Ringed Map Turtle

Graptemys oculifera (State Status: S2; imperiled)

Description

The Ringed Map Turtle, or Ringed Sawback, is a brightly-colored map turtle found exclusively in drainages directly related to the Pearl River. These turtles may be highly abundant in many parts of their habitat. Shells are nearly circular or slightly oval-shaped, with pronounced ridge of dorsal spines (hence “sawback”). The species is identified with its notable yellow ringed markings on the carapace. Ringed map turtles, like many turtles species, exhibit sexual dimorphism, with females being many times as large as some males. They also exhibit microcephalic head dimensions (compared to their inhabiting conspecific Graptemys pearlensis). Map turtles often bask on branches, logs, and other vegetative matter, often angled at 45°.

Male recently emerged to bask, St. Tammany Par. (LA)

Identifying Traits

  • Yellow ring on each carapace scute, color is reduced on older individuals
Range

Habitat

Rivers, tributaries, and oxbow lakes related to the Pearl River system

Behavior

Map turtles often bask on branches, logs, and other vegetative matter, often angled at 45°. 

Diet

Aquatic invertebrates such as snails, crustaceans

Basking adult, Marion Co. (MS), © Grover Brown
Basking female, St. Tammany Par. (LA)