The false map turtle has yellow lines on its carapace that sometimes form a web patterning resembling a map, hence its name!
  • Size

    3.5-10.6 inches (9-27 cm)
  • Diet

    Mollusks, fish, insects and small amounts of vegetation
  • Range

    North America
  • Habitat

    Freshwater rivers and backwaters including bayous, lakes, ponds and marshes

Physical Characteristics

  • Common length of 3.5-10.6 inches (9-27cm).
    • Male typically reaches a common length of 3.5-6 inches (9-15 cm).
    • Female typically reaches a common length of 4.7-10.6 inches (12-27 cm).
  • Coloration of carapace is olive, brown or black with dark spots that have yellow lines around them. The skin is an olive or brown color with yellow lines on their legs, chin, tail and neck. The color of the plastron ranges from cream to yellow.
  • A high, strong ridge or “dorsal keel” is an identifying feature of this species, especially in hatchlings and juveniles.
  • Head is broad and sometimes shows a backwards L-shape behind each eye.
  • Yellow lines on the carapace sometimes form a web pattern resembling a map.

Animal Fact

A high, strong ridge or “dorsal keel” is an identifying feature of the false map turtle, especially in hatchlings and juveniles.

Diet / Feeding

  • Omnivores; diet consists of mollusks, fish, insects and small amounts of vegetation.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in freshwater environments in the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers of North America.
  • Inhabits large rivers and backwaters including bayous, lakes, ponds and marshes.
    • Prefers areas with slow currents, places to bask and abundant aquatic vegetation.
    • Occasionally found in main channels of large rivers.

Reproduction & Growth

  • Sexually dimorphic; females are typically larger than males and have a broader head.
  • Reproductive maturity is reached between the ages of four to six years for males and eight to fourteen years for females.
  • Females typically produce two to three clutches per year. A clutch size ranges from eight to twenty-two eggs.
  • This species mates twice a year; once in April and again in October and November.
  • Males identify a potential mate using visual and olfactory cues.

Conservation Status

  • Listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Yellow lines on the carapace sometimes form a web pattern resembling a map, which is where the species gets its name.
  • This species uses touch and body language to communicate.

Sources

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