Chrysemys picta - (Schneider, 1783)
Northern Painted Turtle
Other English Common Names: Painted Turtle, northern painted turtle
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Chrysemys picta (Schneider, 1783) (TSN 173783)
French Common Names: tortue peinte
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.637723
Element Code: ARAAD01010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Turtles
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Chelonia Cryptodeira Emydidae Chrysemys
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Starkey, D. E., H. B. Shaffer, R. L. Burke, M.R.J. Forstner, J. B. Iverson, F. J. Janzen, A.G.J. Rhodin, and G. R. Ultsch. 2003. Molecular systematics, phylogeography, and the effects of Pleistocene glaciation in the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) complex. Evolution 57:119-128.
Concept Reference Code: A03STA01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Chrysemys picta
Taxonomic Comments: Patterns of morphological variation (Ultsch et al. 2001) cast doubt on the validity of current subspecific designations. Patterns of mtDNA variation suggest that recognizing Chrysemys picta dorsalis (southern painted turtle) as an evolutionary species (C. dorsalis) distinct from C. picta may be justified (Starkey et al. 2003); data for other subspecies did not support status as distinct species. Starkey et al. (2003) proposed that the two species be recognized as monotypic (no subspecies), but conceded that the merits of recognizing subspecies are debatable. Starkey et al. (2003) stated that their conclusions on species boundaries must be regarded as tentative because they lacked evidence from nuclear genes. Studies currently underway by these authors should shed additional light on the phylogeography and taxonomy of the C. picta complex. Crother et al. (2008) recognize C. dorsalis as a species and retain subspecies under C. picta.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 02Feb2016
Global Status Last Changed: 21Oct1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Oct1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (02Feb2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (S5), Arizona (S1), Arkansas (S3), Colorado (S5), Connecticut (S5), Delaware (S5), District of Columbia (S5), Georgia (S5), Idaho (S4), Illinois (SNR), Indiana (SNR), Iowa (S5), Kansas (S5), Kentucky (S5), Maine (S5), Maryland (S5), Massachusetts (S5), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (S5), Missouri (SNR), Montana (S4), Navajo Nation (SNA), Nebraska (S5), Nevada (SNA), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (SNR), New Mexico (S4), New York (S5), North Carolina (S5), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (S2), Oregon (S2), Pennsylvania (SNR), Rhode Island (S5), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (S5), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S2), Utah (SNA), Vermont (S5), Virginia (S5), Washington (S4S5), West Virginia (S5), Wisconsin (S5), Wyoming (S4)
Canada Alberta (S1), British Columbia (S3), Manitoba (S4), New Brunswick (S5), Nova Scotia (S5), Ontario (S4), Quebec (S4), Saskatchewan (S4)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range extends from southern Canada, from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, south through Oregon, northern Idaho, Colorado, and most of the central and eastern United States (but not Florida), and disjunctly southwest to southwestern Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Chihuahua (Mexico). This species has been introduced in several locations in the western United States and western Canada. Populations from the Gulf Coast to southern Illinois, formerly included in C. picta, are now recognized as a distinct species, C. dorsalis (Starkey et al. 2003).

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Represented by many and/or large occurrences throughout much of the large range (e.g., Ernst 1971).

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Very abundant in suitable habitat in most areas.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Localized threats from habitat degradation, mortality on roads, and human-associated increases in predators (e.g., raccoons).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Likely stable in most respects.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: Any declines likely have been more than offset by increases associated with human-augmented increases in suitable habitat.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly to moderately vulnerable.

Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Range extends from southern Canada, from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, south through Oregon, northern Idaho, Colorado, and most of the central and eastern United States (but not Florida), and disjunctly southwest to southwestern Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Chihuahua (Mexico). This species has been introduced in several locations in the western United States and western Canada. Populations from the Gulf Coast to southern Illinois, formerly included in C. picta, are now recognized as a distinct species, C. dorsalis (Starkey et al. 2003).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NVexotic, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, ON, QC, SK

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe 2008


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AZ Apache (04001)
CO Archuleta (08007), La Plata (08067)
ID Bingham (16011), Bonner (16017), Boundary (16021), Latah (16057), Lemhi (16059)
OK Custer (40039)*, Dewey (40043)*, Roger Mills (40129)*
OR Baker (41001)*, Benton (41003), Clackamas (41005), Columbia (41009), Coos (41011), Hood River (41027)*, Lane (41039), Linn (41043), Malheur (41045), Marion (41047), Morrow (41049)*, Multnomah (41051), Polk (41053), Sherman (41055)*, Umatilla (41059), Union (41061)*, Wallowa (41063)*, Wasco (41065)*, Washington (41067)*, Yamhill (41071)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
11 Washita headwaters (11130301)+*
14 Upper San Juan (14080101)+, Piedra (14080102)+, Animas (14080104)+
15 Upper Little Colorado (15020002)+
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Priest (17010215)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Lower Owyhee (17050110)+, Powder (17050203)+*, Upper Grande Ronde (17060104)+*, Wallowa (17060105)+*, Palouse (17060108)+, Middle Salmon-Panther (17060203)+, Clearwater (17060306)+, Middle Columbia-Lake Wallula (17070101)+, Umatilla (17070103)+, Willow (17070104)+*, Middle Columbia-Hood (17070105)+*, Lower Columbia-Sandy (17080001)+, Middle Fork Willamette (17090001)+*, Coast Fork Willamette (17090002)+, Upper Willamette (17090003)+, Middle Willamette (17090007)+, Yamhill (17090008)+, Molalla-Pudding (17090009)+, Tualatin (17090010)+*, Clackamas (17090011)+, Lower Willamette (17090012)+, Coquille (17100305)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: Shell hard, somewhat flattened; bright yellow lines on head and limbs; lower shell orange or reddish, with conspicuous dark markings in juveniles; upper shell often with narrow yellow lines (reduced in larger individuals), less often with dark reticulation; upper jaw notched at tip; maximum upper shell length of female about 25 cm, rarely more than 21 cm (males are much smaller). Mature male: vent located beyond rear edge of upper shell with tail extended; fingernails very long; lower shell not concave. Mature female: vent at or inside rear edge of upper shell with tail extended; fingernails not especially long. Juvenile: as in adult female, with a deep crease across abdominal shields of lower shell. Hatchling: upper shell keeled; lower shell vivid orange/red, with a central dark figure having a sinuous outer edge; upper shell length 19-28 mm (average 23-24 mm). Eggs: elliptical, whitish, smooth surface with small pores; shell initially flexible, then becomes more rigid, 21-36 mm x 15-21 mm (mostly about 29-33 x 18-19 mm). Source: Hammerson (1999).
Reproduction Comments: Most nesting occurs between late May and early July, perhaps earlier in the south. Individual females often produce more than one clutch/year in most of the range (often 2 in Wisconsin, 2-3 and sometimes 4 in Nebraska). Clutch size averages 4 in Virginia, 8 in Maine and Michigan, 10 in Wisconsin and New Mexico, 13 in Washington, 14 in Nebraska, 16 in Idaho, 20 in Saskatchewan. Hatchlings usually remain in the nest in winter and emerge in spring. Females are sexually mature in 5 years (Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New Mexico), 5-6 years (Nebraska), 6 years (Ontario and Virginia), 6-7 years (Idaho), 7 years (Canada, Michigan), 8 years (Wisconsin), or 8-10 years (Washington). Males mature at younger ages. In Nebraska, some females apparently survived beyond 30 years (Iverson and Smith 1993). In Michigan, warmer years with a longer growing season resulted more rapid attainment of sexual maturity in males (Frazer et al., 1993, Am. Midl. Nat. 130:314-324).
Ecology Comments: In many areas, eggs and hatchlings incur high mortality from various predators (e.g., see Christens and Bider 1987). However, of 13 monitored nests in northern Idaho, none was lost to predation; overall survivorship (from laying until emergence from nest) for 193 eggs was 0.21-0.33 (Lindeman 1991). Annual survivorship of adult females in Virginia was high (0.94-0.96) (Mitchell 1988). In Michigan, annual survivorship of adult males and females was 0.64-0.83 and 0.29-0.50, respectively; annual survivorship of juveniles was 0.21-0.51; maximum age was estimated at 34 years; population density increased and survival rate apparently decreased over a period of 2+ decades (Frazer et al. 1991). In Nebraska, annual adult survivorship was at least 91% (Iverson and Smith 1993). See Iverson (1991) for a compilation of survivorship data on eggs and juveniles. Density in ponds and lakes varies greatly; up to several hundred per ha in some areas, as few as a dozen per ha in other areas.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Females migrate between terrestrial nesting areas and aquatic habitats.

In small marsh systems, home range size may be very small (e.g., average of 1.2 ha in Michigan) (Rowe 2003), whereas in rivers individual home range sizes are much larger (e.g., 7-26 km (MacCulloch and Secoy 1983).

Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, CREEK, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Pool
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND, TEMPORARY POOL
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Painted turtles live in slow-moving, shallow waters with soft bottoms, basking sites, and aquatic vegetation: streams, marshes, swamps, ponds, lakes, and reservoirs. They may colonize seasonally flooded areas near permanent water. Hibernations occurs in water. Females dig nests in soft soil in open areas up to several hundred meters from water (1-621 meters, average 90 meters, in Quebec, Christens and Bider 1987; 1-164 meters, average 60 meters, in Michigan, Congdon and Gatten 1989). Hatchlings usually remain in nest in winter and emerge in spring (Packard and Packard 1995). Hatchling painted turtles are able to withstand periodic partial freezing of their body fluids as they overwinter in shallow nests in the north.
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Herbivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Herbivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Feeds opportunistically on various plants and animals, living or dead, obtained from bottom of water or among aquatic plants. Diet is dominated by invertebrates in some areas. Juvenile diet sometimes includes cladoceran zooplankton (Mauer 1995, Herpetological Review 26:34).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: In most of the range, this turtle is most active diurnally, March (late April or May in far north) through October, though warm weather may stimulate activity in other months, especially in the south.Evening activity on land may occur during nesting; in Michigan, peak initiation of nesting migrations occurred between 1600 and 1800 h (Congdon and Gatten 1989).
Length: 25 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Mapping Guidance: Occurrences should include known nesting areas and documented upland travel corridors, if any.
Separation Barriers: Busy highway or highway with obstructions such that turtles rarely if ever cross successfully; untraversable topography (e.g., cliff); urbanized area lacking aquatic or wetland habitat.
Alternate Separation Procedure: Separation distance across more or less continuously joined suitable aquatic or wetland habitat: 10 km. Separation distance for upland habitat: 3 km. Separation distance for intermediate situations: 5 km.
Separation Justification: Painted turtle in riverine systems often make extensive movements. In a two-year study in southern Saskatchewan, MacCulloch and Secoy (1983) found that the length of river used by individuals averaged about 6 km in adult males (up to 26 km), 2-3 km in adult females (up to 8 km), and about 0.5 km in juveniles (up to 1.5 km). McAuliffe (1978) reported that 58 percent of individuals recaptured in Nebraska moved 100 m or more along a river slough during a single active season, and a male moved over 2.1 km. In a lake and marsh system in Michigan, Gibbons (1968) recorded less extensive movement, with fewer than 15 percent of individuals moving distances of 100 m or more during one summer. However, 16 individuals (mainly adult females) traveled 400 m or more (up to 1.1 km in 411 days). The separation distances used here are designed to accommodate the greater movements of painted turtles in riverine systems and associated wetlands, in which painted turtles often occur in large numbers. The separation distance of 3 km for upland habitat was chosen to reduce the possibility that females on nesting migrations from two separate occurrences would overlap in their nesting sites.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1 km
Date: 23Apr2001
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 28Jan2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 28Jan2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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