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Southern Map Turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis)

Southern Map Turtle photo.
Photo © A.B. Sheldon
  • Family: Emydidae (Box and water turtles)
  • Status: Common
  • Size: carapace: fem. 5.5 to 10 in., m. 3.5 to 6.25 in.

range map

Species range

The southern map turtle has a dark olive green carapace with a strong dorsal (midline) keel, and a strongly serrated back edge. The center ridge of the midline dorsal scutes is black and elevated toward the back. Each carapace scute usually has a dark blotch toward the posterior edge that is outlined by a thin, faint yellow line. These lines often interconnect with other lines creating a map-like pattern on the shell. The head has a large yellowish crescent or blotch behind the eyes and a distinct yellow spot under the eye on the lower jaw. The highly patterned plastron of a hatchling has greenish-gray lines on a pale yellow background, but this fades to a non-descript blotchy bottom with age. Southern map turtles are strictly a large river species. They prefer moderate to fast current. Their diet consists of insects, worms, crayfish, snails, naiads, small fish, and aquatic plants.


Southern Map Turtle  Photo

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.

Last revised: Tuesday, December 22, 2020