NORTHERN MAP TURTLE
Graptemys geographica (LeSueur 1817)
grăp-tĕm-ēz — gē-ō-gră-fĭ-kă


Conservation Status:

State: Kansas Threatened Species

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S2 - Imperiled
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure
CITES: Appendix III

A adult female (left) and an adult male (right) Northern Map Turtle basking on a log in Shoal Creek, Cherokee County. © Jenn Rader.
A juvenile Northern Map Turtle. Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.

Description:
Northern Map turtles derive their name from the lines on their carapace, which resemble roadways or waterways on a map. The margins of the carapace are serrated. The head, limbs, and tail are brownish and covered with yellow stripes. It can be differentiated from other map turtles in Kansas by the yellow spot behind each eye. Females have broader heads and are twice the size of males.
Adults normally 90-253 mm (3½-10 inches) in carapace length; largest specimen from Kansas: female (KU Color Slide 8872) from Osage County with a carapace length of 226 mm (8 7/8 inches) collected by Lenn Shipman and Warren Voorhees on 3 July 1990; maximum carapace length throughout the range: 10 5/8 inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

Distribution:
The Northern Map turtle is known from the Marais des Cygnes, Verdigris, and Caney drainage systems in eastern Kansas. This species inhabits slow-moving stretches and backwaters of rivers, streams, and lakes.
Additional records (both from 1911) exist for Montgomery (KU 3267) and Wilson (KU 3285) but are too imprecise to plot. These records are mapped in Collins (1993).
(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
Open icons are questionable records; Click on a marker to view details. Export Google Earth (.kml)
  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 23
    Records 
  • 14
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 9
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (2); Anderson (4); Bourbon (1); Chautauqua (1); Cherokee (3); Franklin (2); Johnson (2); Montgomery (1); Osage (2); Unknown (2); Wilson (2);

Natural History:
Northern Map Turtles prefer slow-moving waters where they spend most of their day basking on logs or other partially submerged structures. They are attentive and will dive into the water, and swim away, at the first sign of a threat. The Northern Map Turtle is shy and retiring, usually avoiding the main stem of Kansas' larger rivers, in favor of smaller tributaries with denser canopies.
They eat crayfish, snails, mussels, and insects, which they crush with the broad surface of jaws. The diet may vary between males and females, as the larger size and enlarged head of females allow them to eat larger snails, mussels, and freshwater clams.
Females nest in the sand or soft soil above the water. Each female may lay 2-3 clutches of 10-16 leathery-shelled eggs each, from late May through early July. The eggs hatch in late summer.

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:
First reported from Kansas by Cragin (1880) from specimens observed around Ottawa. The oldest extant specimens known from Kansas are KU 3265, 3267 (Franklin County) and KU 3285 (Wilson County), all collected in 1911.
Formerly considered extirpated in Kansas (Capron, 1985), until Edds (1990, 1991) discovered six new localities in the Marais des Cygnes drainage. The Northern Map Turtle is shy and retiring, usually avoiding the main stem of Kansas' larger rivers, in favor of smaller tributaries with denser canopies.
Recent observations from Chautauqua and Wilson counties help corroborate specimens from the Verdigris River drainage mapped by Collins (1993). Voucher specimens are desirable from this area, should they ever become available.
There is little evidence to suggest that populations have changed much over the past 50 years. However, because it is known from so few localities, those sites should be monitored regularly and new sites should be surveyed.
Two recent observations in Johnson County along Wolf Creek and the Blue River (~2 miles apart) warrant further investigation.
Listed as a Kansas Threatened species in 1993. No recovery plan exists for this species.
As defined by Kansas Administrative Regulations, critical habitats include those areas documented as currently supporting self-sustaining population(s) of any threatened or endangered species of wildlife as well as those areas determined by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism to be essential for the conservation of any threatened or endangered species of wildlife
Currently, the following areas are designated critical for Northern Map Turtles:
(1) The main stem of the Marmaton River from Moran, Allen County (Sec. 36-T24S-R20E) to the Kansas/Missouri border in Bourbon County (Sec. 24-T25S-R25E). 
(2) The main stem of Cedar Creek in Anderson County from its point of entry into Sec. 1-T22S-R18E to its confluence with Pottawatomie Creek (Sec. 1-T20S-R19E). 
(3) The main stem of the South Fork of Pottawatomie Creek in Anderson County from its point of entry into Sec. 27-T21S-R20E to the confluence with Pottawatomie Creek (Sec. 24- T19S-R20E).
(4) The main stem of the West Fork of Tauy Creek in Franklin County from the Douglas/Franklin County border (Sec. 23-T15S-R19E) to the confluence with Ottawa Creek (Sec. 28-T16S-R20E). 
(5) The main stem of Ottawa Creek in Franklin County from the confluence of the West Fork of Tauy Creek (Sec. 23-T15S-R19E) to the confluence with the Marais des Cygnes River (Sec. 11-T17S-R20E). 
(6) The main stem of Long Creek in Osage County from the Osage/Coffey County border (Sec. 36-T18S-R15E) to the confluence of the Marais des Cygnes River (Sec. 2-T18S-R16E). 
(7) The main stem of Frog Creek in Osage County from the Osage/Coffey County border (Sec. 34-T18S-R15E) to the confluence with Long Creek (Sec. 30-T18S-R16E). 
(8) The main stem of the Little Osage River in Bourbon County from the Bourbon/Allen County border (Sec. 36-T23S-R21E) to the Kansas/Missouri border (Sec. 1-T24S-R25E). 
(9) The main stem of Appanoose Creek in Franklin County from the Osage/Franklin border (Sec. 23-T15S-R17E) to the confluence with the Marais des Cygnes River (Sec. 32-T16S-R19E).

Bibliography:
1880 Cragin, Francis W. A preliminary catalogue of Kansas reptiles and batrachians Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 7():114-123
1911 Hurter, Julius. Herpetology of Missouri. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 20(5):59-274
1928 Burt, Charles E. Some distributional and ecological records of Kansas reptiles. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 26():186-208
1947 Hall, Henry H. and Hobart M. Smith Selected records of reptiles and amphibians from southeastern Kansas Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 49(4):447-454
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
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
1976 Perry, Jan. Field trip to southeast Kansas planned. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (12):1
1976 Rundquist, Eric M. Field checklist (of) amphibians and reptiles of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society, Lawrence. pp.
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
1988 Busby, William H. The Kansas Natural Heritage Program: Taking stock of Kansas' natural heritage. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (71):9-12
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Maximum size records for Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):13-17
1990 Edds, David, Warren Voorhees, Judy Schnell and Lenn Shipman. Common Map Turtle rediscovered in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (82):12
1990 McCoy, Clarence J., Jr. and Richard C. Vogt. Graptemys geographica. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (484):1-7
1991 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1990. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (83):7-13
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.
1991 Edds, David R. Conservation status of the Common Map Turtle in Kansas. Agency Contract # 259.  ():45
1991 Voorhees, William, J. Schnell, and David Edds. Bait preferences of semiaquatic turtles in southeast Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (85):14-13
1992 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas endangered, threatened, and SINC species. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (91):
1992 Taggart, Travis W. KHS field trips. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (91):3
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
1993 Freeman, Craig C. and William H. Busby. A survey for endangered and threatened species on the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, Johnson County, Kansas. Report No. 54. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 115pp.
1994 McCoy, Clarence J., Jr. and Richard C. Vogt. Graptemys. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (584):1-3
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
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 Gamble, Jerre Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hartford, Kansas. 91pp.
1999 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas Herpetological Society herp counts: A 10 year summary and evaluation. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (115):42962
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.
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.
2008 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2008 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (25):2-3
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
2011 Taggart, Travis W. Kansas Herpetological Society 2011 spring field trip to beheld in Chautauqua County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (37):5-7
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2014 Lindeman, Peter V. Surveys of basking turtles in the rivers of northeastern Oklahoma, with emphasis on Graptemys geographica (Common Map Turtle). Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science 94():1-9
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Recent scientific and standard English name changes effecting the Kansas herpetofauna. Collinsorum 3(2-4):9-10
2016 Lindeman, Peter V. The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 488pp.
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 Praschag Peter, Flora Ihlow, Morris Flecks, Melita Vamberger, and Uwe Fritz. Diversity of North American map and sawback turtles (Testudines: Emydidae: Graptemys). Zoologica Scripta 46():675-682
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 Rader, Jennifer. Southeast Kansas Nature Center. Kansas Wildlife and Parks Magazine July-August():38-41
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
Account Last Updated:
7/29/2020 3:14:54 PM