Graptemys ouachitensis - Cagle, 1953
Ouachita Map Turtle
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Graptemys ouachitensis Cagle, 1953 (TSN 173799)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102685
Element Code: ARAAD05110
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Turtles
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Chelonia Cryptodeira Emydidae Graptemys
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: King, F. W., and R. L. Burke, editors. 1989. Crocodilian, tuatara, and turtle species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Association of Systematics Collections, Washington, D.C. 216 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B89KIN01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Graptemys ouachitensis
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly regarded as a subspecies of G. pseudogeographica. Vogt (1993) studied variation in the G. pseudogeographica complex and determined that G. ouachitensis is a distinct species with two subspecies (ouachitensis and sabinensis). MtDNA data are consistent with the recognition of G. pseudogeographica and G. ouachitensis as distinct species (Lamb et al. 1994). Lamb et al. (1994) conducted a mtDNA-based phylogenetic analysis of turtles in the genus Graptemys and discovered three monophyletic lineages: G. pulchra group (including G. pulchra, G. gibbonsi, G. ernsti, and G. barbouri); G. pseudogeographica group (including G. pseudogeographica, G. nigrinoda, G. flavimaculata, G. oculifera, G. versa, G. caglei, and G. ouachitensis); and G. geographica. Overall genetic divergence was relatively low, and G. pseudogeographica, G. nigrinoda, G. flavimaculata, G. oculifera, and G. versa all shared the same mtDNA genotype. There was no evidence of infraspecific variation in any species. Walker and Avise (1998) reviewed these data and suggested that the Graptemys complex has been taxonomically oversplit at the species level.

McDowell (1964) concluded that the genus Graptemys should be included in the genus Malaclemys, but this arrangement generally has been rejected (e.g., see Dobie 1981 for information on osteological differences between the two genera).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 02May2005
Global Status Last Changed: 17Dec1999
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large range in river systems in the central United States; many occurrences; often locally numerous; overall population trend and precise status are uncertain due to historical taxonomic confusion involving G. pseuodogeographica, but available evidence indicates that the species is secure.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Oct1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S3), Arkansas (S4), Illinois (S3?), Indiana (S2), Iowa (S4), Kansas (S4), Kentucky (S4), Louisiana (S3), Minnesota (S4), Mississippi (S4?), Missouri (SNR), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (S4?), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), West Virginia (S1), Wisconsin (S4)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix III

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Mississippi and St. Croix rivers in Minnesota (Oldfield and Moriarty 1994) and Wisconsin (Vogt 1981) south in the Mississippi River basin through Louisiana, as far west as eastern Kansas (disjunct populations in central Kansas) and Lake Texoma, Oklahoma (Red River) and east into Indiana, Ohio (disjunct), and Kentucky (record for West Virginia needs to be confirmed); also (subspecies SABINENSIS) Sabine River drainage of Louisiana and Texas (Vogt 1993, 1995; Ernst et al. 1994). See Vogt (1993, 1995) for spot map and list of localities.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: The number of distinct, extant occurrences is unknown, due to (1) inadequate survey data for turtles of confirmed species identity and (2) lack of use of consistent specifications for determining what constitutes a distinct occurrence. Vogt (1995) mapped (large-scale) approximately 105 locality records that he confirmed as representing this species. Collins (1993) mapped localities in 32 counties in Kansas but did not indicate the current status in those areas. Fuselier and Edds (1994) captured G. ouachitensis at 31 of 186 sites that were trapped 1-4 nights each in southeastern and southcentral Kansas. Redmond et al. (1990) stated that this turtle ranges nearly statewide in distribution in Tennessee, implying numerous occurrences. Webb (1970) mapped 15 localities in Oklahoma but did not comment on current status. Dixon (1987) mapped this turtle in 17 counties in Texas; current status was not reported. Dundee and Rossman (1989) mapped about 60 locations in Louisiana but did not report current status or abundance. Probably there are far more than 100 distinct occurrences.

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total population size is unknown but likely exceeds 100,000. Existing information indicates that the species is numerous in several areas. In a 230-ha area in Wisconsin, Vogt (1980) captured nearly 600 individuals of G. OUACHITENSIS in just a few years of trapping. Fuselier and Edds (1994) trapped 1,503 turtles of 10 species at 186 sites (1-4 trapping nights per site) in 41 counties in southeastern and south-central Kansas; 169 of them were G. OUACHITENSIS. Smith (1961) remarked that turtles of the GRAPTEMYS PSEUDOGEOGRAPHICA/OUACHITENSIS group were rather uncommon but widespread in Illinois. Minton (1972) stated that GRAPTEMYS PSEUDOGEOGRAPHICA/OUACHITENSIS were common along the lower Wabash and White rivers in Indiana. In Lake Texoma, Oklahoma, this species made up 15 percent of the 156 turtles that were trapped by Webb (1961). Mount (1975) reported that this turtle is "frequently seen in considerable numbers" along the Tennessee River and its backwaters in northern Alabama. In the lower Tennessee River drainage in Kentucky, Lindeman (1999) found that density averaged 2.9 invidiuals per 100 m of shoreline. Shively and Jackson (1985) recorded a density of 2.1-6.7 individuals/1,000 sq m in Louisiana. Chaney and Smith (1950) collected 175 and 325 individuals of G. OUACHITENSIS and G. PSEUDOGEOGRAPHICA in two areas in Louisiana, suggesting that G. OUACHITENSIS was abundant in those areas. This species is locally common, particularly in the Wabash River, in Illinois (Phillips et al. 1999).

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Many die in nets of commercial fisheries. These tend to be discarded, but in some areas the turtles occasionally are consumed by humans. These colorful turtles sometimes are collected for the pet trade (Dundee and Rossman 1989). Generally tolerant of periodic nondestructive intrusion, but frequent human activity in the habitat could interefere with nesting and normal basking behavior.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Range-wide trend is unknown, but likely relatively stable. Trauth et al. (2004) did not mention declines and stated that the species is common statewide in the heart of the range in Arkansas.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <50% to Relatively Stable
Long-term Trend Comments: Historical versus current abundance is difficult to determine from published literature because, until recently, G. pseudogeographica and G. ouachitensis were not distinguished as different species.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly to moderately vulnerable.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Obtain up-to-date information on current distribution and abundance.

Distribution
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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Mississippi and St. Croix rivers in Minnesota (Oldfield and Moriarty 1994) and Wisconsin (Vogt 1981) south in the Mississippi River basin through Louisiana, as far west as eastern Kansas (disjunct populations in central Kansas) and Lake Texoma, Oklahoma (Red River) and east into Indiana, Ohio (disjunct), and Kentucky (record for West Virginia needs to be confirmed); also (subspecies SABINENSIS) Sabine River drainage of Louisiana and Texas (Vogt 1993, 1995; Ernst et al. 1994). See Vogt (1993, 1995) for spot map and list of localities.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MN, MO, MS, OH, OK, TN, TX, WI, WV

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)
MS Adams (28001)*, DeSoto (28033)*, Humphreys (28053)*, Leflore (28083)*, Sunflower (28133)*, Tishomingo (28141)*, Yazoo (28163)*
WV Wirt (54105)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
05 Little Kanawha (05030203)+*
06 Pickwick Lake (06030005)+*, Bear (06030006)+*
08 Coldwater (08030204)+*, Upper Yazoo (08030206)+*, Big Sunflower (08030207)+*, Lower Mississippi-Natchez (08060100)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Help
Basic Description: A medium-sized turtle.
General Description: See Vogt (1995).
Diagnostic Characteristics: See Vogt (1995). See McCoy and Vogt (1994) for a key to species in the genus GRAPTEMYS.
Reproduction Comments: Wisconsin: eggs laid late May-July, usually 2 clutches per year; hatchlings from early clutches emerge late August-early September, those from late clutches emerge in spring (Vogt 1981).
Ecology Comments: Gregarious when basking and in hibernation.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, CREEK, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient, Pool
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Sand/dune
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil
Habitat Comments: Mainly riverine (also in impoundments), usually in areas with submerged aquatic vegetation. In Kansas, occurred in rivers with abundant basking sites and was associated with various kinds of substrates (Fuselier and Edds 1994). Inactive on bottom of river at night. Hibernates underwater behind logs, rocks, and wing dams (Vogt 1981). Nests in sandbars and beaches within 100 m of water (Vogt 1981).
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Omnivore; eats mainly aquatic insects, aquatic vegetation, mollusks, carrion (Vogt 1981); in Wisconsin, specializes in surface feeding (Vogt, 1981, Am. Midl. Nat. 105:102-111).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Phenology Comments: Feeding activity begins in midmorning after period of basking; alternate between feeding and basking throughout rest of day; inactive at night (Vogt 1981).
Length: 26 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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Group Name: Map Turtles (Graptemys)

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.
Separation Barriers: Busy highway or highway with obstructions such that turtles rarely if ever cross successfully; untraversable topography (e.g., cliff); area lacking aquatic or wetland habitat.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 20 km
Separation Justification: Map turtles live in riverine-riparian systems and associated floodplain lakes, ponds, and sloughs. Often they nest on sandy banks or sand bars but sometimes up to about 100 m from water. Long-distance overland movements appear to be rare, but available information indicates that map turtles may move considerable distances along riverine corridors. Hence, separation distance for suitable habitat refers to riverine corridors whereas separation distance for unsuitable habitat refers to upland habitat.

For Graptemys flavimaculata in Mississippi, mean male home range area was 1.12 ha, mean home range length was 1.9 km (range 0.2-5.9 km); these values for females were 5.75 ha and 1.6 km (range 0.2-2.8 km) (difference is not significant) (Jones 1996).

For Graptemys geographica, daily and annual movements varied greatly among individuals in a river in central Pennsylvania (up to several thousand meters in a few days, or virtually no movement over several years; Pluto and Bellis 1988). Range length was 0.2-6.1 km (mean 2.1 km) for 46 males and 0-5.3 km (mean 1.2 km) for 14 females. Juveniles moved 4.7-5.3 km upstream or downstream over 1-2 seasons.

In Vermont, range length for 6 adult females (with sonic tracking tags) was 1.5-8.0 km along the Lamoille River; some individuals moved downstream to Lake Champlain (2.7 km) and along the lakeshore as much as 2.2 km before returning to the hibernaculum (Graham et al. 2000).
Graptemys pseudogeographica sometimes may move more than 1 mile (1.6 km) upstream in less than a month (Vogt 1981).

These data suggest that a large separation distance of at least 20 stream km is appropriate for distinguishing different occurrences along a stretch of suitable habitat.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 2 km
Date: 30Jan2002
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: 02May2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 28Jan1997
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
Help
  • Auburn University Natural History Museum and Learning Center. Auburn Univeristy Museum Reptile and Amphibian Collection, Auburn, Alabama. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/science_math/cosam/collections/reptiles_amphibians/index.htm

  • CALDWELL, J.P. AND J.T. COLLINS. 1981. TURTLES IN KS.

  • COLLINS, J.T. 1982. AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES IN KANSAS. UNIV.KANS.MUS.NAT.HIST., PUB.EDUCA.SERIES NO.8.

  • COLLINS, J.T. 1988. DISTRIBUTION OF SELECTED KS AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES.

  • Chaney, A., and C. L. Smith. 1950. Methods for collecting mapturtles. Copeia 1950:323-324.

  • Collins, J. T. 1993. Amphibians and reptiles in Kansas. Third edition, revised. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Public Education Series No. 13. xx + 397 pp.

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Sixth edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular 37:1-84.

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Sixth edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular 37:1-84. Online with updates at: http://www.ssarherps.org/pages/comm_names/Index.php

  • Dixon, J. R. 1987. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas. Texas A & M Univ. Press, College Station. xii + 434 pp.

  • Dobie, J. L. 1981. The taxonomic relationship between MALACLEMYS Gray, 1844 and GRAPTEMYS Agassiz, 1857 (Testudines: Emydidae). Tulane Stud. Zool. Bot. 23:85-102.

  • Dundee, H. A., and D. A. Rossman. 1989. The amphibians and reptiles of Louisiana. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge.

  • Ernst, C. H. and J. E. Lovich. 2009. Turtles of the United States and Canada, second edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland. 827 pages.

  • Ernst, C. H., and R. W. Barbour. 1972. Turtles of the United States. the University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. 347 pages.

  • Ewert, Michael A., et. al. 1992. Field Survey of Amphibians and Reptiles of the Hoosier National Forest First Year Report. Report for the USDA Forest Service, Eastern Region, Hoosier National Forest, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife.

  • Fuselier, L., and D. Edds. 1994. Habitat partitioning among three sympatric species of map turtles, genus GRAPTEMYS. J. Herpetol. 28:154-158.

  • King, F. W., and R. L. Burke, editors. 1989. Crocodilian, tuatara, and turtle species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Association of Systematics Collections, Washington, D.C. 216 pages.

  • King, F. W., and R. L. Burke, editors. 1989. Crocodilian, tuatara, and turtle species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Association of Systematics Collections, Washington, D.C. 216 pp.

  • LAMB, TRIP, CHARLES LYDEARD, ROBERT B. WALKER, AND J. WHITFIELD GIBBONS. 1994. MOLECULAR SYSTEMATICS OF MAP TURTLES (GRAPTEMYS): A COMPARISON OF MITOCHONDRIAL RESTRICTION SITE VERSUS SEQUENCE DATA. SYST. BIOL. 43(4):543-559.

  • Lamb, T., C. Lydeard, R. B. Walker, and J. W. Gibbons. 1994. Molecular systematics of map turtles (GRAPTEMYS): a comparison of mitochondrial restriction site versus sequence data. Systematic Biology 43:543-559.

  • Lindeman, P. V. 1999. Surveys of basking map turtles GRAPTEMYS spp. in three river drainages and the importance of deadwood abundance. Biological Conservation 88(1):33-42.

  • McCoy, C. J., and R. C. Vogt. 1994. GRAPTEMYS. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 584:1-3.

  • Minton, S. A., Jr. 1972. Amphibians and reptiles of Indiana. Indiana Academy Science Monographs 3. v + 346 pp.

  • Mirarchi, R.E., editor. 2004. Alabama Wildlife. Volume 1. A checklist of vertebrates and selected invertebrates: aquatic mollusks, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 209 pages.

  • Mount, R. H. 1975. The reptiles and amphibians of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama. vii + 347 pages.

  • Mount, R. H. 1975. The reptiles and amphibians of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama. vii + 347 pp.

  • Oldfield, B., and J. J. Moriarty. 1994. Amphibians & reptiles native to Minnesota. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. xv + 237 pp.

  • Phillips, C. A., R. A. Brandon, and E. O. Moll. 1999. Field guide to amphibians and reptiles of Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey Manual 8. xv + 282 pp.

  • Redmond, W. H., A. C. Echternacht, and A. F. Scott. 1990. Annotated checklist and bibliography of amphibians and reptiles of Tennessee (1835 through 1989). Center for Field Biology, Austin Peay State University, Miscellaneous Publications 4:iii + 173 pp.

  • Shively, S. H., and J. F. Jackson. 1985. Factors limiting the upstream distribution of the Sabine map turtle. American Midland Naturalist 115:292-303.

  • Smith, P. W. 1961. The amphibians and reptiles of Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey 28:1-298.

  • Turtle Taxonomy Working Group [van Dijk, P.P., Iverson, J.B., Shaffer, H.B., Bour, R., and Rhodin, A.G.J.]. 2012. Turtles of the world, 2012 update: annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution, and conservation status. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5:000.243-000.328. Online. Available: www.iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt/.

  • VOGT, RICHARD C. 1993. [1995]. GRAPTEMYS OUACHITENSIS. CAT. AMER. AMPHIB. REPT.:603.1-603.4.

  • Vogt, R. C. 1980. Natural history of the map turtles GRAPTEMYS PSEUDOGEOGRAPHICA and GRAPTEMYS OUACHITENSIS in Wisconsin. Tulane Studies in Zoology and Botany 22:17-48.

  • Vogt, R. C. 1981. Natural history of amphibians and reptiles of Wisconsin. Milwaukee Public Museum. 205 pp.

  • Vogt, R. C. 1981a. Food partitioning in three sympatric species of map turtle, genus GRAPTEMYS (Testudinata, Emydidae). American Midland Naturalist 105:102-111.

  • Vogt, R. C. 1981c. Natural history of amphibians and reptiles of Wisconsin. Milwaukee Public Museum. 205 pp.

  • Vogt, R. C. 1993. Systematics of the false map turtles (Graptemys pseudogeographica complex: Reptilia, Testudines, Emydidae). Annals of Carnegie Museum 62(1):1-46.

  • Vogt, R. C. 1995. GRAPTEMYS OUACHITENSIS. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 603.1-603.4. [year of publication erroneously stated as "1993" on page 603.1]

  • Walker, D., and J. C. Avise. 1998. Principles of phylogeography as illustrated by freshwater and terrestrial turtles in the southeastern United States. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 29:23-58.

  • Webb, R. G. 1961. Observations on the life histories of turtles (genus PSEUDEMYS and GRAPTEMYS) in Lake Texoma, Oklahoma. American Midland Naturalist 65:193-214.

  • Webb, R. G. 1970. Reptiles of Oklahoma. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 370 pp.

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