Reptoman

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   Jan 15

Common Map Turtles


The aberrant carapacial scalation of this wild hatchling common map turtle was probably caused by overly warm incubation temperatures.
Common map turtles, Graptemys geographica. First we saw one. A few moments later it was joined by 2 others, and 5 minutes later there were at least a dozen of these pretty turtles on the large snag we were watching from the car. Knowing how “skittery” this (and other map turtle species) can be, we sat quietly in the car. But there came a moment when we had to position the cameras and as we extended the telephoto lenses from the window of the car, as one the turtles scrambled, dove, and disappeared. Well, we’d try again later, next time from a greater distance.

And so we did. Two times more, in fact, before succeeding. But seeing the many turtles alive, well, and very alert was worth our efforts.

At 10. ½ inches, big-headed adult females of G. geographica, are about twice the size of the 5 inch males. In the western Ohio canal we were now checking, the females seemed to greatly outnumber the males. Here, as in other silted waters, the carapacial pattern tends to be muted by accumulations of water-borne debris. Population and parasite research of the map turtles on the preserve continues.
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