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The size of this area is 474 m for males and 750 m for young females. Populations appear to be declining in much of the state. The Smooth Softshell Turtle. The common musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) is an aquatic turtle found in mud- ... Illinois has two turtle species not restricted to aquatic habitats and often encountered on land: the eastern box turtle (Ter - Spatial ecological information is necessary to guide the conservation efforts of river turtles, but it is lacking for many species including the smooth softshell turtle (Apalone mutica). Turtle Ornate Box Turtle Smooth Softshell Spiny Softshell Red-eared Slider Year Round None 3 3 Any Method None None North The carapaces of the females grow up to 14 inches in length. The Smooth Softshell's distribution in Indiana follows major rivers, including the Wabash, Ohio, and Blue. Natur., Paris. Smooth Softshell Turtle. Ecology and Conservation If you don’t know what the species is, click on the text to work through the key. There are two types of soft-shelled turtle in Illinois. Midland Smooth Softshell Turtle... Apalone spinifera Eastern spiny softshell turtle... Caretta caretta Loggerhead... Chelonia mydas Green turtle... Chelydra serpentina ... Illinois (23) North Carolina (23) South Carolina (23) Virginia (23) Arkansas (21) Tennessee (21) Maryland (20) INHS Herpetology Collection Natural History: Males and juveniles congregate in sandy shallows to bury in the substrate and bask along exposed banks. The Kaskaskia River supports a diverse turtle community, with the spiny softshell and Ouachita map turtle as the main competitors of the smooth softshell. Keep your eyes open the next time you're near the Mississippi or Wisconsin rivers. It particularly likes rivers with sandy bottoms where you might find it eating fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. Type Locality: “Newharmony, sur le Wabash” [=New Harmony, Wabash River, Posey County, IN], Original Name: Trionyx muticus Le Sueur, 1827. Despite their preference for riverine systems, smooth softshell turtles have also been found in lakes, bogs, ponds, and drainage ditches. Only the Eastern Spiny Softshell, A. s. spinifera is found in Illinois. It is considered an endangered species in the state of Illinois. They love to bury in sand with just their head exposed waiting to surprise a fish. It gives the animal a pancakelike appearance. Common Musk Turtle (Stinkpot) Sternotherus odoratus. It is most abundant in the latter. As a result, they are more aggressive than many turtle … smooth softshell (Apalone mutica) and spiny softshell (Apalone spinifera). 5 specimens, MNHN 564, 4143, 7977, 8813, and 8814. Taxonomy. We weren’t sure if the turtle had swallowed the hook or … Furthermore, the transverse ridges inside the nostrils are not present in the Smooth Softshell. Within river systems, smooth softshell turtles had highest populations in the open side channels and main channels of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers in southern Illinois. Check out the IDNR’s Wild About Illinois Turtles! Mississippi Map Turtle Graptemys pseudogeographica kohnii. Unusual in lakes. They inhabit the Mississippi, Colorado, Sabine and Pearl, Alabama, Brazos, and Escambia river drainage systems. Chinese softshell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) on white. Relationships among members of Trionychidae, and taxonomy within the clade, are still poorly understood (e.g., Meylan, 1987; Engstrom et al., 2004). It is most abundant in the latter. Smooth softshell turtles may be easily confused with the spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera), as the differences between the two species are subtle. Spatial ecological information is necessary to guide the conservation efforts of river turtles, but it is lacking for many species including the smooth softshell turtle (Apalone mutica). Status: Endangered. They love to bury in sand with just their head exposed waiting to surprise a fish. The Midland Smooth Softshell (Apalone mutica mutica) is the only subspecies that occurs in Indiana. Illinois Mud Turtle Kinosternon flavescens spooneri. conservation efforts for the Smooth Softshell Turtle. The plastron is light (white or gray) with no markings, and the underlying bones are visible. All rights reserved. I live in Illinois and the Eastern Spiny Softshell and the Smooth Softshell are both native and very abundant here. Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science (2018) Volume 111, pp. Smooth Softshell Apalone mutica Spiny Softshell Apalone spinifera Illinois Natural History Survey 1816 … in males (Conant and Collins 1991). It is especially suited for insect hunting. Key Characters: Anterior edge of carapace lacking spines or tubercles; snout with rounded tip; nostrils lacking horizontal septal projections. Original Description: Le Sueur, C.A. 22 mm diameter) in sand banks or bars from late May into July. Similar Species: Spiny Softshell. Smooth Softshell Turtle. Ornate Box Turtle Terrapene ornata ornata The other, the smooth softshell turtle, is a threatened species in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Plastron white to cream. They're excellent swimmers and do well in mostly water tanks, with plants and other under water objects. Spatial ecological information is lacking for many river turtles including the Smooth Softshell Turtle (Apalone mutica), a species inhabiting the Midwestern United States. Unlike its common relative, the smooth softshell is Illinois state endangered. As the name suggests, the Smooth Softshell Turtle’s carapace does not have any bumps, ridges, or spines - they are flat and leathery with flexible edges. 2001). 8813 designated lectotype by Webb (1962. Hist. In 2015, of the state's 17 turtle species, six (the alligator snapping turtle, the spotted turtle, Blanding's turtle, the eastern river cooter, the yellow mud turtle and the smooth softshell turtle) are state endangered and one (the ornate box turtle) is state threatened. The largest Illinois specimen on record weighed about 160 pounds. Smooth softshell turtle’s habitat. Midland Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta marginata. Distribution Notes: Although restricted to rivers with sandy bottoms and frequent sandbars, the Smooth Softshell is absent from the apparently suitable rivers of Kankakee and Iroquois counties. Spatial ecological information is necessary to guide the conservation efforts of river turtles, but it is lacking for many species including the smooth softshell turtle (Apalone mutica). That species is one of six that are classified as “state-endangered,” joining the river cooter, smooth softshell, Illinois mud turtle, Blanding’s turtle, and spotted turtle. Museum of Natural History. For permissions information, contact the Illinois Natural History Survey. 13 (10): 429-611). Lawrence. These turtles are members of the family Trionychidae, which has a total of two representatives in Indiana. St. H. Mem. Compared to other turtle species, the smooth softshell turtles are large. We thank our field technicians Travis Rus-sell, Lisa LaBudde, and Cassandra Henry for all their help. Check out the IDNR’s Wild About Illinois Turtles! 15. It takes only seconds for this turtle to completely bury itself in the sand, lying just deep enough for its long, pointed snout to reach the surface for air, like a snorkel. Smooth Softshells make very good community turtles. Jason Ross (INHS), Robert Bluett (IDNR), and Michael J. Dreslik (INHS) Jason Ross radio-tracking a Smooth Softshell Turtle in the Kaskaskia River near Fayetteville, Illinois. As the name suggests, the Smooth Softshell Turtle’s carapace does not have any bumps, ridges, or spines - they are flat and leathery with flexible edges. Subspecies: Five subspecies are currently recognized in the United States. Jeremy Gets To Grips With a Bone Crushing Softshell Turtle | TURTLE | River Monsters - Duration: 2:11. The Smooth Softshell inhabits larger rivers and prefers to bask, nest, and conceal itself in sandy areas, like emergent sand bars. Smooth Softshell Turtle Description. Occurrences suggest the Smooth Softshell's distribution in Illinois is the same as or substantially similar to historical times. The diet includes a variety of animal foods but especially aquatic insects. Natural Resources Building Content from Illinois Public Media on Softshell Turtle. The smooth softshell turtle has a smooth, flexible and leather like carapace that is covered by skin instead of the hard scutes commonly observed in other turtle species. Midland Smooth Softshell Apalone mutica mutica. The Prairie Research … They quickly settle in and will swim about their tanks as much as fish. Housing the Softshell Turtle . Champaign, IL 61820. Smooth softshell turtle care. Apalone mutica, the smooth softshell turtle, is a member of Trionychidae within Cryptodira.There are four extant species of Apalone (Ernst and Barbour, 1989; Bonin et al., 2006). It is very easy to recognize these turtles from the smooth appearance of their carapaces. Mus. Description: Medium-sized (up to 28 cm CL) turtle with tan, brown, or olive carapace with light posterior border. Only the latter is found in Illinois. Subspecies: Two subspecies are currently recognized, Gulf Coast Smooth Softshell, A. m. calvata (Webb, 1959) and Midland Smooth Softshell, A. m. mutica. The Smooth Softshell Turtle (Apalone mutica) inhabits sandy rivers throughout the Midwest United States. Male smooth softshell turtles have thicker tails than females, a trait commonly observed in turtle species. The spiny softshell turtle occurs throughout the state in lakes, sloughs, mud-bottomed streams, and sand-bottomed rivers. The largest Illinois turtle is the alligator snapping turtle, Macrochelys temminckii. It is very easy to recognize these turtles from the smooth appearance of their carapaces. © 2018–2020 University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Unlike most turtles, the smooth softshell turtle has a smooth, leatherlike, flexible carapace and a long, tubular snout. Spatial ecological information is lacking for many river turtles including the Smooth Softshell Turtle (Apalone mutica), a species inhabiting the Midwestern United States. In Asia, turtle is considered a delicacy. River Monsters™ 355,275 views Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox) is a species of softshell turtle found primarily in the state of Florida, but it also ranges to southern sections of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas. Nomenclatural History: Also referred to as Amyda mutica in older literature. Of Illinois’ 60 species of reptiles, perhaps the most highly adapted for an aquatic existence are the state’s two species of softshell turtles—smooth and spiny. The shell lacks any distinct bumps or coloration. The smooth softshell turtle can be found along the Mississippi River drainage system from Louisiana up north to North Dakota as well as other river … The spiny softshell is one of the most common turtle species in the Illinois River along with the red-eared slider. 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