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Common Map Turtle Graptemys geographica


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Common Map Turtle
credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson

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Family: Emydidae, Pond and Box Turtles view all from this family

Description Markings resemble contour lines on a map or chart. The lines on the carapace are shades of yellow, tan, or orange and are surrounded by dark borders. The rest of the carapace is olive or greyish brown. The carapace markings on older individuals tend to fade but are usually still apparent when the shell is wet. Plastron is yellowish and is marked by a central dark blotch that follows the sutures of the plastral scutes and fades with age.

Dimensions 10.2-15.9cm. (4-6 1/4"). Females: 17.8-27.3cm. (7-10 3/4")

Breeding May-July. Two or more clutches in south. 12-14 eggs in a clutch. Hatch mid August-September. Sometimes hatch following June.

Habitat Ponds, rivers and lakes. They prefer large bodies of water and areas with fallen trees and other debris for basking.

Range Quebec and Ontario to n, Vermont in the St. Lawrence River drainage basin. West through the Great Lakes and into southern Wisconsin and e. Minnesota, w. of the Appalachians, south to Kansas, nw. Georgia. Also in the Susquehanna River system located in Pennsylvania and Maryland and also in the Delaware River.

Discussion Often stack on one another when basking in the sun. Hide in water when disturbed. Clams and snails form part of the diet, females have very strong jaws that can crush their shells. Crayfish, insects and mollusks form the maenad diet of males and juveniles.