Spiny softshell occurrence map. 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 … Species Confused With: A variety of factors allow for these turtles to perform respiration underwater. The spiny softshell turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtle species in North America. The carapace length ranges from 18-54 cm, with females growing larger than males. Barko, V., J. Briggler. Detroit, Mich., Wayne State University Press. 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. MSU Cooperative Extension Service and MSU Museum. Status: Locally common in the western part of its Great Lakes range but uncommon to rare and local in the east. Adult Coloration: There are twelve species and subspecies of spiny softshell turtles in North America.3 Today there is a large population of A. s. hartwegi in the Missouri River basin in Montana. 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). Head, neck, and legs tan or olive above and speckled or mottled with black. J. Frequently bask on river banks and logs, but flee quickly if disturbed. Spotted turtle. Lansing, Mich., Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford, State Printers. Taxonomy. 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]. Smooth softshell turtles are medium or large turtles that live in freshwater. Spiny softshell turtles also have pale lines bordered by black lines running from its head down the side of its neck. [1] It has been redescribed numerous times, leading to some confusion in its taxonomy. 1.2 – 1.6” long with circular, tan or olive brown carapace with pattern of dark spots or circles and a light border. These spines are more commonly found in males. Spiny Softshell Turtle . You can click that link for the list of all of them and read on to learn about the soft shell turtle. 1990. Holman, 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. Holman. I was eight years-old, and the one turtle I hadn’t caught was the one turtle I couldn’t catch. 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]. Females have a … A spiny softshell turtle on a log in the Cass River within the Shiawassee National Wildlife refuge. 2006. The spotted turtle is threatened in Michigan. Short, often inconspicuous spines present at front of carapace. Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern, Central North America. Midland smooth softshell (Apalone mutica) and spiny softshell (Apalone spinifera) turtles in the middle Mississippi River: Habitat associations, population structure, and implications for conservation. Hatchlings usually have dark spots on the carapace, but as females age, they frequently become darker in color, or their carapace becomes splotched. other species to the, Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region by Jim Harding. Harding, J.H. ... University of Michigan (510):1-19: 7th Annual Reptile Symposium on Captive Reproduction & Husbandry, Dallas, TX, p. 54-58. Have declined in some areas due to pollution, exploitation, and elimination of nesting sites. Tolerate relatively swift current but prefer sand or mud bottom and usually avoid streams with sharp-edged rocks or coarse gravel. Spiny softshell turtles feed on a variety of food items. Spiny soft-shell turtle. 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. [5] Overview Overview. They are called softshell turtles because their back shell is covered by skin, instead of by hard plates. Plastron white or pale yellow with underlying bones visible as gray patches. A large female turtle may live up to 50 years. 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. Geographic Range. The reason they almost went extinct was the raccoons ate most of the eggs so he took the eggs to a … 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. They are generally observed as benthic feeders; they can either actively hunt prey or bury themselves in the sand and wait to ambush prey. 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. and J.A. Usually with two black-bordered yellowish stripes on each side of the head behind eye and jaw. [6], The species was first described by Charles Alexandre Lesueur in 1827. Spiny softshells begin mating between ages 8 and 10. 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. 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). Size: 5 – 18.9” (adult carapace length) [3] This is caused by loss of keratinized scutes and some bony tissue loss. The eggs are laid around July and September, and they hatch in the spring. This has led to their low tolerance of hypoxic waters; this becomes especially important during times of hibernation, when these turtles must choose hibernacula that are unlikely to become hypoxic. A large female turtle may live up to 50 years. The Spiny softshell turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtle species in North America. There are several subspeciesof the Spiny Softshell Turtle, but one thing that makes all of them interesting is their unique shell. Unlike smooth softshells, spiny softshells are often aggressive when seized, and can inflict painful bites. Coloration also varies between each subspecies, and the exact coloration can also depend on an individual turtle's environment. The shell is shaped like an oval, and doesn't have spines on the front edge. The Northern Spiny Softshell turtle, also known as the Eastern spiny softshell turtle, is the most popular subspecies of spiny softshell turtles. 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. Softshell Turtle eggs are spherical like Snapping Turtle eggs, but are smaller and have a less rigid shell. All four feet fully webbed. 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. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 5: 225-231. They have an increase of cutaneous surface area and blood flow, reduction in lung size, and increase of respiratory epithelium in the cloaca and buccopharynx. They may burrow into the sand under shallow water for a long period of time. The Spiny… The colors usually range from olive-gray to yellow-brown. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan: A Quaternary and Recent Faunal Adventure. 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. Adult Characteristics: They mate in mid to late spring in deep water. 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. Ruthven, A. G., H. B. T. Gaige, et al. Adult spiny softshell turtles are found in the littoral zone, marshes and tributary streams to Lake Champlain. Habitat: Rivers and larger streams, inland lakes, reservoirs, and even protected bays and river mouth areas in Great Lakes. 2007). Softshells utilize a variety of habitats to fulfill daily and seasonal requirements. Of these, nine are native to Michigan, with the red-eared slider introduced from pet releases (Harding 1997). New hatchlings have a curled shell and turned up nose, which unfold within a day or two after emergence. Some special aspects of the husbandry of soft-shell turtles (Reptilia, Testudinae, Trionichidae) at the Moscow Zoo. The Michigan Herp Atlas began in 2004 in an effort to collect observational data about … Conant, R., and Collins, J. T. 1998. 96 pp. Basking spots and sandy nesting areas are important components of suitable habitat. 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. The spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera) is a species of softshell turtle, one of the largest freshwater turtle species in North America. 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. She can lay between 9 and 38 round, calcareous-shelled eggs. On this morning, I walked outside to make a few casts off of our dock. Smooth, flat, oval or round carapace and long piglike snout. Brad Shaffer (USGS) Characteristics The Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone Spinifera) has a very flat almost pancake like carapace with flexible edges that is covered with leathery skin. They inhabit shallow water (less than 1 m deep), but can also be found as far as 10 m deep. 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. Shell color varies with age and sex. Unlike the carapace of most turtles, the carapace does not have scutes, and the hind end is flexible. Spiny softshell turtles have webbed feet, each with three claws. The namesake spines are found along the anterior border of the carapace and are more commonly found in males. Plummer, M. V. 1977. Smith (1961) considered Illinois populations to be mainly A. s. spinifera, but noted the influence of Western Spiny Softshell, A. 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). Spiny softshell turtles have a flattened, leathery carapace, which is somewhat flexible. 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. 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. [1], A rough-draft assembly of the A. spinifera aspera genome was completed in 2013 by the Genome Institute at Washington University - St. Louis. Spiny softshells can be found in large rivers, lakes and reservoirs, especially those with muddy or sandy bottoms. [4] Spiny softshells prefer waters with sandy bottoms and clean, sandy banks. This turtle has a long neck, and its snout resembles a snorkel. 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. The turtle nests more than once during a single season. "Spiny softshell turtle" (On-line). Females are much larger than males (9.4 – 18.9” vs. 5 – 9.4” carapace length). 2012. The spiny softshell turtle's scientific name is very descriptive of the animal. There are two subfamilies, and thirteen different genuses, of softshell turtles. Softshells come out of the water in sheltered places and bask in the sun for hour… Nearly extirpated from western Lake Ontario, were reportedly common just a few decades ago. The spiny softshell can be found in bodies of fresh water including ponds, lakes, rivers, tributaries, and streams. In each season, turtles generally stay in a single zone, and they move more within their zone during warm months. They commonly consume insects, crayfish, fish, algal stocks and other plant material, and mussels. Wood turtle occurrence map. 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. Softshell Turtle eggs are spherical like Snapping Turtle eggs, but are smaller and have a less rigid shell. The turtles mate in mid-to-late spring in deep water. The Spiny Softshell Turtle becomes sexually mature between ages 8 and 10. Spiny softshell turtles reach adulthood between the ages of 8 to 10 years old. Softshell turtles are a large group of reptiles in the family Trionychidae. Scientific Name: Apalone spinifera spinifera [9] The nesting sites are at risk of predation from animals such as coyotes, foxes, and raccoons. 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. 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. Indiana's Spiny Softshells (Apalone spinifera) belong to a single subspecies--the Eastern Spiny Softshell (A. s. spinifera). 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. They can be distinguished from other turtle species by their carapace. Unlike most other turtles, their shell is soft, flat, and rubbery. Spiny softshell turtles are cryptically colored, meaning that their coloration helps them blend in with their surrounding environment. Spiny Softshell Turtle . Males tend to maintain the same coloration pattern from birth. Spiny softshells migrate between warm and cold seasons. These turtles easily recognized by their lack of hardened scutes upon their shells, resulting in a leathery, somewhat flexible shell. Michigan Turtles and Lizards. Feet often streaked or mottled with yellow and black. Preferred HabitatSoftshells prefer permanent streams or creeks with a sandy or muddy bottom and sandy beaches. 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). Another distinguishing feature of softshell turtles is the presence of a fleshy, elongated nose. These markings, which are distinct as hatchlings, fade as the turtles grow larger. 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. The eastern subspecies is Apalone spinifera spinifera (Le Sueur, 1827). A. Juvenile Characteristics: No other Great Lakes turtle has a flat, scuteless carapace and tubular nose. Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) Huge, up to 20 inches long adult carapace. The northern spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera spinifera) is a subspecies of soft-shelled turtle in the family Trionychidae. 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). Smooth Softshell (Apalone mutica), a Special Concern species, is exclusively a large river species, and has a preference for clean water and sandy substrates.The Chippewa, Lower Black, Mississippi, and Lower Wisconsin Rivers encompass its known range in WI. Open habitats with little aquatic vegetation favored over those with dense vegetation. The turtles also occur in the lake to depths of 20 feet or more, though this is more often the case during the winter. Males also have a slightly granular carapace surface and a longer thicker tail that can project well beyond rear carapace margin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Press. The wood turtle is a species of special concern in Michigan. The Eastern Spiny Softshell has the broadest distribution of all recognized subspecies and is found throughout the northern two-thirds of the aforementioned regions. The edges of the carapace are pliable with small spines (males have more than females). This species is active from April through September and overwinters by burrowing in sandy substrate in … Notes on the courtship and mating behavior of the softshell turtle, Trionyx muticus (Reptilia, Testudines, Trionychidae). Please contribute your observation of this and 1912. They are olive to gray or tan with black speckles and a yellow border on the carapace and a pale or yellowish plastron. Spiny softshell turtles are more dependent on underwater respiration than other freshwater species. In the case of younger individuals well defined round spots can be observed on the shell, in the case of adults those spots are not very visible. The herpetology of Michigan, by Alexander B. Ruthven. 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. Bartholomew, P. 2002. No other Great Lakes turtle has a flat, scuteless carapace and tubular nose. [7] The recognized subspecies differ in the markings on their carapaces, on the sides of their heads, and on their feet. The variation in coloration, size, and spine presence indicates that this species exhibits sexual dimorphism. Only the Eastern Spiny Softshell, A. s. spinifera is found in Illinois. They are often in areas with soft bottom substrate having some aquatic vegetation that the turtles use for foraging and escape cover. Sandy environments are important for nesting sites, proper juvenile growth and development, and camouflage. Spotted turtle occurrence map. 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. Description: The Eastern Spiny Softshell has a leather like shell that is very round and flattened, when comparing it to other turtles. The wood turtle almost went extinct until a MSU researcher found a wood turtle that layed about 8 eggs. 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). Wood turtle. Or tan spiny softshell turtle michigan black a subspecies of spiny softshell turtle becomes sexually mature between 8. 10 m deep a leathery, somewhat flexible of fresh water including ponds lakes! Makes all of them interesting is their unique shell which is somewhat flexible ). Softshells prefer waters with sandy bottoms as coyotes, foxes, and hatch... 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