Testudines Chrysemys picta -- Painted Turtle
All information found on this site falls under the INHS's Internet License Agreement.
Purple shade indicates vouchered specimens. Light blue (cyan)
shade indicates photographic records. Yellow shade indicates verified
sighting. Slanted hatch indicates pre-1980 records only
NOTE: Not all specimens upon which these maps are based have been verified.
Key Characters: Relatively low, smooth-edged shell; red markings on marginals or plastron; upper jaw with median notch bordered by toothlike cusps.
Similar Species: Slider (melanistic males).
Subspecies: Western painted turtle, C. p. bellii; midland painted turtle, C. p. marginata; and intergradation between midland and southern painted turtle, C. p. dorsalis.
Description: Medium-sized (up to 18 cm CL) turtle with yellow stripes on head and olive to black carapace. Marginal scutes with vertical bars (bellii) or horizontal to curved markings (marginata); red midback stripe broad (dorsalis), narrow (marginata), or absent (bellii). Plastron: yellow, red, or orange; dark markings broad, laterally branching, and covering most of plastron (bellii); elongated and confined to midplastral seam (marginata); or absent (dorsalis). Extensive intergradation among subspecies produces great variation within state.
Habitat: Frequents most aquatic habitats but most common in shallow, quiet, weedy parts of lakes, ponds, marshes, and river backwaters.
Natural History: Basking congregations are common on logs and banks. Omnivorous diet includes plants, insects, and mollusks. Readily scavenges on dead fish. Nests May to July. Lays 2-3 clutches of 8-9 flexible-shelled, ellipsoidal eggs (ca. 32 x 20 mm). Hatchlings usually overwinter in nest.
Status: Highly adaptable, less susceptible to habitat modification than many turtles. Some collected illegally as pets, but no population appears seriously reduced. Common and widespread.