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Chrysemys picta

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA TESTUDINES EMYDIDAE

Scientific Name: Chrysemys picta
Species Authority: (Schneider, 1783)
Common Name(s):
English Painted Turtle
Synonym(s):
Chrysemys dorsalis Agassiz, 1857
Chrysemys marginata Agassiz, 1857
Chrysemys treleasei Hurter, 1911
Emys bellii Gray, 1830
Emys oregoniensis Harlan, 1837
Testudo picta Schneider, 1783
Taxonomic Notes: Chrysemys picta is traditionally considered to include four subspecies: C. p. picta (Schneider, 1783), C. p. bellii (Gray, 1831), C. p. dorsalis Agassiz, 1857, and C. p. marginata Agassiz, 1857. Starkey et al. (2003) argued that dorsalis is genetically distinct enough to warrant elevation to full species status, a position tentatively supported by the Turtle Taxonomy Working Group (TTWG) (2010), while the remaining taxa (picta, belli and marginata) show limited genetic variability and great variability within populations, such that averages are statistically different, but individual animals from the core of a subspecies' range often cannot be reliably attributed to that subspecies morphologically. The status of belli and marginata (vs. picta) remains subject to further research. For the present assessment, however, we retain the traditional arrangement of picta, bellii, dorsalis and marginata as subspecies of picta.

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:
The Painted Turtle is one of the most widespread and abundant turtle species in the USA and Canada, and although there are some threats it is considered to be of Least Concern in terms of current extinction risk.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Chrysemys picta inhabits Canada, the continental United States and northern Chihuahua, Mexico, from British Columbia to Nova Scotia to southern Georgia and the upper Colorado River system of Utah and Arizona (Iverson 1992).
  • C. p. picta: occupies mainly the Atlantic lowlands east of the Appalachian Mountains, from Nova Scotia to northern Georgia.
  • C. p. bellii: western areas from the Pacific coast through the upper Missouri basin to southwestern Ontario, Wisconsin and Missouri, as well as in the Upper Colorado system. Populations attributed to bellii inhabit the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo del Norte as it flows into Mexico, as well as the endorrheic basin(s) west of Ciudad Juarez, northern Chihuahua (Iverson, 1992).
  • C. p. dorsalis: restricted to the lower Mississippi basin from extreme southern Illinois and southeastern Missouri through Tennessee, Kentucky (?), Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama to Louisiana and east Texas, USA (Iverson 1992, Starkey et al. 2003).
  • C. p. marginata: from southern Canada, New Hampshire and New York to Illinois and Tennessee, except the Atlantic coastal plain.
Countries:
Native:
Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Québec, Saskatchewan); Mexico (Chihuahua); United States (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California - Introduced, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming)
Introduced:
Germany; Indonesia; Philippines; Spain
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Canada: No specific population data are available.

United States: The species is widespread and generally common to abundant in suitable habitat. Usually this is the most abundant turtle in shallow vegetated wetlands, where they may comprise 62–76% of all turtle individuals, and reach densities between 100 and 590 animals per hectare (from review by Ernst and Lovich 2009).

Mexico: No specific population data are available.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Chrysemys picta inhabits a wide variety of permanent and temporary water bodies, from rivers to marshes and brackish situations, though its optimal habitat is characterized by shallow, densely vegetated waters with little or no flow. The species is an omnivorous generalist, consuming almost any kind of animal or vegetable matter available.

Males reach 15.3 cm carapace length (CL), females up to 25.4 cm, with extensive variation depending on subspecies and location. Maturity is reached at age 2–4 years (at latest six years) and about 8–10 cm CL in males, and at 6–10 years and 11–18 cm CL in females. Longevity can be up to 61 years. Generation time has not been clearly calculated but is probably somewhere around 20 years.

Females usually produce two clutches (range 1–5) of about 5–11 (range 1–23) eggs, but not all females reproduce each year, and great variability occurs among subspecies, populations and individuals. Incubation takes about 70 (62–80) days. Hatchlings measure about 26.6 (range 18–31) mm.

[Information taken from review by Ernst and Lovich 2009].
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Painted Turtles are widely traded as pets and as experimental animals; the species has minimal consumption trade value. Part of the pet trade supply of hatchlings probably originates from commercial turtle farms in Louisiana; Chrysemys picta was one of the species mass-produced for the export pet trade after the European Union (EU) banned the import of Trachemys scripta elegans.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Individuals and populations are impacted by habitat loss, road mortality, increased predation by subsidized predators (i.e., unnaturally large populations of predators subsidized by easily available resources near human settlements), intolerable levels of pollution, and capture for personal possession and trade. However, all four subspecies appear secure in their survival prospects.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Chrysemys picta is subject to a variety of state legislation and regulations. The species occurs in a large number of protected areas across its range.

Citation: Van Dijk, P.P. 2013. Chrysemys picta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 August 2014.
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