Overview

Brief Summary

Summary

Pseudemys concinna (Family Emydidae) is a large, riverine turtle that occurs in relatively dense populations throughout the eastern and southern parts of the United States. Currently generally recognized subspecies include P. c. concinna and P. c. suwanniensis. Studies of diet, reproduction, and population demography have focused chiefly on Florida populations. There is little reason to be concerned about the species’ survival, although no definitive studies have been conducted to establish population dynamics or statistics across its entire distribution. Further study is necessary to determine whether specific protective measures beyond those already in place in some states are needed.
  • Ward, J.P. and Jackson, D.R. 2008. Pseudemys concinna (Le Conte 1830) – river cooter. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., and Iverson, J.B. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 006.1-006.7, doi:10.3854/crm.5.006.concinna.v1.2008, http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt
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Distribution

Range Description

Pseudemys concinna inhabits the eastern and central United States, from eastern Texas through the lower Missouri-Mississippi basin and Ohio to Virginia and northern Florida:

  • P. c. concinna: Sabine-Missouri-Mississippi-Ohio basins, and Atlantic rivers above the fall line in the southeast, and from the Apalachicola westward in the Florida Panhandle.
  • P. c. floridana: Coastal plain from North Carolina to Louisiana below the fall line.
  • P. c. suwanniensis: West coast of peninsular Florida, eastward of the Ochlockonee River.

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USA. Southeastern USA from Virginia through Florida to eastern Texas.
  • Ward, J.P. and Jackson, D.R. 2008. Pseudemys concinna (Le Conte 1830) – river cooter. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., and Iverson, J.B. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 006.1-006.7, doi:10.3854/crm.5.006.concinna.v1.2008, http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt
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Geographic Range

The river cooter occurs in the east and southeast part of the United States. The range covers an area from eastern Virginia south to Florida, west to eastern Texas, north to southeast Nebraska, and east back to the origin. Isolated populations can be found in neighboring states, including West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee (Stebbins 1966)(Ernst et al., 1994).

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Range extends from Maryland to Florida Panhandle and northwestern peninsular Florida, west to eastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, and eastern Kansas, north to Missouri, Illinois (Dreslik 1998), Indiana, and the Ohio River valley of West Virginia, south to the Gulf Coast (Conant and Collins 1991, Seidel and Dreslik 1996).

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Continent: Middle-America North-America
Distribution: USA (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, E Oklahoma, Texas, SE New Mexico, SE Kansas, S Missouri, S Illinois, W Kentucky, W Tennessee, Florida), Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipus)  mobilensis: USA (Texas), Mexico (Nuevo Leon)
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Adult river cooters average 9 to 12 inches (carapace length). The head and neck have numerous thin, yellow stripes. The olive or brown colored carapace is often highlighted with lighter markings and slightly flared posteriorly. Carapace scutes are usually with well-developed concentric rings. A distinguishing characteristic is the faint "C" shaped marking visible on the second costal scute. This marking may be difficult to see when the shell is dry. The plastron is marked with dark spots along the scute margins. These markings usually fade with age. The upper jaw is notched in front and flanked by a cusp on each side. There is some sexual dimorphism. Male specimens have elongated toenails on the forelimbs. Females are typically larger and more domed than males (Conant et al. 1975).

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Size

Length: 42 cm

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Type Information

Holotype for Pseudemys concinna
Catalog Number: USNM 79631
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Dry
Year Collected: 1927
Locality: Elon College, pond near, Guilford, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Holotype: Brimley, C. S. 1928. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. 44 (1): 67, plates 1 and 2, figure 1.
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Neotype for Pseudemys concinna
Catalog Number: USNM 55516
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Dry
Year Collected: 1899
Locality: No Further Locality Data, Newton, Missouri, United States, North America
  • Neotype: Agassiz, L. 1857. Contributions to the Natural History of the United States of America, Volume 1, Part 2, North American Testudinata. 1: 433.; Stejneger, L. 1938. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 51: 175.
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Paratype for Pseudemys concinna
Catalog Number: USNM 166489
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Dry
Year Collected: 1927
Locality: Elon College, pond near, Guilford, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Brimley, C. S. 1928. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. 44 (1): 67, plates 1 and 2, figure 1.
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Paratype for Pseudemys concinna
Catalog Number: USNM 166488
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Dry
Year Collected: 1927
Locality: Elon College, pond near, Guilford, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Brimley, C. S. 1928. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. 44 (1): 67, plates 1 and 2, figure 1.
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Paratype for Pseudemys concinna
Catalog Number: USNM 166487
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: Female; Adult
Preparation: Dry
Year Collected: 1927
Locality: Elon College, pond near, Guilford, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Brimley, C. S. 1928. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. 44 (1): 67, plates 1 and 2, figure 1.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology

Pseudemys concinna is predominantly a species of medium to large rivers with clear water and extensive submerged vegetation, but can also occur in springs and spring runs, lakes, swamps and farm ponds.

It feeds nearly exclusively on aquatic plants. Because of its substantial biomass, Pseudemys concinna may play a significant role in the ecosystem through its feeding on aquatic vegetation and resulting nutrient cycling.

Males may reach 32 cm carapace length (CL), females 40 cm CL. Maturity is reached at about six years (19 cm CL) in males, 13–24 years (24 cm CL) in females, depending on location. Longevity may reach 40 years. Generation time probably is 20 years or longer.

Females produce 1–6 clutches of about 15 (range 4–30) eggs. Incubation takes about 86 (range 70–96) days. Hatchlings measure about 34 (range 27–39) mm.

(Reviews by Jackson 2006, Ernst and Lovich 2009).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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The river cooter is primarily a river turtle, but can be found in ditches and saltwater areas near river mouths. Rivers with slow to moderate currents, abundant aquatic vegetation, and rocky bottoms are preferred. Other less frequently used habitats include lakes, ponds, deep springs, floodplain river pools, and swamps. Moll et al. (1991) concluded that optimal habitat in Illinois appeared to be sloughs and oxbows with abundant macrophytes, located on the floodplains of major river systems (Ernst et al., 1994).

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Comments: Streams with moderate current, abundant aquatic vegetation, basking sites, and rocky bottom; also lakes, ponds, oxbows, swamps, large ditches, lagoons, brackish tidal marshes; leaves water only to nest or bask (Ernst and Barbour 1972).

Eggs are laid in nests dug in sandy soil usually less than about 30 m from water (Ernst and Barbour 1972).

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

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.

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

The river cooter is primarily herbivorous, although specimens of all ages will consume animal foods. Preferred plants include eelgrass (Vallisneria americana), elodea (Elodea canadensis), and various algae (Buhlmann and Vaughn, 1991). Animal foods include crayfish, tadpoles, small fish, snails, and many small insects. In saltwater habitats, this species feeds largely on turtle grass (Ernst et al., 1994).

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Comments: Apparently primarily herbivorous in some areas, eats mainly small animals in other areas (Ernst and Barbour 1972). Eats mostly aquatic species, also scavenges. Young omnivorous (Mount 1975). In the New River, West Virginia, adults ate eelgrass, elodea, and crayfishes (Buhlmann and Vaughan 1991). In a Florida spring, diet was plant matter (algae and native and exotic vascular plants), with animal matter ingested incidently or as carrion (Lagueux et al., 1995, J. Herpetol. 29:122-129).

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

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Global Abundance

100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Comments: May be inactive in winter away from coastal areas (Mount 1975).

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
44 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 44 years (captivity)
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Reproduction

The river cooter usually mates in the spring. The male will pursue the female, first sniffing her tail, then moving to a position dorsal to her. He will then extend his neck and head downward and outward over hers, position his elongated foreclaws just anterior to her snout, and vibrate them rapidly in front of her face. If the female is receptive, she will sink to the bottom and allow the male to slide backward and mount her. If not receptive, the female will try to outswim the male or duck under a submerged object to displace him (Ernst et al., 1994). Nesting normally occurs in late May or June, but some clutches may come as late as July to late summer. Nest locations are typically sandy or friable loam soils, within 30 meters of the water. Nest cavities are dug entirely with the hind feet. Green and Pauley (1987) described a nest dug by a 30.5 cm female as 12.7 cm deep with an opening 6.8 cm in diameter. The eggs are pink to white in color and ellipsoidal in shape, bearing many fine nodules. Clutches range from 9 to 29 eggs, although 19 to 20 eggs/clutch are most common. Most hatchlings emerge from the nest in August or September after an incubation period of 80-150 days, dependent on soil temperatures. In some northern populations, hatchlings may overwinter in the nest cavity and emerge the following spring. Hatchlings have green shells with brighter light markings than do adults. The carapace is rounded with a medial keel present. Typical hatchlings weigh 10 to 14 grams (Ernst et al., 1994).

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)

Sex: male:
1277 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)

Sex: female:
2190 days.

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Nesting occurs from late March to early August in northern Florida (Jackson 1994), begins generally in late May or June in the north. Clutch size averages usually between 12 and 20 (Iverson 2001). Individual females may lay multiple clutches each season. Eggs hatch in late summer or early fall. Hatchlings sometimes overwinter in the nest; these generally emerge in early spring (see Jackson 1994).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2011

Assessor/s
van Dijk, P.P.

Reviewer/s
Horne, B.D., Mittermeier, R.A., Philippen, H.-D., Quinn, H.R., Rhodin, A.G.J., Shaffer, H.B. & Vogt, R.C

Contributor/s

Justification

While Pseudemys concinna is widespread and can be locally common, it is subject to a wide array of diffuse threats, and anecdotal information documents at least localized substantial population declines. Global populations have probably not declined by 30 percent over the past three generations (estimated 60 years), but the species warrants conservation attention and detailed population surveys may find that some of the subspecies may warrant Near Threatened rating.

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Status

IUCN 2007 Red List: Not Listed (= Least Concern, LR/lc) (assessed 1996, needs updating); CITES: Not Listed; US ESA: Not Listed.
  • Ward, J.P. and Jackson, D.R. 2008. Pseudemys concinna (Le Conte 1830) – river cooter. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., and Iverson, J.B. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 006.1-006.7, doi:10.3854/crm.5.006.concinna.v1.2008, http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt
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Although still locally abundant, the river cooter has been greatly reduced in numbers throughout its range. This species is now listed as endangered in Illinois and threatened in Florida. While nest and hatchling predation can reduce population size, human activity appears to have the greatest detrimental impact. Adults are eaten, crushed by automobiles, and driven from their habitats by pollution. Buhlmann and Vaughn (1991) report that management actions increasing the number of basking sites would be beneficial, and should be done where an increase in population is deemed appropriate.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: no special status

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly to moderately vulnerable.

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Population

Population

Pseudemys concinna can be abundant in suitable habitat, with densities of 70, 313, and 746 animals per km of river reported in Florida, representing biomass of up to 400 kg/km. Historical data suggest that densities were even higher in 1871 and 1942 (citation). Outside Florida, populations can be locally high but reported densities are at the order of 2–30 animals per km of river or shoreline.

Population declines have not been quantified, but anecdotal information suggests that some populations have declined substantially over the past half-century as a result of targeted exploitation for local consumption, compounded by other human-induced mortality. In addition, river pollution has depleted or extirpated local populations (Fenholloway River, Escambia River, New River in Santa Fe drainage).
(reviews by Jackson 2006, Ernst and Lovich 2009).


Population Trend
Unknown
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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 30%

Comments: Has declined in the north (Herkert 1992).

Global Long Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 50%

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Threats

Major Threats
Pseudemys concinna is locally subject to exploitation for consumption.

Wanton destruction, including fire-arms target practice and road mortality, represents an additional source of unnatural mortality.
Nests and hatchlings may experience increased predation rates from elevated populations of human-subsidized predators such as raccoons, possums, foxes and crows.

Habitat impacts include dredging, impoundment, mining, industrial, agricultural and other pollution (and pollution-induced disease), and shading of nesting sites. Pollution and run-off additionally impact the aquatic vegetation that the species feeds on (see reviews by Jackson 2006, Ernst and Lovich 2009).
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Degree of Threat: Low

Comments: Decline in north probably is due to degradation and loss of habitat (Herkert 1992).

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions

Pseudemys concinna is subject to a variety of State legislation and regulations, and occurs in a substantial number of protected areas. One of the worst road-mortality locations for the subspecies floridana, road number US 27 at Lake Jackson, Leon County, FL, was mitigated by the Ecopassage funded by the 2009 Stimulus Act.

Existing protective legislation needs to be enforced and possibly strengthened and expanded, accompanied by public awareness efforts.
Safeguarding riverine habitat from degradation, pollution and other impacts is necessary. Methods to minimize nest and turtle predation by human-facilitated natural predators need further development and implementation where possible. Population monitoring is required to establish baselines and record population trends. (See reviews by Jackson 2006, Ernst and Lovich 2009).

NatureServe assessed the species as G5, or Least Concern, in 2001 (NatureServe 2006).

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Global Protection: Many to very many (13 to >40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Humans sometimes consume river cooters as food. They are also a useful biological control of water hyacinth (family Pontederiaceae) in some locations (Harding, personal communication).

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Wikipedia

River cooter

The river cooter (Pseudemys concinna) is a freshwater turtle native to the central and eastern United States, from Virginia south to mid-Georgia, west to eastern Texas, Oklahoma, and north to southern Indiana. They are usually found in rivers with moderate current, as well as lakes and tidal marshes.[2]

Contents

Name

The genus Pseudemys includes several species of cooters and red-bellied turtles. Pseudemys concinna is the species known as the River cooter. The name "cooter" may have come from an African word "kuta" which means "turtle" in the Bambara and Malinké languages, brought to America by African slaves.[3]

Behavior

River cooters enjoy basking on logs or sun-warmed rocks, and are frequently found in the company of other aquatic basking turtles (sliders and painteds) sometimes piled up on top of each other. All are quick to slip into the water if disturbed. Diurnal by nature, these turtles wake with the warming sun to bask and forage. They can move with surprising speed in the water and on land. It is not unusual for them to wander from one body of fresh water to another, but many seem to develop fairly large home ranges, which they seldom or never leave. They sleep in the water, hidden under vegetation. While those that live in areas that are quite warm remain active all winter, river cooters in cooler climes can become dormant during the winter for up to two months, in the mud, underwater. They do not breathe during this time of low metabolism, but can utilize oxygen from the water, which they take in through the cloaca. River cooters prefer to be well hidden under aquatic plants during the winter dormancy period or while sleeping each night.[4]

Diet

While the species is highly omnivorous, river cooters will eat anything, plant or animal, dead or alive. Diet seems to be determined by available food items. While some writers feel that these turtles will not eat meat, predatory behavior has been observed. Although this animal cannot swallow out of water, it will leave the water to retrieve a tasty bug or worm, returning to the water to swallow. Cooters will also enthusiastically chase, kill and eat small fish. They have also been observed eating carrion found along the river's edge. River cooters have tooth-like cusps in the upper jaw, probably an adaptation to aid in eating leaves and fibrous vegetation. Their primary diet would include a wide variety of aquatic plants, and some terrestrial plants that grow near the water's edge. They will happily take fallen fruits as well. In captivity, any kind of plant will be eaten, and some "meats", too. Turtles will also take calcium in a separate form, such as a cuttlebone, so that the turtle can self-regulate calcium intake.[4]

Longevity

River cooters are faced with loss of habitat, predation by animals, slaughter on the highways and use as a food source by some people. Hatchlings are particularly vulnerable. During their overland scramble to the river, many will be taken by avian and mammal predators. Alligators and muskrats await them in the water. Some will be taken and sold to pet stores. Populations are down in some areas, and there have been increasing reports of injured turtles, but this species as a whole is hardy, and continues to thrive. These turtles can live 40 years or more.[4]

Reproduction

River cooters mating habits are very similar to a red-eared slider. As with the other basking turtles, the males tend to be smaller than females. The male uses his long claws to flutter at the face of the much larger female. Often, the female ignores him. After detecting what may be a pheromone signal while sniffing at a female's tail, a male river cooter will court a female by swimming above her, vibrating his long nails and stroking her face. Females have also been observed doing this to initiate courtship. If the female is receptive, she will sink to the bottom of the river and allow the male to mount for mating.[4] If they do mate, after several weeks the female crawls upon land to seek a nesting site. They often cross highways looking for suitable nesting spots. Females will lay between 12 to 20 eggs at a time, close to water. The eggs hatch within 45 to 56 days and the hatchlings will usually stay with the nest through their first winter.

Mating takes place in early spring. Nesting usually occurs from May to June. The female chooses a site with sandy or loamy soil, within 100 ft (30 m) of the river's edge. She looks for a rather open area, with no major obstacles for the future hatchings to negotiate on their way to the river. The nest is dug with the hind feet. She lays 10–25 or more eggs in one or more clutches. Eggs are ellipsoidal, approximately 1.5 inches (4 cm) long. Incubation time is determined by temperature, but averages 90–100 days. Hatchlings generally emerge in August or September. There have been reported instances of late clutches over-wintering and hatching in the spring. A hatchling will have a round carapace, about 1.5 inches (4 cm) diameter, that is green with bright yellow markings.[4]

In the wild

In the wild they feed on aquatic plants, grasses, and algae. Younger ones tend to seek a more protein enriched diet such as aquatic invertebrates, crustaceans, and fish. Older turtles may occasionally seek prey as well, but mostly partake of a herbivorous diet.

These turtles can sometimes be found basking in the sun, but are very wary and will quickly retreat into the water if approached. Otherwise, they are difficult to find in the water, which may be due to their ability to breathe while fully submerged. As a result, little is known about their biology and behavior.

River cooters live in a wide variety of freshwater and even brackish locations. Rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes with heavy vegetation provide ideal habitat. Large webbed feet make the river cooter an excellent swimmer, capable of negotiating moderately strong river currents of major river systems. They will collect in large numbers on peninsular floodplains associated with a river oxbow.[4]

As pets

In captivity, cooters need an aquatic habitat, with a dry basking area. They need a warming light and UVB radiation (from reptile lights or direct sunshine). As juveniles, they can be kept in a 20- or 30-gallon long tank, but they will outgrow those accommodations, and need a very large tank or outdoor pond. Males cooters will grow smaller than the female cooters, same with any other turtle.

Conservation

In Indiana, the river cooter is listed as an endangered species.[5]

United States federal regulations on commercial distribution

A 1975 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation bans the sale (for general commercial and public use) of turtle eggs and turtles with a carapace length of less than 4 inches (100 mm). This regulation comes under the Public Health Service Act and is enforced by the FDA in cooperation with State and local health jurisdictions. The ban has been effective in the U.S. since 1975 because of the public health impact of turtle-associated Salmonella. Turtles and turtle eggs found to be offered for sale in violation of this provision are subject to destruction in accordance with FDA procedures. A fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year is the penalty for those who refuse to comply with a valid final demand for destruction of such turtles or their eggs.[6]

Many stores and flea markets still sell small turtles due to an exception in the FDA regulation which allows turtles under 4 inches (100 mm) to be sold "for bona fide scientific, educational, or exhibitional purposes, other than use as pets."[7]

As with many other animals and inanimate objects, the risk of Salmonella exposure can be reduced by following basic rules of cleanliness. Small children must be taught not to put the turtle in their mouth and to wash their hands immediately after they finish "playing" with the turtle, feeding it, or changing the water.

References

  1. ^ Fritz Uwe; Peter Havaš (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World". Vertebrate Zoology 57 (2): 192–194. Archived from the original on 2010-12-17. http://www.webcitation.org/5v20ztMND. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  2. ^ "River Cooter". eNature. http://www.enature.com/fieldguides/detail.asp?recNum=AR0141. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  3. ^ "Cooters". Merriam-Webster. http://mw4.m-w.com/dictionary/cooters. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "RIVER COOTER". Turtle Puddle. http://www.turtlepuddle.org/american/cooter.html. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
  5. ^ Indiana Legislative Services Agency (2011), "312 IAC 9-5-4: Endangered species of reptiles and amphibians", Indiana Administrative Code, http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/, retrieved 28 Apr 2012
  6. ^ [1] GCTTS FAQ: "4 Inch Law", actually an FDA regulation
  7. ^ [2] Turtles intrastate and interstate requirements; FDA Regulation, Sec. 1240.62, page 678 part d1.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Subspecies

Two currently recognized: Pseudemys concinna concinna (Eastern River Cooter) (synonyms: Pseudemys floridana concinna, Chrysemys concinna concinna); and Pseudemys concinna suwanniensis (Suwannee Cooter) (synonymy: Pseudemys floridana suwanniensis Carr 1937, Chrysemys concinna suwanniensis, Pseudemys suwanniensis).
  • Ward, J.P. and Jackson, D.R. 2008. Pseudemys concinna (Le Conte 1830) – river cooter. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., and Iverson, J.B. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 006.1-006.7, doi:10.3854/crm.5.006.concinna.v1.2008, http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt
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Comments: This species sometimes has been placed in the genus Chrysemys.

Based on a morphometric analysis, Seidel (1994) recommended that floridana be regarded as a subspecies of P. concinna, with nominal P. c. suwanniensis and P. f. peninsularis recognized as full species. Seidel (1994) concluded that, due to clinal variation, nominal subspecies hieroglyphica, metteri, and mobilensis are unworthy of taxonomic recognition. Jackson (1995) presented an alternative taxonomic evaluation and strongly recommended that suwanniensis and peninsularis be retained as populations or subspecies of the distinct species P. concinna and P. floridana, respectively. See Seidel (1995) for a rebuttal. Seidel and Dreslik (1996) followed the taxonomic arrangement of Seidel (1994) except that suwanniensis was treated as a subspecies of P. concinna. Crother et al. (2000, 2003) and Crother (2008) included floridana as a subspecies of P. concinna and recognized P. peninsularis and P. suwanniensis as distinct species. Jackson (2006) regarded suwanniensis and peninsularis as populations or subspecies of the distinct species P. concinna and P. floridana, respectively. Further study is needed to resolve these taxonomic discrepancies.

In the Atlantic drainages of the east-central United States, P. rubriventris is morphologically distinct from P. floridana and P. concinna, though in the southern part of its range P. rubriventris is somewhat morphologically convergent with floridana; this may reflect hybridization or convergent evolution (Seidel and Palmer 1991).

Pseudemys texana formerly was included in P. concinna (Ward 1984). Subspecies gorzugi, described by Ward (1984), was treated as a full species by Ernst (1990) and Seidel (1994).

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