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Pseudemys concinna

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA TESTUDINES EMYDIDAE

Scientific Name: Pseudemys concinna
Species Authority: (LeConte, 1830)
Common Name(s):
English Suwannee Cooter
Synonym(s):
Emys hieroglyphica Holbrook, 1836
Emys mobilensis Holbrook, 1838
Pseudemys concinna subspecies metteri Ward, 1984
Pseudemys floridana subspecies suwanniensis Carr, 1937
Pseudemys suwanniensis Carr, 1937
Ptychemys hoyi Agassiz, 1857
Testudo concinna LeConte, 1830
Testudo floridana LeConte, 1830
Taxonomic Notes:

Recognition and attribution of subspecies varies by taxonomic author; the Red List accounts follow the taxonomy of the Turtle Taxonomy Working Group (TTWG) (2010). Pseudemys concinna is thus treated to have three subspecies: P. c. concinna (LeConte, 1829), P. c. floridana (LeConte, 1829), and P. c. suwanniensis Carr, 1937. (Note: the taxa concinna and floridana are in broad sympatry in the southeastern lowlands).

The former subspecies texana Baur, 1893, peninsularis Carr, 1938, and gorzugi Ward, 1984, are now recognised as full species and are assessed separately. Fritz and Havas (2007) consider floridana a full species (including subspecies peninsularis Carr, 1938), while Ernst and Lovich (2009) follow Seidel (1994) and consider floridana a subspecies of concinna but recognize both peninsularis and suwanniensis as full species. Former subspecies hieroglyphica Holbrook, 1836, mobilensis Holbrook, 1838, hoyi Agassiz, 1857, and metteri Ward, 1984, have not been recognised since Seidel’s 1994 revision.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-08-01
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
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.

Geographic Range [top]

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.

Countries:
Native:
United States (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

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

Habitat and Ecology [top]

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

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Pseudemys concinna is locally exploited for subsistence consumption. Modest numbers are traded as pets.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): 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).

Conservation Actions [top]

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).


Citation: van Dijk, P.P. 2013. Pseudemys concinna. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 October 2014.
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