YELLOW MUD TURTLE
Kinosternon flavescens (Agassiz, 1857)
kī-nō-stĭr-nŏn — flā-vĕs-ĭns


Conservation Status:

State: None

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S5 - Secure
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure
CITES: None

An adult specimen from New Mexico. Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.

Description:
A small semi-aquatic turtle with a light brown shell. The bottom shell has two moveable hinges. Head and limbs are grayish, but the chin is typically yellow. The tail ends in a horny, clawlike tip and is much bigger in males.
Adults normally 100- 125 mm (4- 5 inches) in carapace length: largest specimen from Kansas: sex undetermined (FHSM 9661) from Rooks County with carapace length of 146 mm (5¾ inches) collected by Chad Whitney on 3 October 2004; maximum carapace length throughout range: 6 3/8 inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

Distribution:
Yellow mud turtles inhabit aquatic systems, preferably with muddy bottoms, such as ponds, cattle tanks, and lakes. They also commonly are found in canals, ditches and other slow-moving waterways.
Well represented throughout the Arkansas River drainage and the western reaches of the Kansas River drainages. Evidently in isolated populations along the Kansas River and possibly the Marais des Cygnes, Neosho, and Verdigris drainages, although these records are in need of corroboration. The record Pottawatomie County is supported by the occurrence of this species along the Missouri River in western Missouri. An isolated population persists in Labette and Cherokee counties in extreme southeastern Kansas.
Specimens exist for Greenwood (MCZ 8432, USNM 55751, CAS 33399), Franklin (KU 3029-30), and Wallace (MCZ 5837, KU 302-3, AMNH 2671-2) counties but their respective localities are only given to the county, and therefore cannot be mapped precisely. Additionally, Iverson (1979) questioned the records from Franklin and Greenwood counties but pointed out the possibility that these populations may represent relict populations. These records were rejected (J. T. Collins, personal communication 16 May 2005 [also see Collins (1982)]) due to the ambiguous nature of their respective localities, and the absence of supporting records for the intervening 90 years.
The record(s) mapped by Collins (1993) from Ford County, are unknown and not mapped.
(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 517
    Records 
  • 466
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 51
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Barber (27); Barton (8); Cherokee (3); Cheyenne (6); Clark (4); Comanche (9); Cowley (5); Crawford (1); Edwards (9); Ellis (35); Ellsworth (2); Finney (1); Franklin (2); Gove (1); Graham (3); Grant (2); Gray (1); Greenwood (5); Hamilton (16); Harper (12); Harvey (3); Hodgeman (1); Kearney (1); Kingman (17); Kiowa (3); Labette (1); Lincoln (1); Logan (7); McPherson (2); Meade (79); Mitchell (1); Morton (35); Ness (1); Ottawa (1); Pawnee (1); Phillips (2); Pottawatomie (1); Pratt (2); Reno (13); Rice (9); Rooks (3); Rush (1); Russell (2); Saline (5); Scott (3); Sedgwick (2); Seward (7); Sheridan (1); Stafford (128); Stanton (1); Stevens (1); Sumner (3); Trego (13); Unknown (6); Wallace (7);

Natural History:
Occur in a wide variety of aquatic habitats, including ponds, sloughs, ditches, windmill overflow ponds, wetlands, and playas. They consume a wide variety of food items including aquatic vegetation, insects, amphibians, and carrion. Yellow Mud Turtles are capable of aestivation (summer hibernation) during hot dry periods when water bodies may dry up. They do so by burrowing underground. Females may lay clutches of up to 7 eggs in these burrows. They may be noticed crossing roads as they move from one water body to another. Hatchling mud turtles are less than an inch. They have small yellow dots present on the edge of the carapace, and no vertebral keel.

Occurrence Activity:
White dates indicate there is at least a single recorded occurrence on that date. The darker blue a date is, the greater the relative number of observations for that date.
Observation Type: (of recorded types)
Remarks:
Cragin (1885) reported a specimen from Trego County (as Cinosternum pennsylvanicum [=Kinosternon subrubrum] in error), "in the cabinet of the State Agricultural College.", collected by S. C. Mason.
Cornelius Rogers found six of these turtles under a small pile of drift at the edge of a dry pond in drought-stricken Barber County, Kansas, on August 13, 1934, where they were buried together with the larger examples on top (Burt, 1935).


Bibliography:
1885 Cragin, Francis W. Recent additions to the list of Kansas reptiles and batrachians, with further notes on species previously reported. Bulletin of the Washburn College Laboratory of Natural History 1(3):100-103
1885 Cragin, Francis W. Second contribution to the herpetology of Kansas, with observations on the Kansas fauna. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 9():136-140
1886 Cragin, Francis W. Miscellaneous notes. Bulletin of the Washburn College Laboratory of Natural History 1(6):188
1928 Burt, Charles E. Some distributional and ecological records of Kansas reptiles. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 26():186-208
1929 Taylor, Edward H. List of reptiles and batrachians of Morton County, Kansas, reporting species new to the state fauna. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 19(6):63-65
1933 Stejneger, Leonhard and Thomas Barbour. A Checklist of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 3rd Edition. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp.
1933 Taylor, Edward H. Observations on the courtship of turtles. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 21(6):269-271
1934 Brennan, Lawrence A. A check list of the amphibians and reptiles of Ellis County, Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():189-191
1934 Burt, Charles E. and W. L. Hoyle. Additional records of the reptiles of the central prairie region of the United States. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():193-216
1935 Brennan, Lawrence A. Notes on the Distribution of Amphibia and Reptilia of Ellis County, Kansas. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 114pp.
1935 Burt, Charles E. Further records of the ecology and distribution of amphibians and reptiles in the middle west. American Midland Naturalist 16(3):311-366
1935 Burt, Charles E. and William L. Hoyle. Additional records of the reptiles of the central prairie region of the United States Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():193-216
1937 Brennan, Lawrence A. A study of the habitat of reptiles and amphibians of Ellis County, Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 40():341-347
1944 Marr, John C. Notes on amphibians and reptiles from the central United States. American Midland Naturalist 32(2):478-490
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
1956 Clarke, Robert F. Identification of Kansas turtles. Kansas School Naturalist 2(4):1-3
1956 Clarke, Robert F. Turtles in Kansas. Kansas School Naturalist 2(4):1-15
1956 Loomis, Richard B. The chigger mites of Kansas (Acarina, Trombiculidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37():1195-1443
1958 Clarke, Robert F., John Breukelman, and T. F. Andrews. An annotated check list of the vertebrates of Lyon County, Kansas Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 62(2):165-195
1962 Gish, Charles D. The Herpetofauna of Ellis County, Kansas. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 34pp.
1969 Fichter, Lynn S. Geographical distribution and osteological variation in fossil and recent specimens of two species of Kinosternon (Testudines). Journal of Herpetology 3(3-4):113-119
1969 Mahmoud, I. Y Comparative ecology of the kinosternid turtles of Oklahoma. Southwestern Naturalist 14():31-66
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
1974 Karns, Daryl, Ray E. Ashton, Jr., and Thomas Swearingen. Illustrated Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas: An Identification Manual. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History Public Education Series(2):viii + 18
1974 Perry, Janice. KHS members take trip to southwest Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (3):2-3
1976 Caldwell, Janalee P. and Gregory. Glass. Vertebrates of the Woodson County State Fishing Lake and Game Management Area. Pages 62-76 in Preliminary inventory of the biota of Woodson County State Fishing Lake and Game Management Area. Report No. 5. State Biological Survey of Kansas, Lawrence. pp.
1976 Capron, Marty and Jan Perry. A July weekend in Great Bend. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (14):1-2
1976 Rundquist, Eric M. Field checklist (of) amphibians and reptiles of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society, Lawrence. pp.
1977 Irwin, Kelly J. KHS Ottawa County meeting profitable. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (20):1-2
1977 Knight, James L. and Joseph T. Collins. The amphibians and reptiles of Cheyenne County, Kansas, Report Number 15. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 19pp.
1978 Conant, Roger and James F. Berry. Turtles of the family Kinosternidae in the Southwestern United States and adjacent Mexico: Identification and distribution. American Museum Novitates (2642):1-18
1978 Kern, Anita, Leslie Rice, and Michelle Warner. The turtles of Sumner County, Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (27):10-11
1978 Schwaner, Terry D. KHS field trip to Grant County, Kansas, 12-14 May 1978. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (25):3-4
1978 Seidel, Michael. Kinosternon flavescens. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (216):1-4
1979 Gray, Peter and Eddie Stegall. A field trip to the Red Hills. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (29):6-8
1980 Clarke, Robert F. Herptiles and fishes of the western Arkansas River in Kansas. United States Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 55pp.
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
1983 Collins, Joseph T. New records of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles in Kansas for 1982 . Technical Publication of the State Biological Survey of Kansas 13():9-21
1984 Berry, James F. and Cynthia M. Berry. A re-analysis of geographic variation and systematics in the Yellow Mud Turtle Kinosternon flavescens (Agassiz). Annals of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History 53(7):185-206
1984 Collins, Joseph T. New records of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles in Kansas for 1983. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (56):15-26
1985 Miller, Larry L. KHS 1985 field trip to Kirwin Reservoir. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (61):11-12
1986 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1986. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (66):9-16
1986 Kangas, D. A. Population size and some statistical predictors of abundance of Kinosternon flavescens in north Missouri Transactions of the Missouri Academy of Science 20():98
1986 Webster, C Substrate preference and activity in the turtle Kinosternon flavescens flavescens Journal of Herpetology 20():477-482
1987 Capron, Marty. Selected observations on south-central Kansas turtles Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (67):13-15
1987 Irwin, K. J. and J. T. Collins Amphibians and reptiles of Cheyenne Bottoms. Cheyenne Bottoms: an environmental assessment Kansas Biological Survey and the Kansas Geological Survey, Lawrence. pp.
1988 Miller, Larry L. Harper County KHS field trip well attended. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (72):5-6
1989 Collins, Joseph T. First Kansas herp counts held in 1989. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (77):11-
1989 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1989. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (78):16-21
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Maximum size records for Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):13-17
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Results of second Kansas herp count held during April-May 1990. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):10-12
1991 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1990. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (83):7-13
1991 Collins, Joseph T. Results of third Kansas herp count held during April-May 1991. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (85):9-13
1991 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Cimarron National Grasslands, Morton County, Kansas. U. S. Forest Service, Elkhart, Kansas. 60pp.
1991 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1992 Collins, Joseph T. Results of the fourth Kansas herp count held during April-May 1992. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (89):10-
1992 Taggart, Travis W. KHS field trips. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (91):3
1992 Taggart, Travis W. Kinosternon flavescens. Geographic distribution. Herpetological Review 23():88
1992 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS annual field trip to Sheridan County State Lake. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (90):3-4
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the fifth Kansas herp count held during April-June 1993 . Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (94):7-11
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
1994 Ernst, C. H., R. W. Barbour, and J. E. Lovich Turtles of the United States and Canada Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., USA. pp.
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. Additions and corrections [to the results of the sixth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1994]. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (98):4
1995 Reichard, Kirk, Todd Duncan, Hobart M. Smith, and David Chiszar. Herpetological microbiogeography of Kansas I: Quantitative summary. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (102):6-10
1995 Rundquist, Eric M. Additional KHS herp counts for 1995. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (102):11-
1995 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the seventh annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1995. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (101):11-17
1996 Rakestraw, J. Spring herp counts: A Kansas tradition. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine (March-April):75-80
1996 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the eighth annual KHS herp counts Held 1 April-31 May 1996. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (104):6-17
1997 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1996. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (107):14-16
1997 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the ninth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1997. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (108):12-17
1998 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1998 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the tenth annual KHS herp counts for 1998, held 1 April-31 May. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (112):11-18
1999 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas Herpetological Society herp counts: A 10 year summary and evaluation. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (115):42962
2000 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1999. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (119):7-9
2000 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the eleventh and twelfth annual KHS herpetofaunal counts for 1999-2000, held 1 April-31 May. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (122):11-16
2001 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the thirteenth annual KHS herp counts for 2001, held 1 April-30 June. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (125):13-16
2001 Schmidt, Curtis J. The amphibians, turtles, and reptiles of the Smoky Valley Ranch, Logan County, Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (124):9-11
2001 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS spring field trip west. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (125):10
2002 Kingsbury, Bruce and Joanna Gibson. Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Midwest. Publication of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Address not given. 152pp.
2002 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the spring 2002 KHS field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (3):6-7
2003 Taggart, Travis W. Kansas Herpetological Society 2003 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (5):3-4
2004 Delisle, Jennifer M. and William H. Busby Biological inventory for vertebrates at Fort Larned National Historic Site of the southern plains network. Natural Heritage Inventory, Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 61pp.
2004 Miller, Larry L. Sumner County herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (11):11-12
2004 Schmidt, Curtis J. and Travis W. Taggart. Life history. Kinosternon flavescens. Abnormal characteristic. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (9):7
2004 Taggart, Travis W. Geographic distribution. Kinosternon flavescens. Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (10):10
2004 Taggart, Travis W. Kansas Herpetological Society 2004 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (9):2
2004 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2004 fall feld trip . Journal of Kansas Herpetology (12):15-16
2004 Whitney, Chad, Travis W. Taggart, and Curtis J. Scmidt Kinosternon flavescens (Yellow Mud Turtle) new state maximum length. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (12):17
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Addendum report to biological inventory of the sandsage prairie near Holcomb, Kansas. Sunflower Electric Cooperative, Hays, Kansas. 31pp.
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2007 Taggart, Travis W. A biological inventory of the Sunflower Electric Site near Holcomb, Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology 23():11-16
2007 Taggart, Travis W., Joseph T. Collins, and Curtis J. Schmidt. Estimates of amphibian, reptile, and turtle mortality if Phostoxin is applied to 10,000 acres of prairie dog burrows in Logan County, Kansas. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. 5pp.
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
2010 Miller, Larry L. 2010 Investigation of the Checkered Garter Snake in Kansas with notes on other Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles encountered. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt, Kansas. 31pp.
2010 Murrow, Daniel G. Kansas Herpetological Society spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (33):2-3
2011 Taggart, Travis W. Kansas Herpetological Society 2011 spring field trip to beheld in Chautauqua County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (37):5-7
2011 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the Kansas Herpetological Society 2011 Summer Field Trip to Scott State Park Journal of Kansas Herpetology (39):2
2011 Taggart, Travis W. and Daniel Murrow. KHS to conduct summer field trip to western Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (38):5
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2013 Mardis, Dexter and Kevin Scott. 2013 Kansas Herpetofaunal Counts. Collinsorum 2(3/4):7
2013 Miller, Larry L. Wellington Lake Herpetological Survey. Collinsorum 2(1/2):12
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2013 Summer Field Trip to Coldwater Lake, Comanche County. Collinsorum 2(3/4):5
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2014 KHS Spring Field Trip to Barber County Collinsorum 3(2-4):11
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2014 KHS summer field trip to Morton County and adjacent Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Collinsorum 3(2-4):12
2015 Seim, Jeffery Population Structure and Habitat Association of Aquatic Testudines in Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 66pp.
2015 Taggart, Travis W. Summer Field Trip In The Harvey County Sandhills. Collinsorum 4(3):3
2016 Powell, Robert, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 494pp.
2017 Taggart, Travis W. and J. Daren Riedle. A Pocket Guide to Kansas Amphibians, Turtles and Lizards. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Kansas. 69pp.
2020 Riedle, J. Daren. Revisiting Kansas Herpetological Society field trip and Herp Count data: Distributional patterns and trend data of Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Collinsorum 9(1):7-16
2020 Roberts, Kory G. Arkansas Herpetological Atlas 2019: Distributions of Amphibians and Reptiles. http://www.herpsofarkansas.com/wiki/uploads/Herp/Atlas/arherpatlas2019.pdf, . 172pp.
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6/26/2018 4:39:47 PM