Northern Map Turtle

northern map turtle, credit: Joe Crowley

reptile_iconSpecial Concern Provincially

Description

• Yellow, tan or orange lines on upper shell or carapace resemble contour lines on a map and are surrounded by dark borders
• Rest of the carapace olive green or greyish brown
• Lower shell or plastron light yellow to cream colour; yellow spot behind the eyes; both legs have intricate pattern of bright yellow lines
• Female eats molluscs; male and young eat mainly insects and crayfish
• Inhabits rivers and lakeshores where it basks on exposed rocks and fallen trees

Range

• Found as far north as Algoma, Sudbury and Nipissing Districts
• Live primarily in large lakes and rivers with most observations from the shores of Georgian Bay, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the many lakes in Frontenac County, and along larger rivers including the St. Lawrence, Thames, Grand and Ottawa

Threats

• Habitat loss and degradation
• Pollution
• Invasive species (zebra mussels)
• Road mortality
• Boat propeller strikes
• Wildlife trade

Protection

• Not protected under the Endangered Species Act, 2007

Fact

Sizes and trends of northern map turtle populations are poorly understood. The species late maturation makes it vulnerable to a chronic increase in adult mortality rates.

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