Testudines Graptemys ouachitensis -- Ouachita Map Turtle
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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: Broad, yellow, vertical bar behind eye; large yellow spot under eye and on lower jaw; low knob-bearing keel along midline of back.
Similar Species: Common map turtle, false map turtle.
Subspecies: Ouachita map turtle, G. o. ouachitensis.
Description: Medium-sized (up to 22 cm CL) turtle. Carapace brown to olive, with black or dark brown knobs, and with dark blotches on posterior portion of each scute. In some individuals, blotches are encircled by yellow or orange lines; in others lines are present without blotches. Plastron yellowish and, in juveniles, patterned with dark swirls that cover up to half the plastral area. Plastral pattern obscure in old adults. Head, neck, limbs, and tail striped. Male with elongate foreclaws and vent behind end of carapace.
Habitat: Rivers with sand or gravel bottoms.
Natural History: Regularly basks in large numbers on logs and snags near river banks. Omnivorous, eats aquatic insect larvae and vegetation. Nesting occurs mid-May to early June. Two clutches of ellipsoidal, flexible-shelled eggs (ca. 19/clutch) are laid annually. Eggs average 35 x 22 mm.
Status: Status and distribution poorly understood because of identification problems and confusion in literature. Locally common, particularly in Wabash River.