died and fell into the river). It spends much of the day basking on these fallen trees and quickly jumps into the water when approached. They seek refuge on the bottom of the river and in between the branches of the falling trees.


This species is endangered in the state of Mississippi, and federally threatened