Stripe-necked Musk Turtle

Sternotherus peltifer


Stripe-necked Musk Turtles are small, stream-dwelling, turtles found in the northern parts of the Pearl and Pascagoula drainages. They can also be found in eastern Mississippi in springs and streams. They are often lighter colored, similar to razor-backs, but usually have three distinct keels. Head and neck are usually striped or blotched with black. Skin is otherwise light brown like the carapace. Keel may be lost in older specimen. The carapace is often striped, and adult males may have very large heads.

S. peltifer from Covington Co. (MS), © Grover Brown

Identifying Traits

  • Light occasionally speckled carapace, yellowish head with black striping


Clear or sandy-bottom springs and streams


Highly aquatic species that forages on aquatic invertebrates, males may have very large head


Aquatic invertebrates such as snails, mussels, clams

Juvenile Stripe-necked Musk Turtle, © Kevin Hutcheson
Adult S. peltifer, © Kevin Hutcheson