Kinosternon subrubrum (Lacpde, 1788)
EASTERN MUD TURTLE
Mississippi Mud Turtle; Florida Mud Turtle
Life   Vertebrata   Reptilia   Testudines   Kinosternidae   Kinosternon

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Kinosternon subrubrum, basking
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Kinosternon subrubrum, basking

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Kinosternon subrubrum, hatchling
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D E C banner Home » Animals, Plants, Aquatic Life » Amphibians & Reptiles » Eastern Mud Turtle Fact Sheet

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Eastern Mud Turtle Fact Sheet

Eastern Mud Turtle
Kinosternon subrubrum

New York Status: Endangered
Federal Status: Not Listed

Description

Drawing of Mud Turtle

The mud turtle is a small, nondescript reptile, measuring 3-4 inches (7.5-10 cm). The carapace (upper shell) is olive to dark brown to almost black, patternless, smooth and keelless. It has only 11 marginal scutes (plates) rather than the 12 found on most turtles. The plastron (lower shell) is yellow to brown, double-hinged, with 11 plates. Males have a well-developed, blunt spine at the tip of the tail and rough scaly patches on the inside of the hind legs.

Life History

Most of the life history information is based on studies conducted at the southern end of the range. Breeding occurs soon after the turtles leave hibernation, which in New York occurs from late April to May. In June, the female digs a 3-5 inch cavity in vegetative debris or in sandy loam soil, where she deposits 2-6 eggs. In the south, three clutches are typically laid each year, but in New York, one clutch is most likely. The eggs incubate for an average of 76 days, but may overwinter in the nest. Muskrat and beaver lodges are occasionally used as nest sites. Females reportedly reach sexual maturity in 5-8 years; males require only 4-7 years. In New York, though, sexual maturity may take 8-11 years.

Distribution and Habitat

Map of Mud Turtle distribution

The range of this species covers Long Island, south to southern Florida, west to central Texas, and north up the Mississippi Valley to southern Illinois and southwestern Indiana. An isolated population occurs in northwestern Indiana. In New York, there are only five populations remaining. Within their range, mud turtles are semi-aquatic, though they often wander away from water in mid-summer. They can be found in fresh or brackish water, including marshes, small ponds, wet ditches and fields, and offshore islands. They prefer shallow, soft-bottomed, slow-moving water with abundant vegetation. Individuals can be seen prowling pond bottoms during warmer months. If the habitat dries up, they may move over land to another body of water, or burrow into the mud and aestivate (pass the summer in a state of stupor). In New York, mud turtles hibernate from September to April or May. Of all turtle species in New York, the mud turtle apparently has the shortest activity period. Burrows, 1 to 3 feet deep in mud, sand or dry leaves at marsh or field edges, below the frost line, are used for overwintering. Mud turtles migrate 200-400 meters from their pond to nest.

Status

The mud turtle is the rarest species of turtle in New York. Mud turtles are seen crossing roads, most likely in search of nest sites or water. Turtles killed by passing cars are a very significant loss to populations. Draining wetlands for urban and industrial development has impacted populations, reducing the amount of suitable habitat. Upland nesting and hibernation sites have also been impacted by land clearing, development and fragmentation from road construction. Overcollecting for the illegal pet trade exploits adults necessary for sustaining populations.

Management and Research Needs

Additional effort is needed to survey for mud turtles in potential habitat. Studies to identify upland habitat requirements have begun and need to be continued. At this time, efforts aimed at protecting mud turtles should concentrate on the acquisition and management of habitat where populations are still known to occur. Educating the public regarding the illegal pet trade and enhancing their awareness of statutory protection should be encouraged. Recommended habitat management activities include 1) elimination of barriers that hinder migration between ponds and nest or hibernation sites, 2) placement of "turtle crossing" signs to warn motorists of the turtle's presence in key areas, and 3) maintenance of open areas for nesting.

Additional References

Behler, J. L. and R. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

Conant, R. and J. T. Collins. 1998. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Third Edition Expanded. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.

Ernst, C. H., J. E. Lovich and R. W. Barbour. 1994. Turtles of the United States and Canada Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London.

Pritchard, P. C. H. 1979. Encyclopedia of Turtles. T. F. H. Publications, Neptune, New Jersey.

Map adapted from Conant and Collins (1998) and Ernst, Lovich and Barbour (1994)


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Following modified from Davidson College
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&pull 20q v5.145 20180528: Error 301 Moved Permanently http://www.bio.davidson.edu/projects/herpcons/herps_of_NC/turtles/kinsub.html

Following modified from CalPhotos
   Top | See original

http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=dl&where-taxon=Kinosternon+subrubrum&where-lifeform=specimen_tag&rel-lifeform=ne&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-lifeform=Animal ---> https://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=dl&where-taxon=Kinosternon+subrubrum&where-lifeform=specimen_tag&rel-lifeform=ne&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-lifeform=Animal

CalPhotos    
Contributors       Log In  
 

Number of matches : 22
Query: SELECT * FROM img WHERE ready=1 and taxon like "Kinosternon subrubrum%" and (lifeform != "specimen_tag" OR lifeform != "Animal") ORDER BY taxon

Click on the thumbnail to see an enlargement

Kinosternon subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum
Common Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0901 0597 [detail]
© 2006 William Flaxington

Kinosternon subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0603 0101 [detail]
© 2003 Jason Gibson

Kinosternon subrubrum
UCMP specimen card
ID: 2222 0804 0008 0025 [detail]
© University of California Museum of Paleontology

Kinosternon subrubrum
UCMP specimen card
ID: 2222 0904 0018 0042 [detail]
© University of California Museum of Paleontology

Kinosternon subrubrum
UCMP specimen card
ID: 2222 0904 0018 0043 [detail]
© University of California Museum of Paleontology

Kinosternon subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum
ID: 0000 0000 0605 0488 [detail]
© 2005 Jason Gibson

Kinosternon subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum
ID: 0000 0000 0605 0489 [detail]
© 2005 Jason Gibson

Kinosternon subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum
ID: 0000 0000 0605 0490 [detail]
© 2005 Jason Gibson

Kinosternon subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0510 2518 [detail]
© 2010 John White

Kinosternon subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum
ID: 0000 0000 0211 0702 [detail]
© 2011 Todd Pierson

Kinosternon subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum
ID: 0000 0000 0211 0703 [detail]
© 2011 Todd Pierson

Kinosternon subrubrum hippocrepis
UCMP specimen card
ID: 2222 0704 0040 0008 [detail]
© University of California Museum of Paleontology

Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri
Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri
Florida Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 1113 2903 [detail]
© 2013 Don Filipiak

Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri
Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri
Florida Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 1113 2904 [detail]
© 2013 Don Filipiak

Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri
Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri
Florida Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 1113 2905 [detail]
© 2013 Don Filipiak

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0401 0017 [detail]
© 2001 John White

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0501 0103 [detail]
© 2001 John White

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0401 0018 [detail]
© 2001 John White

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0501 0104 [detail]
© 2001 John White

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0708 0392 [detail]
© 2008 Jason Gibson

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0708 0393 [detail]
© 2008 Jason Gibson

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0510 2379 [detail]
© 2010 John White

Using these photos: A variety of organizations and individuals have contributed photographs to CalPhotos. Please follow the usage guidelines provided with each image. Use and copyright information, as well as other details about the photo such as the date and the location, are available by clicking on the [detail] link under the thumbnail. See also: Using the Photos in CalPhotos .   


Copyright © 1995-2018 UC Regents. All rights reserved.

CalPhotos is a project of BNHM      University of California, Berkeley

Following modified from CalPhotos
   Top | See original

http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=dl&where-taxon=Kinosternon+subrubrum+subrubrum&where-lifeform=specimen_tag&rel-lifeform=ne&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-lifeform=Animal ---> https://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=dl&where-taxon=Kinosternon+subrubrum+subrubrum&where-lifeform=specimen_tag&rel-lifeform=ne&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-lifeform=Animal

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Number of matches : 7
Query: SELECT * FROM img WHERE ready=1 and taxon like "Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum%" and (lifeform != "specimen_tag" OR lifeform != "Animal") ORDER BY taxon

Click on the thumbnail to see an enlargement

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0401 0017 [detail]
© 2001 John White

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0501 0103 [detail]
© 2001 John White

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0401 0018 [detail]
© 2001 John White

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0501 0104 [detail]
© 2001 John White

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0708 0392 [detail]
© 2008 Jason Gibson

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0708 0393 [detail]
© 2008 Jason Gibson

Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum
Eastern Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 0510 2379 [detail]
© 2010 John White

Using these photos: A variety of organizations and individuals have contributed photographs to CalPhotos. Please follow the usage guidelines provided with each image. Use and copyright information, as well as other details about the photo such as the date and the location, are available by clicking on the [detail] link under the thumbnail. See also: Using the Photos in CalPhotos .   


Copyright © 1995-2018 UC Regents. All rights reserved.

CalPhotos is a project of BNHM      University of California, Berkeley

Following modified from CalPhotos
   Top | See original

http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=dl&where-taxon=Kinosternon+subrubrum+steindachneri&where-lifeform=specimen_tag&rel-lifeform=ne&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-lifeform=Animal ---> https://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=dl&where-taxon=Kinosternon+subrubrum+steindachneri&where-lifeform=specimen_tag&rel-lifeform=ne&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-lifeform=Animal

CalPhotos    
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Number of matches : 3
Query: SELECT * FROM img WHERE ready=1 and taxon like "Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri%" and (lifeform != "specimen_tag" OR lifeform != "Animal") ORDER BY taxon

Click on the thumbnail to see an enlargement

Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri
Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri
Florida Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 1113 2903 [detail]
© 2013 Don Filipiak

Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri
Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri
Florida Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 1113 2904 [detail]
© 2013 Don Filipiak

Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri
Kinosternon subrubrum steindachneri
Florida Mud Turtle
ID: 0000 0000 1113 2905 [detail]
© 2013 Don Filipiak

Using these photos: A variety of organizations and individuals have contributed photographs to CalPhotos. Please follow the usage guidelines provided with each image. Use and copyright information, as well as other details about the photo such as the date and the location, are available by clicking on the [detail] link under the thumbnail. See also: Using the Photos in CalPhotos .   


Copyright © 1995-2018 UC Regents. All rights reserved.

CalPhotos is a project of BNHM      University of California, Berkeley

Updated: 2018-10-18 03:27:54 gmt
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