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Pseudemys peninsularis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA TESTUDINES EMYDIDAE

Scientific Name: Pseudemys peninsularis
Species Authority: Carr, 1938
Common Name(s):
English Peninsula Cooter
Synonym(s):
Pseudemys floridana subspecies peninsularis Carr, 1938b
Taxonomic Notes: The status of the taxon Pseudemys peninsularis remains subject to different interpretations as a full separate species (TTWG 2010; following Seidel 1994, 1995) or a subspecies of P. floridana (Jackson 2006, Thomas and Jansen 2006, Fritz and Havas 2007), depending on the assignment of the taxon floridana as a full species or a subspecies of concinna; peninsularis is universally agreed to be a species distinct from concinna; the last word on determining the valid species name is yet to be spoken.

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:
Pseudemys peninsularis is widespread in peninsular Florida and generally common in suitable habitat including a variety of protected areas. Localized indications of decline have not combined into an overall pattern of persistent decline, and while monitoring of population trends is warranted, the species does not appear to approach qualifying for the threatened categories. It is therefore assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Pseudemys peninsularis occurs through most of peninsular Florida; the precise northern limits of occurrence are unclear given the historically complicated taxonomy and identification of individuals and the wide zone of apparent intergradation with floridana from Ocala to Tallahassee (Thomas and Jansen 2006, Ernst and Lovich 2009).

Countries:
Native:
United States (Florida)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:

Within its limited range, P. peninsularis is generally abundant where it occurs. Densities of 44-48 individuals per hectare have been reported for different rivers (Kramer 1995, Giovanetto 1992, in Thomas and Jansen 2006). Densities and proportional abundance compared to syntopic P. concinna suwanniensis and P. nelsoni changed over time in Rainbow Run since the first study in 1942, with the species retaining similar proportions within the Pseudemys numbers, but becoming proportionally less common overall (which may reflect increased aboundance of Sternotherus minor) (Huestis and Meylan 2004).   

Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Pseudemys peninsularis inhabits nearly any freshwater body within its range that provides soft sandy bottom, abundant basking sites and extensive submerged vegetation, occurring in streams, rivers, canals, lakes, springs and ponds. It occasionally enters brackish water (Ernst and Lovich 2009)

Pseudemys peninsularis is apparently exclusively vegetarian, feeding on a wide variety of submerged aquatic plants, as well as some floating and marginal plant species (reviews by Thomas and Jansen 2006, Ernst and Lovich 2009).

Females reach up to 40.3 cm carapace length (CL), while males do not exceed 35 cm CL. Males reach maturity at three to six years at 12–15 cm CL, while females mature at age 5–15 years and 24–30 cm CL. Mature females produce at least two, possibly up to six, clutches of on average 15 (range 6–29) eggs annually. Hatchlings measure 19–36 mm CL and 7–10 g (Thomas and Jansen 2006, Ernst and Lovich 2009). Longevity and generation time have not been documented.

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is collected for consumption by humans and as pets.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Threats reported for Pseudemys peninsularis include habitat destruction and pollution; alteration of aquatic vegetation abundance and structure by intensive grazing by introduced Asian Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) as well as direct competition for the aquatic plant resource; degradation of water-edge habitat, including loss of optimal nesting sites; collection of animals for consumption by humans and as pets; direct mortality from boat propeller strikes and road mortality when crossing roads; and wanton mortality from shooting, and killing by fishermen as perceived competitors (reviews by Thomas and Jansen 2006, Ernst and Lovich 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Pseudemys peninsularis is protected from commercial exploitation in Florida, and substantial populations occur in several protected areas. Safeguarding ecosystem integrity in the face of invasive species and human habitat alteration appear primary requirements, while continuing the current long-term population monitoring program at Rainbow Run and expanding turtle monitoring to other locations would be welcome. Extensive recommendations for conservation were provided by Thomas and Jansen (2006).


Citation: van Dijk, P.P. 2013. Pseudemys peninsularis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 September 2014.
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