Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera) - Wiki
Spiny Softshell Turtle
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[Photo] Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera). Date 03-Jan-2007. Author LA Dawson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Dawson)
The Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera, formerly Trionyx spiniferus) is a species of softshelled turtle, one of the largest freshwater turtle species in North America. They get their name from the spiny, cone-like projections on the leading edge of their carapace, which are not scutes (scales).
The Spiny Softshell Turtle 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 Le??n, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Baja California and Morelos.
The species was first described by Charles Alexandre Lesueur in 1827. It has been redescribed numerous times, leading to some confusion in its taxonomy. There are now seven recognized subspecies, which vary primarily by geography, and are not easily distinguishable from one another.
This turtle sexually mature between the ages of 8 to 10 years of the estimated longevity is up to 50 years in a large female turtle. They mate in mid to late spring in deep water. The male will nudge the female's headwhile swimming and if she chooses to mate, the male will swim above the female without clasping her with his claws(this is unlike other turtles). The turtle lays her eggs along a sunny sandbar or gravel bank in a flask-shaped cavity that she has dug close to water as quickley as possible. The turtle nest more than once during a single season. She lays between 9 to 38 round calcareous-shelled eggs. The eggs hatch around August and september and they can even live through the winter and hatch in the spring. Sex is not determined by temperature variatations in the spiny soft shell turtle.
- Gulf Coast Spiny Softshell Turtle, Apalone spinifera aspera (Agassiz, 1857)
- Black Spiny Softshell Turtle, Apalone spinifera ater (Webb & Legler, 1960)
- Texas Spiny Softshell Turtle, Apalone spinifera emoryi (Agassiz, 1857)
- Guadalupe Spiny Softshell Turtle, Apalone spinifera guadalupensis (Webb, 1962)
- Western Spiny Softshell Turtle, Apalone spinifera hartwegi (Conant & Goin, 1941)
- Pallid Spiny Softshell Turtle, Apalone spinifera pallida (Webb, 1962)
- Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle, Apalone spinifera spinifera (Lesueur, 1827)
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