Graptemys ouachitensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Testudines Emydidae

Scientific Name: Graptemys ouachitensis Cagle, 1953
Common Name(s):
English Ouachita Map Turtle
Graptemys pseudogeographica ssp. ouachitensis Cagle, 1953
Graptemys pseudogeographica ssp. 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: 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 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.
Previously published Red List assessments:

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 occurrence:
United States (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wisconsin)
Additional data:
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.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

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.

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.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.2. Invasive/problematic species control
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.2. Trade management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.3. Harvest & Trade Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

Bibliography [top]

Ernst, C.H. and Lovich, J.E. 2009. Turtles of the United States and Canada. Second edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2017).

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

Vogt, R.C. 1993. Systematics of the false map turtles (Graptemys pseudogeographica complex: Reptilia, Testudines, Emydidae). Annals of the Carnegie Museum 62: 1-46.

Citation: van Dijk, P.P. 2011. Graptemys ouachitensis (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T165599A97423209. . Downloaded on 21 June 2018.
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