RIVER COOTER
Pseudemys concinna (LeConte 1830)
sū-dĕm-ēz — kŏn-sĭn-ŭh


Conservation Status:

State: None

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S4 - Apparently Secure
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure
CITES: None

A hatchling River Cooter from Wyandotte County. © Jessica Lawrenz.
A River Cooter (left front) and three Pond Sliders (right and in the back) basking on a log in Shoal Creek, Cherokee County. © Jenn Rader.
An adult River Cooter from Greenwood County, KS. Image © Greg Seivert.
An adult River Cooter from Greenwood County, KS. Image © Greg Seivert.
An adult nesting River Cooter from Wyandotte County. © Jessica Lawrenz.
Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.

Description:
Numerous yellow lines along the head and neck. The carapace is dark with a network of yellow lines. The rear edge of the carapace is jagged. The plastron is yellow and typically unpatterned, though it may occasionally have dark smudges or circles. Females are considerably larger than males.
Adults normally 190-306 mm (7½-12 inches) in carapace length; largest specimen from Kansas: female (KU 223471) from Labette County with a carapace length of 360 mm (14¼ inches) collected by Alan Hynek on 24 April 1996; maximum carapace length throughout range: 14¾ inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

Distribution:
The River Cooter inhabits rivers, streams, watershed lakes, ponds, and lagoons in southeastern Kansas. It is known from the Marais des Cygnes, Neosho/Spring, Verdigris/Fall, Walnut, and lower Arkansas drainages. The record mapped in Collins (1994) from Crawford County is unknown and not mapped. A population (most likely introduced) has become established at Wyandotte County Lake (Missouri River drainage).
(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 67
    Records 
  • 44
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 23
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (5); Bourbon (2); Chase (2); Chautauqua (4); Cherokee (9); Cowley (4); Crawford (3); Elk (1); Franklin (1); Greenwood (4); Labette (10); Lyon (2); Miami (5); Montgomery (3); Neosho (1); Osage (1); Sedgwick (3); Unknown (1); Wilson (3); Woodson (3);

Natural History:
River Cooters are skittish and tend to remain in the water with the exception of basking and nesting. 
They feed primarily on aquatic vegetation, however, juveniles will occasionally eat crayfish and other animal prey.
The River Cooter inhabits large rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes with abundant emergent logs or rocks for basking. Adults feed primarily on aquatic vegetation, while juveniles eat considerably more aquatic insects and other prey. Nesting occurs in June, and females lay between 12-29 elongate eggs. Eggs hatch in 80-150 days. Hatchlings may overwinter in the nest.

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:
A young specimen was taken by seine at Sandy Creek, a branch of the Verdigris river, at a point 5.5 miles northeast of Coyville, in southern Woodson County, Kansas by Charles E. Burt, on 27 June 1931 (Burt and Hoyle, 1935).

Bibliography:
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
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 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
1938 Stejneger, Leonhard. Restitution of the name Ptychemys hoyi Agassiz for a western river tortoise. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 51(40):173-176
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
1975 Lardie, Richard L. Three new herpetological records for Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (5):6
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 Grow, David. The KHS goes to Chetopa. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (13):2-3
1976 Miller, Larry L. KHS visits Elk County. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (15):1-2
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):
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Report to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission on the status of three amphibians in southeastern Kansas. Kansas Fish and Game Commission, Pratt. 57pp.
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 Collins, Joseph T. New records of fishes, amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1984. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (58):14-20
1986 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1985. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (63):4
1986 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1986. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (66):9-16
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Maximum size records for Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):13-17
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 Voorhees, William, J. Schnell, and David Edds. Bait preferences of semiaquatic turtles in southeast Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (85):14-13
1992 Edds, David R. Population status and incidence of anatomical abnormalities in semiaquatic turtles of the Walnut and lower Arkansas river basins. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. 58pp.
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
1995 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1994. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (100):24-47
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
1996 Seidel, Michael E. and Carl H. Ernst. Pseudemys. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (625):1-7
1996 Seidel, Michael E. and Michael J. Dreslik. Pseudemys concinna. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (626):1-12
1997 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1996. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (107):14-16
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
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 Taggart, Travis W. The KHS 2001 spring field trip: A rainy rendezvous. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (124):12-14
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 Riedle, J. Daren and A. Hynek. Amphibian and reptile inventory of the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, Labette County, Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (2):18-20
2003 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2003 KHS spring field trip to Wilson County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (6):2-5
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.
2009 Murrow, Daniel G. KHS 2009 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (29):42769
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
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 KHS Spring Field Trip to Chautauqua County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (38):2-4
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2012 Spring Field Trip to Bourbon County State Lake. Collinsorum 2(3/4):3
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2013 Spring Field Trip to Schermerhorn Park, Cherokee County. Collinsorum 2(3/4):4
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Recent scientific and standard English name changes effecting the Kansas herpetofauna. Collinsorum 3(2-4):9-10
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.
2016 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS Summer field trip to Caney River, Chautauqua County, Kansas. Collinsorum 5(2-3):4-5
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
Account Last Updated:
7/29/2020 1:40:27 PM