A smallto medium-sized turtle (most carapace size 9 in [24 cm]) with a tough, barely keeled carapace and easy speckled pores and skin. The gentle brown, grey, or black carapace has raised concentric rings as a result of the scutes should not shed annually, and new bigger scutes kind beneath. The inflexible plastron varies in colour from yellow to black and should have a particular sample of blotches. The colour of the mushy pores and skin can also be fairly variable, starting from black to a light-weight grey with black flecks. The females are a lot bigger than the males and have bigger heads with broad crushing plates. There are specialised salt glands close to the eyes that excrete extra salt.
East Coast of temperate North America from southern Texas alongside the Gulf of Mexico and round Florida to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Salt marshes in brackish coastal waters and estuaries.
Normally energetic in the course of the day, this species could haul out on rocks or the banks of tidal creeks to bask. Terrapins vary extensively whereas foraging for food; nevertheless, they’re typically present in the identical small space over consecutive years. Adults hibernate communally on the muddy backside of creek beds. In southern climates the terrapins could turn out to be energetic on heat winter days, however in northern populations they continue to be in dormancy.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
This species is extremely specialised to feed upon mollusks. The females develop particularly giant heads with broad jaws for crushing the shells of marine gastropods. The food regimen of the smaller males differs from that of the feminine in that they eat completely different measurement courses of gastropods they usually could complement with a wide range of aquatic bugs.
The feminine is significantly bigger than the male and should subsequently select her mate. In temperate areas, nesting happens from mid-May to late July, however southern populations could nest as late as September. The females can retailer sperm of their oviducts for at the very least 4 years; nevertheless, fertility charges drop precipitously after the second year. The elongate eggs (1.0–1.7 in [26–42 mm] lengthy and 0.6–1.1 in [16–27 mm] broad) have versatile shells. Two or extra clutches of up to 20 eggs are deposited yearly within the sandy dunes above the winter excessive tide mark. The eggs hatch after 61 to 104 days of incubation. S*x depends upon the incubation temperature; principally males are produced from 77 to 84°F (25 to 29°C), nevertheless at 86°F (30°C) the hatchlings are all feminine. Most hatchlings emerge within the autumn and are presumed to hibernate aquatically, however some hatchlings could overwinter within the nest.
This species is listed as Lower Risk/Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. Once thought-about a delicacy amongst aristocrats, it was decimated in the course of the early twentieth century by overcollection for human consumption. The terrapin has largely recovered; nevertheless, populations proceed to be threatened by the destruction and degradation of the tidal marshes they inhabit, and lots of 1000’s are needlessly drowned in crab traps that could possibly be made secure by a easy modification.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
This species was as soon as prized for its delicate flesh; nevertheless, it happily fell out of favor with the rich. It remains to be consumed domestically and is commonly offered within the Asian markets of enormous North American cities.