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Graptemys ouachitensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA TESTUDINES EMYDIDAE

Scientific Name: Graptemys ouachitensis
Species Authority: Cagle, 1953
Common Name(s):
English Ouachita Map Turtle
Synonym(s):
Graptemys pseudogeographica subspecies ouachitensis Cagle, 1953
Graptemys pseudogeographica subspecies sabinensis Cagle, 1953
Taxonomic Notes: As a swarm of superficially similar taxa with largely overlapping distributions, the taxonomy and distribution of the pseudogeographica and ouachitensis groups have a long and intertwined history, of which the extensive revision by Vogt (1993) is the most recent and is followed for the Red List assessments. For current purposes, Graptemys ouachitensis contains two subspecies: G. o. ouachitensis Cagle, 1953 and G. o. sabinensis Cagle, 1953.

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 specific populations of Graptemys ouachitensis may have been impacted by habitat effects, exploitation or direct human-related mortality, the species is widespread and its mobility and reproductive potential appears sufficient to recover relatively rapidly (by turtle standards) from local population impacts. Thus, the species appears stable and secure in its conservation outlook for the foreseeable future, warranting Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs in the Mississippi basin from Minnesota, Kansas and West Virginia to Louisiana, and Sabine river of Texas-Louisiana.
  • G. o. ouachitensis: Mississippi basin from Minnesota, Kansas and West Virginia to Louisiana
  • G. o. sabinensis: Mermentau and Calcasieu drainages of Louisiana, and the Sabine River system of Texas-Louisiana
(Vogt 1993, Lindeman, pers. comm).
Countries:
Native:
United States (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wisconsin)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Various population data (summarized by Ernst and Lovich 2009) indicate that G. ouachitensis is not abundant in most situations, but can be locally common, such as representing 15% of all turtles trapped in Lake Texoma (OK) and 10–27% of basking turtles observed during spotting scope studies. Graptemys ouachitensis was considered the overall most common Graptemys species by Lindeman (pers. comm 6 Aug 2009) based on extensive basking surveys.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Graptemys ouachitensis is primarily a riverine turtle, inhabiting rivers with swift currents and submerged vegetation, but also utilizes lakes, oxbows and floodplain swamps; sand and silt bottoms are preferred over mud, or rock and gravel. Ouachita Map Turtles are generalist omnivores, feeding on a wide variety of small animal prey, carrion, and plant parts.

Males reach 14 cm carapace length (CL); females 24 cm CL. Maturity is reached at 2–3 years in males, and at 6–7 years in females; size at maturity is apparently unknown. Longevity exceeds 15 years. Generation time has not been calculated. Females may produce two or three clutch of about 10 (6–15) eggs. Incubation takes 60–82 days. Hatchlings measure 27–35 mm.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Graptemys ouachitensis continues to feature in the pet trade at modest numbers.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No specific threats to Graptemys ouachitensis have been reported, though it can be surmised that at least populations have been impacted by riverfront developments, fisheries bycatch, water pollution and possibly subsidized predators (i.e., unnaturally large populations of predators subsidized by easily available resources near human settlements).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Graptemys ouachitensis is included in CITES Appendix III (United States) since 14 June 2006, meaning its export quantities are monitored.

The Ouachita Map Turtle occurs in several protected areas; see Lindeman's book on Map Turtles (in press) for details of locations and sizes of protected areas where the species occurs.

Research of the species conservation biology, conservation status, and possible conservation actions are desirable, as are minimizing fisheries bycatch through gear modification. Biological and status data are particularly needed for the subspecies sabinensis.

Citation: van Dijk, P.P. 2013. Graptemys ouachitensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 17 September 2014.
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