EASTERN MUSK TURTLE
Sternotherus odoratus (Latreille 1802)
stĭr-nō-thĭr-ŭs — ō-dŏr-ā-tŭs


Conservation Status:

State: None

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

Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.

Description:
A small aquatic-turtle with a dark brown or black carapace, and a reduced, yellowish colored plastron. Skin color is dark, and a pair of yellow stripes are present on each side of the head. Two small barbels are present on the chin.
Adults normally 51-115 mm (2-4½ inches) in carapace length; largest specimen from Kansas: female (KU 45016) from Linn County with carapace length of 114 mm (4½ inches) collected by William L. Minckley on 10 September 1957; maximum carapace length throughout range: 5 3/8 inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

Distribution:
A record from Wallace County (KU 3028) exists and is undoubtedly in error. Grant (1937) states that "numbers of these turtles were observed in the turtle traps" at the State Fish Hatchery in Pratt on 29 August 1929. Currently, no specimens are known from Pratt County.
The habitat of the common musk turtle includes any kind of permanent body of water, like shallow streams, ponds, rivers, or clear water lakes, and it is rare to find the turtle elsewhere. While in the water, this musk turtle stays mainly in shallow areas. Sometimes it can be found basking on nearby fallen tree trunks or in the branches of trees overhanging the water.
(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 90
    Records 
  • 80
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 10
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (1); Anderson (1); Bourbon (2); Chautauqua (2); Cherokee (13); Cowley (4); Crawford (12); Douglas (8); Elk (1); Franklin (1); Greenwood (2); Johnson (2); Labette (2); Leavenworth (4); Linn (3); Miami (7); Montgomery (14); Neosho (3); Wallace (1); Wilson (1); Woodson (5); Wyandotte (1);

Natural History:
Eastern Musk Turtles are a generalist species occurring in a wide range of aquatic habitats in eastern Kansas. They have an omnivorous diet consuming aquatic vegetation, insects, earthworms, snails, crayfish, carrion, and garbage. They are capable climbers, sometimes basking in trees as high as six feet above the water. The species name originates from its ability to excrete a foul-smelling musk when alarmed.
The female common musk turtle is known to dig shallow nests at the water's edge under rotting logs or dead leaves, and sometimes these turtles will nest two or more times a year. Communal nesting also occurs frequently within this species. The turtles mate underwater, and the females lay one to nine eggs sometime between February and June. The hatchlings emerge 60 to 84 days later.

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:
Eastern Musk Turtles were seined from pools in the dried up bed of Silver Creek II miles southeast of Winfield, Cowley County, Kansas, on August 31, 1934, (Burt 1935).
Burt and Hoyle (1935) reported on a young specimen taken in a seine from the wooded Sandy creek, a branch of the Verdigris River, in southern Woodson County, Kansas, at a point 5 1/2 miles northeast of Coyville on 27 June 27, 1931.

Bibliography:
1928 Burt, Charles E. Some distributional and ecological records of Kansas reptiles. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 26():186-208
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 Grant, Chapman. Herpetological notes from Central Kansas. American Midland Naturalist 18(3):370-372
1941 Mansueti, R. A descriptive catalogue of the amphibians and reptiles found in and around Baltimore City, Maryland, within a radius of twenty miles. Proceedings of the Natural History Society of Maryland 7():1-53
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
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 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 Rundquist, Eric M. Field checklist (of) amphibians and reptiles of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society, Lawrence. pp.
1977 Perry, Janice. KHS members achieve goal: Get Cottonmouth. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (21):3-4
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
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.
1982 Reynolds, Samuel L. and Michael E. Seidel. Sternotherus odoratus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (287):1-4
1986 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1985. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (63):4
1986 Terry, P. A. Biological survey of the KS segments of Spring River and Shoal Creek. Part 1. Field Survey. Draft. Kansas Fish and Game, Pratt, Kansas. 67pp.
1986 Zug, George R. Sternotherus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (397):1-3
1988 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1987. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (71):13-19
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 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.
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.
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the sixth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1994. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (97):5-14
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. A report on the KHS fall field trip to the Marais des Cygnes wildlife refuges. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (110):2-3
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 Bentley, Curtis C and James L. Knight. Turtles (Reptilia: Testudines) of the Ardis Local Fauna Late Pleistocene (Rancholabrean) of South Carolina. Brimleyana (25):3-33
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.
2001 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 2000. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (124):6-8
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
2005 Sanders, R., B. Wolhuter, and Joseph T. Collins. Geographic distribution: Sternotherus odoratus from Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (16):22
2005 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2005 fall field trip [to Crawford County]. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (16):19-21
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.
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 Bass, Neil The Missouri River Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Project: For the river, for you, and for herps. Collinsorum 2(1/2):10-11
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 Lozar, Robert C. and James D. Westervelt Application of Maxent Multivariate Analysis to Define Reptile Species Distributions and Changes Related to Climate Change. US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Champaign, Illinois.. 100pp.
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 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:
6/26/2018 4:40:49 PM