Graptemys geographica 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Testudines Emydidae

Scientific Name: Graptemys geographica (LeSueur, 1817)
Common Name(s):
English Northern Map Turtle, Common Map Turtle
Emys lesueurii Gray, 1830
Emys megacephala Holbrook, 1836
Testudo geographica LeSueur, 1817
Taxonomic Notes: This species is taxonomically uncontroversial and stable.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
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
While specific populations of Graptemys geographica have been impacted by habitat degradation and loss, exploitation or direct human-related mortality, currently the species is widespread, reasonably adaptable, and its mobility and reproductive potential appears sufficient to recover relatively rapidly (by turtle standards) from local population depletions. Thus, the species appears stable and secure in its conservation outlook for the foreseeable future, warranting Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Graptemys geographica inhabits the Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio-Tennessee system, the Great Lakes system, and the Susquehanna, Delaware and Hudson systems. A record from eastern Massachusetts needs confirmation (Iverson 1992). There are three known localities in Oklahoma, two recent and the other historic (in a river reach that is now a reservoir) (Lindeman pers. comm. 2010).

Countries occurrence:
Canada (Ontario, Québec); United States (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia - Introduced, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Graptemys geographica widely occurs in suitable habitat in most surveyed sites within its range (Lindeman, RL WS Aug 2009). In suitable habitat, the species can be abundant, representing a third to half of all turtles observed or trapped (review by Ernst and Lovich 2009). Overall, Graptemys geographica was considered the second commonest Graptemys by Lindeman (pers. comm 6 Aug 2009) based on extensive basking surveys.

Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Graptemys geographica is a species of medium to large open water with emerging snags and other basking opportunities, and with abundant molluscs. In the northern part of its range it is mainly a lake species, whereas in its more southern distribution area it seems mostly associated with rocky- or stony-bottomed rivers with deep water sections. The species feeds predominantly on molluscs, as well as some other aquatic invertebrates.

Males reach 16 cm carapace length (CL); females 27 cm CL. Maturity is reached after 12 or more years (19 cm CL) in females; age and size at maturity in males is apparently unreported. Longevity may exceed 20 years. Generation time has not been calculated.

Females usually produce two clutches of 9–17 eggs. Incubation time is difficult to determine as most hatchlings overwinter in the nest and only emerge about 11 months after nesting. Hatchlings measure about 30 (range 25–33) mm (see review in Ernst and Lovich 2009).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Generation Length (years):15-20,18

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Graptemys geographica has featured in the consumption and pet trade at modest volumes.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Ernst and Lovich (2009) report threats to populations of Graptemys geographica as including:
  • Degradation and destruction of its riverine habitat, directly through waterfront development and hydro-infrastructure, and indirectly through pollution and sedimentation impacting or eliminating its molluscan food supplies, and snag and logjam removal to facilitate navigation.
  • Vehicle mortality, particularly of females during the nesting season, as well as propeller strike of animals.
  • Direct exploitation for consumption and pet trade.
  • Bycatch in commercial riverine fisheries.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Graptemys geographica is included in CITES Appendix III (United States) since 14 June 2006, and is protected in most States under legislation or regulation. It occurs in a variety of protected areas.

Safeguarding adequate areas of suitable habitat, carrying out further research on its conservation biology, and monitoring representative populations and overall trade levels, are the main conservation measures needed.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: An errata assessment is required to generate a revised PDF without the range map which had been included in error; no range map was available when this assessment was originally published.

Citation: van Dijk, P.P. 2011. Graptemys geographica (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T165598A97418743. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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