Chordates •

Yellow-blotched map turtle

(Graptemys flavimaculata)



The yellow-blotched map turtle (Graptemys flavimaculata), or yellow-blotched sawback, is a species of turtle in the family Emydidae. It is part of the narrow-headed group of map turtles, and is endemic to the southern United States. Yellow-blotched map turtles are medium- to small-sized turtles, with males ranging from 3.5 to 4.5 in (9-11.5 cm) in carapace length as adults. Adult females are larger, about 5 to 7.5 in (13–19 cm) in carapace length. The yellow-blotched map turtle has the highest central keel of all map turtles. This species is listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act due to a recent decline. This can be attributed to a low reproductive frequency as compared with most other map turtles. A high level of nest mortality due to fish crow predation and river flooding are also attributed to endangerment. Unexpectedly high occurrences of nesting in shaded areas could possibly be attributed to human disturbances on and near sandbars, which raises mortality rates. Also, its habitat suffers from pollution and agricultural changes to water levels, affecting nesting beaches. "Turtle plinking", shooting turtles for casual target practice, kills significant portions of this endangered turtle's population each year. Since yellow-blotched map turtles are freshwater turtles mainly found in the Pascagoula River of Mississippi, human disturbances like an increase in boats in the area of inhabitance, also leads to many physiological issues due to less time to bask or endangerment of the nest. Its distribution is limited to the Pascagoula River of Mississippi and most of its tributaries (a range it shares with the Pascagoula map turtle). Males have a mean home range area of 1.12 ha (2.77 acres) and a mean home range length of 1.8 km (1.1 mi). Females have a mean home range area of 5.75 ha (14.20 acres), due to nesting activities, and a mean home range length of 1.5 km (0.93 mi). Yellow-blotched map turtles feed mostly on insects, but are opportunistic feeders, so also consume crustaceans, fish, and some fresh plant matter. Graptemys is a genus of freshwater turtles containing 14 species, commonly known as map turtles. Graptemys are small to medium-sized turtles that are sexually dimorphic, with females attaining as much as twice the length and ten times the mass as males in some species.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Reptilia
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