In courtship, males nudge the female's head while swimming and if she chooses to mate, the male will swim above the female without clasping her with his claws (unlike most other turtles).
Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)
Spiny softshell turtles sexually mature between the ages of 8 to 10 years. They mate in mid to late spring in deep water. Apalone spinifera females lay clutches along a sunny sandbar or gravel bank in a flask-shaped cavity that they dig close to water as quickly as possible (usually within an hour). Spiny softshell turtles sometimes nest more than once during a single season. Females lay between 9 and 38 round calcareous-shelled eggs. The eggs hatch around August and September. Clutches can even incubate through the winter and hatch in the spring.
Breeding interval: Breeding occurs once yearly, sometimes several times in a year.
Breeding season: Spiny softshell turtles mate in mid to late spring.
Range number of offspring: 9 to 38.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 8 to 10 years.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 8 to 10 years.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; oviparous
Females invest energy into supplying their eggs with nutrients for development and deposit them into a safe nest. Once the eggs are laid there is no further parental investment.
Parental Investment: no parental involvement; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)
- Harding, J. 1997. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
- Behler, J., F. King. 1998. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc..
- Conant, R., J. Collins. 1998. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians; Eastern and Central North America. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co..