Brief SummaryRead full entry
SummaryThe Escambia Map Turtle, Graptemys ernsti (Family Emydidae) is a large freshwater species endemic to rivers of the Pensacola (Escambia) and Choctawhatchee Bay drainages of southeastern Alabama and western Florida, USA. It was previously recognized as part of the composite species Graptemys pulchra (see Lovich and McCoy 1992). Sexual dimorphism is pronounced, with adult females (carapace length [CL] to 285 mm) attaining more than twice the size of adult males (CL to 131 mm). Although the species is locally abundant, populations are threatened by habitat destruction coupled with declines in their prey base, commercial collecting, and vandalism. The current IUCN Red List status is Near Threatened, assessed as of 2010. With the recent discovery of a population in the Choctawhatchee River, genetic and morphological studies are needed to examine possible variation. Additionally, the presence of G. barbouri within the Choctawhatchee River presents a unique opportunity to study the ecological relations of sympatric megacephalic Graptemys.