Pseudemys texana inhabits the river systems of central Texas, specifically the Brazos, Colorado, Guadalupe and San Antonio systems.
endemic to a single state or province
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Colorado (Concho, Llano, San Sabo), Brazos, Guadalupe, and San Antonio river drainages, Texas (Etchberger and Iverson 1990).
Distribution: USA (Texas: from San Antonio Bay and Galveston on the Gulf, west in the Colorado, Brazos, Guadalupe, and San Antonio river drainages).
Type locality: San Antonio, Texas.
Length: 41 cm
Habitat and Ecology
Pseudemys texana inhabits mostly rivers but also utilizes reservoirs and impoundments, nearby cattle tanks, canals and irrigation ditches; great densities are reached in clear water with dense aquatic vegetation beds
Pseudemys texana feeds almost predominantly on submerged aquatic vegetation, with aquatic invertebrate prey representing a small dietary component (Fields et al. 2003, Lindeman 2007).Males may reach 25.3 cm carapace length (CL), females exceptionally may attain 33 cm CL. Maturity is reached by males from their second year onwards, at 9 cm CL, while females can be mature at 22.3 cm CL. Clutch size averages 8.5 eggs (range 6-9). (Lindeman, 2007). Hatchling size, longevity and generation time have apparently not been reported.
Comments: Primarily in rivers and tributaries, and nearby ponds; sites with abundant underwater vegetation and plenty of basking sites (Garrett and Barker 1987); also in ditches and cattle tanks (Conant 1975). Sometimes wanders on land near water (Garrett and Barker 1987). Digs shallow nest in ground near water (Garrett and Barker 1987).
Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 80
Comments: Occurrences have not been delineated using consistent criteria, so the number of distinct occurrences is unknown. However, the species occurrs in many locations in several different rivers
10,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Comments: Common in suitable habitat (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).
Gregarious basker (Garrett and Barker 1987).
Life History and Behavior
Eggs are laid in late May, June, and July; clutch size is 4-22; incubation period is 80-150 days; 2-4 clutches/year; females are sexually mature in 6-7 years, males in 3 years (Garrett and Barker 1987).
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2010Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly to moderately vulnerable.
Pseudemys texana is generally abundant where it occurs. Vermersch (1992) speculated that the creation of impoundments and other shallow vegetated waterbodies within its range has increased its abundance. Despite pollution of the San Antonio river, the species appeared more abundant there in 1992 than in the late 1960s (Vermersch 1992), while Graptemys caglei disappeared from the river over the same period.
Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)
Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%
Comments: Apparently more common recently in the San Antonio River than it was a few decades ago (Vermersch 1992).
Degree of Threat: Low
Comments: Apparently unaffected by pollution in the San Antonio river (Vermersch 1992).
Pseudemys texana occurs in several riverside protected areas. Commercial collection of turtles in Texas public waters was ended in 2007.
Monitoring of populations at representative locations would be welcome, as would further research on the natural history and conservation needs for the species.
Texas river cooter
The Texas river cooter (Pseudemys texana) is a species of freshwater turtle native to creeks, rivers, and lakes of the US state of Texas. They are found in the river basins of the Colorado, Brazos, Guadalupe, and San Antonio Rivers. It is one of two species of cooter native to the state, the other being the Eastern River Cooter.
The Texas River Cooter is a relatively large turtle, capable of growing to a shell length of 12+ inches (30.5 cm). They are green in color, with yellow and black markings that fade with age. Males can be distinguished from females by their longer tails, longer claws, and overall smaller size.
The Texas Cooter was once reclassified to a subspecies of the Eastern Cooter, Pseudemys concinna, but was given full species status in 1991.
The Red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) shares its range and habits, but can easily be distinguished from the Texas Cooter by red patches on either side of its head. Various species of map turtle can also look much like juvenile Texas Cooters.
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Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Formerly included in P. concinna; distinctiveness from concinna is questionable; further study of texana- concinna complex is needed (see Etchberger and Iverson 1990, Ward 1984, King and Burke 1989, Ernst and Barbour 1989). See Seidel (1994) for a morphometric analysis and taxonomic treatment of the genus Pseudemys (Seidel recognized texana as a distinct species).