Yellow-blotched Map Turtle
Yellow-blotched Map Turtle
|Listed||January 14, 1991|
|Description||Medium-sized turtle with olive to light brown shell that has riblike plates with bright yellow or orange blotches.|
|Habitat||Marshes with brackish water or rivers that receive several hours of sun each day and have a moderate current, with logs for basking; nests on sand or gravel bars.|
|Food||Snails, insects, small mollusks.|
|Reproduction||Little is known.|
|Threats||Habitat degradation, flood control programs, shooting, collecting.|
The yellow-blotched map turtle is a medium-sized aquatic species. Its olive to light brown shell has riblike plates with bright yellow or orange blotches. Shell length is 4.75-8 in (12-20 cm), with females being larger than males.
The species' diet includes snails and insects; larger adults also eat small mollusks. Little is known of the ecology or reproduction biology of this species.
The yellow-blotched map turtle inhabits marshes with brackish water or rivers that receive several hours of sun each day and have a moderate current, with logs for basking. It nests on sand or gravel bars.
This species has one of the most restricted ranges of any sawback turtle, being found in southeast Mississippi in the Pascagoula River drainage system, including the Pascagoula, Leaf, and Chickasawhay Rivers and possibly their larger tributaries. Its few remaining populations are isolated and scattered. Population surveys are underway, but estimates are not yet available.
Habitat degradation has contributed to the decline in this species' population. Flood control programs have resulted in an increased amount of sediment in the water, causing a decrease in the turtle's food supply, and basking and nesting sites have been lost due to altered water flows. Shooting or collecting of basking turtles is also a problem; while collecting for scientific and educational reasons has declined, collecting for commercial purposes continues to be a threat.
Conservation and Recovery
Protection of remaining populations and habitat is essential for the recovery of the species. Any future flood-control modifications should be designed to minimize their impact on the turtle's habitat and food supply. Shooting of basking turtles must also be stopped through educational programs and greater enforcement of legal protection. In addition, research is needed to identify the source of pollutants in the rivers and to determine their effect on breeding rates.
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
1875 Century Blvd., Suite 200
Atlanta, Georgia 30345
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1993. "Yellow-blotched Map Turtle (Graptemys flavimaculata) Recovery Plan." U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Jackson, Mississippi. 18pp.