Kinosternon baurii - (Garman, 1891)
Striped Mud Turtle
Other English Common Names: striped mud turtle
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Kinosternon baurii Garman, 1891 (TSN 173765)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105906
Element Code: ARAAE01010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Turtles
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Chelonia Cryptodeira Kinosternidae Kinosternon
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: Kinosternon baurii
Taxonomic Comments: Walker et al. (1998) discovered four major mtDNA groups in K. subrubrum-K. baurii: Missouri-Louisiana, Virginia to Florida, peninsular Florida, and Louisiana to Florida panhandle; these groups do not correspond well with nominal subspecies. Walker et al. (1998) found that K. subrubrum and K. baurii in Florida are highly distinct in mtDNA genotype, but the two species exhibit minimal mtDNA divergence along the Atlantic coastal states. Walker et al. (1998) and Walker and Avise (1998) discussed the various evolutionary histories that these data may reflect, and they concluded that further data are needed before a robust taxonomy can be established.

Karl and Wilson (2001) examined rangewide mtDNA sequence data for K. baurii and found that the putatively isolated population in the lower Florida Keys does not significantly differ genetically from the upper Florida Keys population, indicating that it is not isolated or is very recently isolated from the remainder of the range.

See Iverson (1991) for a phylogenetic analysis of kinosternine turtles.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Apr2005
Global Status Last Changed: 23Oct1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Secure in relatively small range restricted to a portion of the southeastern U.S.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (09Jan1997)

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 Florida (S5), Georgia (S4), North Carolina (S3S4), South Carolina (SNR), Virginia (S4)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Florida, southern Georgia (e.g., Jensen and Moulis, 1999, Herpetol. Rev. 40:240-247), eastern South Carolina, eastern North Carolina, and eastern Virginia; presence north of Florida confirmed by analysis of color patterns and morphometric variation (Lamb 1983, Lamb and Lovich 1990). Ewert et al. (2004, Herpetol. Rev. 35:80) extended the range westeward in Florida from the St. Marks River drainage into the Apalachicola River drainage, including the Chipola River.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Florida, southern Georgia (e.g., Jensen and Moulis, 1999, Herpetol. Rev. 40:240-247), eastern South Carolina, eastern North Carolina, and eastern Virginia; presence north of Florida confirmed by analysis of color patterns and morphometric variation (Lamb 1983, Lamb and Lovich 1990). Ewert et al. (2004, Herpetol. Rev. 35:80) extended the range westeward in Florida from the St. Marks River drainage into the Apalachicola River drainage, including the Chipola River.

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 FL, GA, NC, SC, VA

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)
FL Monroe (12087)
SC Bamberg (45009), Berkeley (45015), Darlington (45031), Florence (45041), Hampton (45049), Jasper (45053)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Lower Pee Dee (03040201)+, Santee (03050112)+, Four Hole Swamp (03050206)+, Lower Savannah (03060109)+, Florida Bay-Florida Keys (03090203)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: Adults have a broad, smooth, oval, tan to black carapace (generally widest and highest behind the middle) with three yellowish or cream-colored longitudinal stripes (may be obscure or lacking in some localities) and a large olive to yellow plastron that has two transverse hinges and may have dark seam borders; plastral hinges, absent in hatchlings, are acquired in about three months (Einem 1956); vertebrals may be depressed, forming a shallow, middorsal groove (Carr 1952, Ernst and Barbour 1972); head is small and conical and generally has two light cream to yellow stripes on each side; fleshy barbels occur on the chin and neck; upper jaw is not hooked; tail is spine-tipped; carapace has 23 scutes around the margin, including the cervical (nuchal); in southern Florida, young are black with a yellow spot on each marginal scute (Ashton and Ashton 1985), and they have a rough carapace with a narrow middorsal keel and weak dorsolateral keels (absent in adults); adult males differ from adult females in having a longer thicker tail (vent posterior to rear edge of carapace) and a patch of rough scales on the inner surface of the hind leg; carapace length usually 7.5-10 cm in adults, maximum 116 mm over much of range (Einem 1956, Iverson 1979, Wygoda 1979) but reaches 125-127 mm in southern Florida (Meshaka 1988). See Ernst and Barbour (1989) and Conant and Collins (1991).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from musk turtles (genus STERNOTHERUS) in having a noticeably larger plastron and two plastral hinges (vs. one). Specimens from the northern part of the range often have been misidentified as K. SUBRUBRUM. Lamb and Lovich (1990; see also Copeia 1991:561) found that the following characteristics reliably distinguished K. BAURII from K. SUBRUBRUM SUBRUBRUM. BAURII: carapace stripes present, greatly reduced, or absent; side of head bearing a pair of stripes, either continuous or broken; canthal stripe typically extends anteriorly from eye to tip of snout; in males, ratio of posterior humeral/plastron length (PH/PL) falls between 0.29-0.33 and ratio of plastral forelobe length/plastron length (FL/PL) falls between 0.35-0.38; in females, PH/PL falls between 0.28-0.35 and FL/PL falls between 0.32-0.35. SUBRUBRUM: carapace stripes absent; side of head variable, from no markings to extensive spotting or stripelike patterning, but seldom involving a pair of stripes; if side of head is patterned, then canthal stripe, if present, does not extend anterior of eye; in males, PH/PL falls between 0.25-0.28 and FL/PL falls between 0.39-0.42; in females, PH/PL falls between 0.24-0.28 and FL/PL falls between 0.36-0.39. See Lamb and Lovich (1990) for further information on distinguishing BAURII from SUBRUBRUM in Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia. See Lovich and Lamb (1995) for information on distinguishing K. SUBRUBRUM HIPPOCREPIS from K. BAURII.
Reproduction Comments: In a single year in central Florida, 90% of 252 nesting events occurred during September-January, 2% in February-April, and 8% in May-June; most nesting occurred after heavy rainfall (Wilson, unpubl.; see also Wilson 1998). Clutch size is 1-6, usually 2-3. Average clutch size increases with female size. Mature females lay up to 3-6 clutches/year (Iverson 1979), 1-3/year in central Florida (Wilson, unpubl.). Eggs hatch in 97-143 days in the laboratory (Einem 1956, Lardie 1975, Iverson 1979). Iverson (1977) reported incubation times of 113-128 days. Because embryos exhibit diapause and estivation (Ewert 1985, 1991) at cool temperatures, incubation times in the field may be considerably longer than those in the laboratory. Sex of the hatchlings is affected by incubation temperature (Etchberger 1991). Eggs may incur heavy predation (Wilson, unpubl.). Hatchlings may overwinter in nest and emerge to move to wetlands in early to late spring (mainly winter-spring in Florida), usually following a heavy rain; a few hatchlings can be found traveling on land in fall (Mushinsky and Wilson 1992; Wilson, unpubl.). Females mature at an age of 5-6 years, when plastron length is 70-75 mm (Iverson 1979). Mature males have been reported with a plastron length of 76 mm or more (Einem 1956), though males may mature earlier and at smaller sizes than do females (Carr 1952). Maximum longevity in captivity is at least 25 years (Ernst and Barbour 1972).
Ecology Comments: In central Florida, many adults have missing limbs and eyes and damage to the shell that could be attributed to predation attempts (Wilson, unpublished).

Leeches commonly are attached to the limbs or shell. The shell sometimes has attached algae (Neill and allen 1954).

Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: In some areas makes seasonal migrations between ponds, seasonal swamps, and adjacent forest (Wygoda 1979).
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND, TEMPORARY POOL
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Sand/dune
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Cypress swamps, sloughs, ponds, drainage canals, wet meadows, shallow marshes, and adjacent forest areas; wanders on dry land and enters brackish ponds (e.g., in the Florida Keys; Dunson 1981). Often observed on roads and along canal banks (Carr 1940, Duellman and Schwartz 1958). Sometimes digs into decaying vegetation or soil surface. In central Florida, sometimes estivates on land when water levels are low; returns to water after rains raise water levels (Wygoda 1979). May less aquatic in the north than in southern Florida, where habitats more often include deeper flowing waters and where estivation on land is rare or absent (Ernst et al. 1972, Iverson 1979). However, in the lower Florida Keys, habitats include shallow ponds and excavated mosquito control ditches, and turtles may use terrestrial retreats if the ponds dry or become too saline (Dunson 1992).

Eggs are laid in nests dug in sand or decaying vegetation (Ernst and Barbour 1972, Iverson 1979). Sometimes oviposits in alligator nests. Nesting areas in Florida include turkey oak-longleaf pine sandhills adjacent to swamps; may travel up to at least 50-100 meters to nest (Mushinsky and Wilson 1992). After ovipositing, females often burrow underground a few meters from the nest, and then move back to wetland habitat after the next rain (Wilson, unpubl.).

Adult Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Diet includes cabbage palm seeds, juniper leaves, algae, small snails, insects, crayfish, and dead fish (Einem 1956; Davis, unpubl.). Forages in water and on land, where it may seek insects in cattle dung or garbage piles (Carr 1952, Ernst and Barbour 1972). Reported as a carnivorous scavenger or insectivore in the Florida Keys (Lazell 1989).
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Probably active all year except during cold spells. Estivates on land during dry spells in some areas (Wygoda 1979). In the Everglades, most movements occurred during the May-October wet season, with peak movement of females in October (Meshaka and Blind 2001).
Length: 12 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Management Requirements: See Ewert and Wilson (1996, Chelonian Conservation and Biology 2:43-54) for information on factors that should be considered when conducting controlled incubation programs.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Mud Turtles (Kinosternon)

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 nesting areas, travel corridors between the wetlands and nest sites, and other upland use areas, if known, but occurrences based on captures/observations of individuals in wetlands should include only the known distribution of the population and not include large areas of upland habitat (not known to be occupied) that may extend between occupied wetlands within the appropriate separation distances.
Separation Barriers: Busy highway or highway with obstructions such that turtles rarely if ever cross successfully; untraversable topography (e.g., cliff); urbanized area dominated by buildings and pavement and lacking aquatic or wetland habitat.
Alternate Separation Procedure: Separation distance along riverine corridors or continuous aquatic/wetlands habitats: 10 km. Separation distance for upland habitat: 3 km. Use intermediate values for intermediate circumstances.
Separation Justification: Mud turtles can be sedentary but sometimes move multiple kilometers across various kinds of wetland and upland habitats to reach suitable nesting areas or disjunct ponds or wetlands. Movements likely are least restricted along riverine corridors and other continuous aquatic/wetland habitats.

Kinosternon baurii may travel at least 50-100 m from wetlands to nest (Mushinsky and Wilson 1992).

Tagged K. subrubrum in South Carolina traveled up to 600 m from capture sites and sometimes overwintered more than 1 km from water (Bennett et al. 1970). In South Carolina from late summer through winter, individuals were found in upland refugia up to 135 m from the delineated wetland boundary (Buhlmann and Gibbons 2001). Individuals exhibited site fidelity to refugia in successive years. Aquatic home range size was estimated at about 0.05 ha in Oklahoma, but movements of up to 408 m were recorded (Mahmoud 1969).

In Iowa, K. flavescens migrated usually 300-500 m between water and hibernation site (Christiansen et al. 1985). All terrestrial habitats used by radio-tagged individuals were within 450 m of water. In Nebraska, eggs were laid 21-191 m from (Iverson 1990), within a few hundred feet of water in Iowa (Cooper 1977). Aquatic home range size was estimated to be about 0.1 ha in Oklahoma, but movements of up to 435 m sometimes were made (Mahmoud 1969). In Colorado, these turtles sometimes show up in isolated temporary ponds far from permanent water (G. Hammerson, pers. obs.).

In New Mexico, K. sonoriense sometimes appears at farm ponds up to 8 km from permanent water (Degenhardt and Christiansen 1974), but these turtles mostly are restricted to permanent water, do not migrate very far, and probably have small home ranges (Ernst et al. 1994). However, in a multi-year study in New Mexico, 13 individuals moved distances of at least 1 km; individuals occasionally moved more than 2 km since their last capture, but usually less than 2 km (Stone 2001).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1 km
Date: 10Sep2004
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: 22Apr2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 27Feb2002

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

References
Help
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  • Duellman, W. E., and A. Schwartz. 1958. Amphibians and reptiles of southern Florida. Florida State Mus. Bull. Biol. Sci. 3:181-324.

  • Dunson, W. A. 1981. Behavioral osmoregulation in the key mud turtle, KINOSTERNON B. BAURII. J. Herpetol. 15:163-173.

  • Dunson, W. A. 1992. Striped mud turtle, Lower Keys population. Pages 105-110 in P. E. Moler, editor. Rare and endangered biota of Florida. Vol. III. Amphibians and reptiles. Univ. Press of Florida, Gainesville. 291 pp.

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  • Ewert, M. A. 1991. Cold torpor, diapause, delayed hatching and estivation in reptiles and birds. Pages 173-191 in D. C. Demming and M. W. J. Ferguson, editors. Egg incubation: its effects on embryonic development in birds and reptiles. Cambridge Univ. Press.

  • Iverson, J. B. 1977. Reproduction in freshwater and terrestrial turtles of north Florida. Herpetologica 32:203-212.

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