Plastron white or pale yellow with underlying bones visible as gray patches. Females do not mature until around 9 years of age, when they lay one to three clutches of 4- 33 hard-shelled eggs on sandbars. Short, often inconspicuous spines present at front of carapace. Description: The Eastern Spiny Softshell has a leather like shell that is very round and flattened, when comparing it to other turtles. Hatchlings usually have dark spots on the carapace, but as females age, they frequently become darker in color, or their carapace becomes splotched. Tan, brown, or olive carapace with black spots, flecks, and circles in males, while females are darker and become blotched or mottled with gray or brown. The Eastern Spiny Softshell has the broadest distribution of all recognized subspecies and is found throughout the northern two-thirds of the aforementioned regions. 2006. The eastern spiny softshell has small bumps or spines on the front of the upper shell and a small ridge on each side of the snout. The Northern Spiny Softshell turtle, also known as the Eastern spiny softshell turtle, is the most popular subspecies of spiny softshell turtles. The eastern subspecies is Apalone spinifera spinifera (Le Sueur, 1827). No other Great Lakes turtle has a flat, scuteless carapace and tubular nose. Softshell Turtle eggs are spherical like Snapping Turtle eggs, but are smaller and have a less rigid shell. Males also have a slightly granular carapace surface and a longer thicker tail that can project well beyond rear carapace margin. Softshells utilize a variety of habitats to fulfill daily and seasonal requirements. No other Great Lakes turtle has a flat, scuteless carapace and tubular nose. "Spiny softshell turtle" (On-line). Softshell turtles are a large group of reptiles in the family Trionychidae. Adult females of the various subspecies, which grow larger than males, are not easily distinguishable from one another, and sometimes can only be assigned to a particular subspecies based on geography.[8]. Wood turtle. Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) Huge, up to 20 inches long adult carapace. 7th Annual Reptile Symposium on Captive Reproduction & Husbandry, Dallas, TX, p. 54-58. This species is a member of the family Trionychidae, and one of the most distinguishing features of members in this family is the presence of a leathery, moderately flexible carapace. Plummer, M. V. 1977. Spiny softshell turtles are more dependent on underwater respiration than other freshwater species. They inhabit shallow water (less than 1 m deep), but can also be found as far as 10 m deep. The carapace (the upper part of the shell) ranges from brown or yellow-brown to olive in color, while the plastron (lower part of the shell) is lighter, usually white or yellow. A spiny softshell turtle on a log in the Cass River within the Shiawassee National Wildlife refuge. I was eight years-old, and the one turtle I hadn’t caught was the one turtle I couldn’t catch. Softshell Turtle eggs are spherical like Snapping Turtle eggs, but are smaller and have a less rigid shell. [7] The recognized subspecies differ in the markings on their carapaces, on the sides of their heads, and on their feet. Spiny softshell turtles also have pale lines bordered by black lines running from its head down the side of its neck. The reason they almost went extinct was the raccoons ate most of the eggs so he took the eggs to a … [5] Males tend to maintain the same coloration pattern from birth. [9] The nesting sites are at risk of predation from animals such as coyotes, foxes, and raccoons. Spiny softshell turtles have webbed feet, each with three claws. [1], A rough-draft assembly of the A. spinifera aspera genome was completed in 2013 by the Genome Institute at Washington University - St. Louis. Please contribute your observation of this and Spiny softshells migrate between warm and cold seasons. Unlike smooth softshells, spiny softshells are often aggressive when seized, and can inflict painful bites. 2012. Spiny softshell occurrence map. They are generally observed as benthic feeders; they can either actively hunt prey or bury themselves in the sand and wait to ambush prey. Males and young turtles have an olive or grayish-tan upper shell with small black dots and circles and a black line along the margin. The wood turtle is a species of special concern in Michigan. Have declined in some areas due to pollution, exploitation, and elimination of nesting sites. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan: A Quaternary and Recent Faunal Adventure. Shell color varies with age and sex. Usually with two black-bordered yellowish stripes on each side of the head behind eye and jaw. Spotted turtle. The assembly ASM38561v1 can be accessed via its Genbank accession ID APJP00000000.1 [1], A spiny softshell turtle basking in the sun, Phylogenetic arrangement of turtles based on, harvnb error: no target: CITEREFFritz_&_Havaš2007 (, "Multiple data sets, high homoplasy, and the phylogeny of softshell turtles (Testudines: Trionychidae)", "Effects of habitat disturbance on survival rates of softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera) in an urban streatm", California Turtle & Tortoise Club: Softshell Turtles, "Turtles of the world, 2011 update: Annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution and conservation status", Drawing of skull of Spiny Softshell Turtle, Northern New Guinea giant softshell turtle, turtles of the world 2017 update: Annotated checklist and atlas of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution, and conservation status, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Spiny_softshell_turtle&oldid=992495508, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 5 December 2020, at 15:53. Unlike most other turtles, their shell is soft, flat, and rubbery. carolina, painted turtle Chrysemys picta, red-eared slider Trachemys scripta elegans, spotted turtle Clemmys guttata, wood turtle Glyptemys insculpta); and Family Trionychidae (spiny softshell turtle Apalone spinifera spinifera). Unlike the carapace of most turtles, the carapace does not have scutes, and the hind end is flexible. The variation in coloration, size, and spine presence indicates that this species exhibits sexual dimorphism. The Spiny Softshell Turtle becomes sexually mature between ages 8 and 10. She can lay between 9 and 38 round, calcareous-shelled eggs. Female spiny softshell turtles lay their clutches along a sunny sandbar or gravel bank in a cavity that they dig close to water as quickly as possible (usually within an hour). [3] This is caused by loss of keratinized scutes and some bony tissue loss. There are several subspeciesof the Spiny Softshell Turtle, but one thing that makes all of them interesting is their unique shell. The Spiny softshell turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtle species in North America. Holman. Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio After paddling a kayak through parts of the Cass River, the Shiawassee, and the Tittabawassee you can get a good view of Greenpoint at … Frequently bask on river banks and logs, but flee quickly if disturbed. [4] Spiny softshells prefer waters with sandy bottoms and clean, sandy banks. other species to the, Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region by Jim Harding. Michigan Turtles and Lizards. Females have a … Smith (1961) considered Illinois populations to be mainly A. s. spinifera, but noted the influence of Western Spiny Softshell, A. Holman, J. There are two subfamilies, and thirteen different genuses, of softshell turtles. Basking spots and sandy nesting areas are important components of suitable habitat. These turtles easily recognized by their lack of hardened scutes upon their shells, resulting in a leathery, somewhat flexible shell. Status: Locally common in the western part of its Great Lakes range but uncommon to rare and local in the east. The spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera) is a species of softshell turtle, one of the largest freshwater turtle species in North America. Both carapace and plastron lack scutes and are soft and rubbery with flexible edges. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Press. Barko, V., J. Briggler. Of these, nine are native to Michigan, with the red-eared slider introduced from pet releases (Harding 1997). Bartholomew, P. 2002. 1.2 – 1.6” long with circular, tan or olive brown carapace with pattern of dark spots or circles and a light border. They may burrow into the sand under shallow water for a long period of time. MSU Cooperative Extension Service and MSU Museum. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 5: 225-231. The turtles also occur in the lake to depths of 20 feet or more, though this is more often the case during the winter. Spiny Softshell Turtle . The turtles mate in mid-to-late spring in deep water. 1912. The spiny softshell can be found in bodies of fresh water including ponds, lakes, rivers, tributaries, and streams. Geographic Range. [6], The species was first described by Charles Alexandre Lesueur in 1827. They are often in areas with soft bottom substrate having some aquatic vegetation that the turtles use for foraging and escape cover. Smooth softshell turtles are medium or large turtles that live in freshwater. and J.A. A large female turtle may live up to 50 years. Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern, Central North America. A. spinifera turtles are bimodal breathers, meaning they have the ability (to some degree) to perform oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange by breathing air or while breathing underwater. Both the common name, spiny softshell, and the specific name, spinifera (spine-bearing), refer to the spiny, cone-like projections on the leading edge of the carapace, which are not scutes (scales). Scientific Name: Apalone spinifera spinifera The turtle nests more than once during a single season. Midland smooth softshell (Apalone mutica) and spiny softshell (Apalone spinifera) turtles in the middle Mississippi River: Habitat associations, population structure, and implications for conservation. The spiny softshell turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtle species in North America. Conant, R., and Collins, J. T. 1998. Spiny soft-shell turtle. Indiana's Spiny Softshells (Apalone spinifera) belong to a single subspecies--the Eastern Spiny Softshell (A. s. spinifera). They can be distinguished from other turtle species by their carapace. Habitat: Rivers and larger streams, inland lakes, reservoirs, and even protected bays and river mouth areas in Great Lakes. Harding, J.H. They are called softshell turtles because their back shell is covered by skin, instead of by hard plates. The colors usually range from olive-gray to yellow-brown. Apr 8, 2015 - Soft Shell Attracts Seed Pods, photo by David Mayer One of the most popular posts on Michigan in Pictures is Know Your Michigan Turtles where we now have 8 of Michigan’s 10 turtle species profiled. This turtle has a long neck, and its snout resembles a snorkel. Another distinguishing feature of softshell turtles is the presence of a fleshy, elongated nose. Taxonomy. Smooth, flat, oval or round carapace and long piglike snout. Adult Coloration: New hatchlings have a curled shell and turned up nose, which unfold within a day or two after emergence. Crystal Thompson and Helen Thompson; Memoranda towards a bibliography of the archaeology of Michigan, by Harlan I. Smith; prepared under the direction of Alexander G. Ruthven. Feet often streaked or mottled with yellow and black. A few months later, the female turtle quickly lays her eggs along a sunny sandbar or gravel bank in a flask-shaped cavity she has dug close to the water. Females are much larger than males (9.4 – 18.9” vs. 5 – 9.4” carapace length). The other turtles native to Michigan are Blanding's turtle, snapping turtle, musk turtle, spotted turtle, wood turtle, eastern box turtle, common map turtle, and eastern spiny softshell turtle. Juvenile Characteristics: The painted turtle, the map turtle, the Blanding’s, the snapper, the wood turtle, each of these Michigan reptiles I had repeatedly captured and possessed at one time or another. They commonly consume insects, crayfish, fish, algal stocks and other plant material, and mussels. A variety of factors allow for these turtles to perform respiration underwater. Apalone spinifera occupies areas from central-eastern U.S. (western New York and southern Carolina) to Wisconsin and from Minnesota and southern Ontario as far south as Mexico. Some special aspects of the husbandry of soft-shell turtles (Reptilia, Testudinae, Trionichidae) at the Moscow Zoo. In each season, turtles generally stay in a single zone, and they move more within their zone during warm months. Coloration also varies between each subspecies, and the exact coloration can also depend on an individual turtle's environment. Spiny softshell turtles are cryptically colored, meaning that their coloration helps them blend in with their surrounding environment. The spiny softshell turtle's scientific name is very descriptive of the animal. ... University of Michigan (510):1-19: The subspecies is native to the United States and can be found from Montana at the western edge of its range to Vermont and Quebec on the eastern edge. The shell is shaped like an oval, and doesn't have spines on the front edge. The male will nudge the female's head while swimming, and if she chooses to mate, the male will swim above the female without clasping her with his claws (unlike other turtles). The common name, spiny softshell, refers to the spiny, cone-like projections on the leading edge of the turtle's carapace, which are not scutes (scales). These spines are more commonly found in males. Ruthven, A. G., H. B. T. Gaige, et al. They can be found in areas with varying levels of vegetation, and although they are generally found in more slow-moving waters, this species can be found in fast-moving waters than other, less-aquatic species of turtles. A. Both the common name, spiny softshell, and the specific name, spinifera (spine-bearing), refer to the spiny, cone-like projections on the leading edge of the carapace, which are not scutes (scales). The eggs are laid around July and September, and they hatch in the spring. Spiny Softshell Turtle . They mate in mid to late spring in deep water. The Spiny… Nearly extirpated from western Lake Ontario, were reportedly common just a few decades ago. Open habitats with little aquatic vegetation favored over those with dense vegetation. The spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera) is a species of softshell turtle, one of the largest freshwater turtle species in North America. They are olive to gray or tan with black speckles and a yellow border on the carapace and a pale or yellowish plastron. Adult spiny softshell turtles are found in the littoral zone, marshes and tributary streams to Lake Champlain. Head, neck, and legs tan or olive above and speckled or mottled with black. The edges of the carapace are pliable with small spines (males have more than females). 2007). Michigan Turtles are important to humans for many reasons: some species eat insects, some species recycle dead animals, Box Turtleshelp disperse berry seeds, Snapping Turtlesand sometimes Spiny Softshell Turtlesare used for human food. Species Confused With: The wood turtle almost went extinct until a MSU researcher found a wood turtle that layed about 8 eggs. Preferred HabitatSoftshells prefer permanent streams or creeks with a sandy or muddy bottom and sandy beaches. The spiny softshell has a flattened, oval or round top shell (carapace) that is olive or light brown, with short, spiny projections along the front edge (Gibbs et al. This breed is suitable for individuals who are already experienced in keeping turtles, as they do have specific requirements that could make them difficult to keep as a pet, especially if you are a beginner. Both species of softshell turtle in Kansas are capable of remaining submerged for long periods of time due to the ability to remove oxygen from the water through membranes in the mouth. Only the Eastern Spiny Softshell, A. s. spinifera is found in Illinois. Spotted turtle occurrence map. Spiny softshell turtles reach adulthood between the ages of 8 to 10 years old. Sandy environments are important for nesting sites, proper juvenile growth and development, and camouflage. Lansing, Mich., Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford, State Printers. The herpetology of Michigan, by Alexander B. Ruthven. The namesake spines are found along the anterior border of the carapace and are more commonly found in males. Spiny softshells can be found in large rivers, lakes and reservoirs, especially those with muddy or sandy bottoms. J. Apalone comes from the Greek word apalos, meaning soft or tender, and spinifera is of Latin origin; spina- referring to thorn or spine and -ifer meaning bearing. The spiny softshell has a wide range, extending throughout much of the United States, as well as north into the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and south into the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila and Chihuahua.[1]. A large female turtle may live up to 50 years. The carapace length ranges from 18-54 cm, with females growing larger than males. Spiny softshell turtles feed on a variety of food items. Notes on the courtship and mating behavior of the softshell turtle, Trionyx muticus (Reptilia, Testudines, Trionychidae). These markings, which are distinct as hatchlings, fade as the turtles grow larger. The northern spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera spinifera) is a subspecies of soft-shelled turtle in the family Trionychidae. The Michigan Herp Atlas began in 2004 in an effort to collect observational data about … Detroit, Mich., Wayne State University Press. The spotted turtle is threatened in Michigan. Spiny softshell turtles have a flattened, leathery carapace, which is somewhat flexible. Size: 5 – 18.9” (adult carapace length) Softshells come out of the water in sheltered places and bask in the sun for hour… Unlike in other turtles, in the spiny softshell turtle, the sex of the hatchlings is not determined by temperature variations; it is determined by genetics. You can click that link for the list of all of them and read on to learn about the soft shell turtle. Six subspecies of A. spinifera are recognized, including the nominate subspecies:[10], A previously recognized subspecies, Apalone spinifera hartwegi (Conant & Goin, 1941), has been synonymized to A. s. spinifera as of 2011. On this morning, I walked outside to make a few casts off of our dock. Tolerate relatively swift current but prefer sand or mud bottom and usually avoid streams with sharp-edged rocks or coarse gravel. Carapace of most turtles, the species was first described by Charles Alexandre Lesueur in.! In the Cass river within the Shiawassee National Wildlife refuge lay between 9 and 38 round, calcareous-shelled.... Turtles also have a … some special aspects of the husbandry of soft-shell turtles Reptilia! 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