Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Eastern Mud Turtle

As turtles go, the Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum) is not one of the more attractive species. At the Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest, we have seen the Eastern Mud Turtle from "cradle to grave."

The Eastern Mud Turtle's name is derived from the Greek words "kineo" (move) and "sternon" (chest), which referst to the animals hinged plastron (lower portion of its shell). The Latin words "sub" (below) and "ruber" (red) refers to the red pattern evident on hatchlings and in the images to the right. We think this is the stage of their lives that the mud turtles look their best.

Throughout their lives, Eastern Mud Turtles search within their aquatic environment for a variety of aquatic organisms and plants. Along the way, organisms like the leech in the image dine upon the turtles. As with many reptiles, Eastern Mud Turtles have a relatively long lifespan of up to 40 years. In the end, however, something always gets them (and us). The final image shows a dead Eastern Mud Turtle (CSI and the coroner have not released a cause of death) on its back providing a site for the American Carrion Beetles (Necrophila americana) to lay their eggs and perpetuate their species.

Images (hatchling) by SCBrian

Images (adult) by Mark Musselman


William said...

This is more of a question than a comment. I have a pet Mud Turtle. Pretty sure it's the Eastern, but maybe Mississippi. Anyway, is it common for them to have blue shading around their eyes?

Tori said...

I have an Eastern Mud turtle and it looks like the turtle at the top in the pic, but i have had mine for almost a year and she hasnt grown at all. when i got her she was the size of a penny and now she still is. thats why i named her Penny. So im just saying that they dont all gt very big.

Unknown said...

Yup!! I've already had mine for 21 years & he is still kicking!!!