Kinosternon subrubrum - (Lacepède, 1788)
Eastern Mud Turtle
Other English Common Names: eastern mud turtle
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Kinosternon subrubrum (Lacépède, 1788) (TSN 173763)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106169
Element Code: ARAAE01050
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 subrubrum
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.

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: 23Oct1996
Global Status Last Changed: 23Oct1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - 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 (S5), Arkansas (S5), Delaware (S5), District of Columbia (S4), Florida (S5), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S3S4), Indiana (SNR), Kentucky (S3), Louisiana (S5), Maryland (S5), Mississippi (S5), Missouri (SNR), New Jersey (SNR), New York (S1), North Carolina (S5), Oklahoma (S4), Pennsylvania (S1), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), Virginia (S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Eastern and southern U.S.; north to New York and Indiana, west to Oklahoma and south-central Texas.

Short-term Trend Comments: Populations declined in northwestern Indiana between the 1930s and 1990s (Brodman et al. 2002).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Eastern and southern U.S.; north to New York and Indiana, west to Oklahoma and south-central Texas.

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, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, 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)
IN Gibson (18051)*, Jackson (18071), Jasper (18073)*, Knox (18083)*, Newton (18111)*, Porter (18127)*, Posey (18129), Pulaski (18131)*, Starke (18149)*, Vanderburgh (18163)*, White (18181)*
NY Richmond (36085), Suffolk (36103), Westchester (36119)*
OK Atoka (40005), Le Flore (40079)
PA Bucks (42017), Delaware (42045)*, Philadelphia (42101)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Lower Hudson (02030101)+*, Sandy Hook-Staten Island (02030104)+, Southern Long Island (02030202)+, Crosswicks-Neshaminy (02040201)+, Lower Delaware (02040202)+*
05 Tippecanoe (05120106)+*, Lower Wabash (05120113)+*, Lower White (05120202)+*, Muscatatuck (05120207)+, Highland-Pigeon (05140202)+
07 Kankakee (07120001)+*, Iroquois (07120002)+*
11 Poteau (11110105)+, Muddy Boggy (11140103)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Diagnostic Characteristics: 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: Nests early as February in Louisiana, mid-March in Texas, later in north; may nest all year in Florida. Clutch size often 2-4; one clutch/year in southern Illinois, more than 1 in Texas, Arkansas (3), Louisiana, South Carolina (1-3, average 1.2 clutches/year). Eggs hatch in about 3-4 months in Arkansas and Florida, 11 weeks in Maryland. Sexually mature in 4-6 years (7-8 cm CL). In South Carolina, the mean proportion of adult females nesting in a given year was 0.51 (Frazer et al. 1991).
Ecology Comments: Aquatic home range size was estimated at about 0.05 hectares in Oklahoma, but movements of several hundred meters (up to 408 meters) were recorded (Mahmoud 1969).

In South Carolina, annual survivorship of adults was 0.82 (Gibbons 1983). Further study in South Carolina indicated that annual survivorship 0.88 for adult females and 0.89 for adult males; first-year survivorship (from egg laying) was 0.18-0.34 over 5 years (Frazer et al. 1991).

Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: In South Carolina from late summer through winter, individuals were found in upland refugia up to 135 meters from the delineated wetland boundary (Buhlmann and Gibbons 2001). Individuals exhibited site fidelity to refugia in successive years.
Estuarine Habitat(s): Herbaceous wetland
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Low gradient, Pool
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Shallow, slow- or nonflowing fresh or brackish water with soft bottom and abundant aquatic vegetation; also wet meadows. Frequently travels overland. Basically a bottom-dweller. Occupies various aquatic or terrestrial sites (up to at least 135 meters from wetlands; Buhlmann and Gibbons 2001) when inactive. Eggs are laid in a nest dug in an open area in soft soil not far from water; also in and under vegetable and other debris and in muskrat tunnels (Ernst and Barbour 1972). See Bodie et al. (1996) for information on nest site selection. Hatchlings may overwinter in nest.

In South Carolina, terrestrial nesting forays lasted 2-29 days (mean 9 days); gravid females left water, buried themselves, usually stayed buried until a rainstorm occurred, nested during a rainstorm, buried themselves again after nesting, and later returned to the water, usually when another rainstorm occurred (Burke et al. 1994).

Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Herbivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats insects, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibian larvae, carrion, and aquatic plants (Ernst and Barbour 1972).
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Active all year in south, hibernates during cold season in north. Largely crepuscular in summer (Ernst and Barbour 1972). In South Carolina, individuals were relatively inactive in upland refugia for an average of 170 days from late summer through winter (Buhlmann and Gibbons 2001).
Length: 12 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: 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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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 21Jul2010
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).

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IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

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"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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