Testudines Graptemys pseudogeographica -- False 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: Narrow vertical bar behind eye (sometimes forming semicircle); no large spot below eye or on lower jaw; low knob-bearing keel along midline of back.
Similar Species: Common map turtle, Ouachita map turtle.
Subspecies: False map turtle, G. p. pseudogeographica, and intergradation between false map turtle and Mississippi map turtle, G. p. kohnii.
Description: Medium-sized (up to 25 cm CL) turtle. Carapace brown to olive, with black or dark brown knobs. Posterior edge strongly toothed in young. Hatchling with orange or yellow rings on lateral carapace scutes and intricately whorled dark lines on plastron that fade to obscurity in adult. Head, neck, limbs, and tail liberally striped. Male with elongate foreclaws and cloacal opening behind end of carapace.
Habitat: Rivers and backwaters with mud bottoms and abundant basking sites.
Natural History: Extremely wary when basking, among first to dive into water when approached by boat. Omnivorous, feeding almost equally on plants and animals (mollusks and insects). Nests late May into early July. Female lays 2-3 clutches of ellipsoidal, flexible-shelled eggs (ca. 14/clutch).
Status: Locally common along Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Often confused with Ouachita map turtle in the literature. The Cook County populations may be introduced.