Graptemys ernsti 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Testudines Emydidae

Scientific Name: Graptemys ernsti Lovich & McCoy, 1992
Common Name(s):
English Escambia Map Turtle
Taxonomic Notes: Graptemys ernsti was described in 1992; before that, it was considered to represent the easternmost populations of G. pulchra.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened 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

Graptemys ernsti has a restricted range in three small river systems, and is under some decline and further threat from habitat degradation, but numbers of animals seen during basking surveys are pretty good. It doesn't quite meet the criteria thresholds for a threatened category, but warrants retention in the Near Threatened category.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Graptemys ernsti is restricted to parts of the Escambia, Yellow, and Shoal rivers and their tributaries in western Florida and adjoining Alabama (Lovich and McCoy 1992, Aresco and Shealy 2006).

Countries occurrence:
United States (Alabama, Florida)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Graptemys ernsti was considered the seventh rarest/commonest Graptemys by Lindeman (pers. comm 6 Aug 2009) based on extensive basking surveys. Numbers of animals seen during basking surveys are pretty good compared to the ecologically equivalent G. gibbonsi, ranging from 5–17.5 or higher numbers of animals per km of river, and is apparently the most abundant turtle of the Escambia and Yellow Rivers. (Aresco and Shealy 2006).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Graptemys ernsti inhabits the main channels of medium-sized to large rivers and creeks, specifically areas with an abundance of freshwater mussels and snags for basking. The species does not or barely occur in estuarine, backwater or floodplain swamp habitats. Females nest on large, relatively open sandbars of fine sand.

Males and juveniles feed mainly on insects, while adult females feed almost exclusively on gastropod and bivalve molluscs, with the introduced Asian clam Corbicula being the females’ primary prey (Aresco and Shealy 2006).

Females mature at an age of at least 14 (more likely 19) years, 21.2 cm carapace length (CL), and can reach a maximum size of 28.5 cm CL by age 23 years. Males mature at about 3–4 years of age, at or over 80 mm CL, and can attain maximum size of about 13 cm CL by age of eight years. Females nest from May through July and produce an average of four (range 1–6) clutches per female per year, each clutch comprising an average of seven (range 6–13) eggs (Lindeman 1999, Aresco and Shealy 2006).

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Graptemys ernsti is included in CITES Appendix III (United States). It is in some demand in the global pet trade and persistent collection could impact the species significantly.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Nest predation is variable by location and time but may exceed 95%, mainly from raccoons and fish crows; while these are native species, their populations tend to be increased by human facilitation.

Nest and hatchling mortality has been recorded resulting from recreational vehicle use on riverine sandbanks (Aresco and Shealy 2006).

Water quality in the Conecuh and Escambia rivers is at potential risk from catastrophic mishaps at upstream industrial facilities, including a paper mill, a waste water treatment facility and a manufacturing facility, potentially affecting the turtles’ filter-feeding prey and the turtles themselves (Aresco and Shealy 2006).

Potential threats on the future horizon include salvage logging of submerged tree trunks, snag removal for boating purposes, and proposed impoundments and associated water flow changes and sediment loading (Aresco and Shealy 2006).

Graptemys ernsti is in some demand in the global pet trade and persistent collection could impact the species significantly.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Graptemys ernsti previously was assessed by IUCN (in 1996) as LR/nt under the version 2.3 criteria; as G2 (Imperiled) at both global and State level by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory; and as ‘Rare’ by the FCREPA based on its occurrence in just a single drainage basin.

Graptemys ernsti is prohibited from most forms of commercial exploitation in Alabama and Florida; Florida allows take of up to two individuals for personal use.

Graptemys ernsti is included in CITES Appendix III (United States) since 14 June 2006. Aresco and Shealy (2006) recommended further regulation of personal take in Florida, outlawing basking traps, regulating all-terrain vehicle (ATV) access to riverside areas, and called for collection of baseline data on turtle populations for long-term monitoring, monitoring of water quality parameters, development of pollution spill contingency plans, and due consideration of turtles and ecological values when considering hydrological infrastructure developments.

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 ernsti (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T9500A97418010. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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