Unlike most other turtles, their shell is soft, flat, and rubbery. Habitat: Rivers and larger streams, inland lakes, reservoirs, and even protected bays and river mouth areas in Great Lakes. Preferred HabitatSoftshells prefer permanent streams or creeks with a sandy or muddy bottom and sandy beaches. Apalone spinifera occupies areas from central-eastern U.S. (western New York and southern Carolina) to Wisconsin and from Minnesota and southern Ontario as far south as Mexico. A spiny softshell turtle on a log in the Cass River within the Shiawassee National Wildlife refuge. Description: The Eastern Spiny Softshell has a leather like shell that is very round and flattened, when comparing it to other turtles. Of these, nine are native to Michigan, with the red-eared slider introduced from pet releases (Harding 1997). They can be distinguished from other turtle species by their carapace. The Spiny… Shell color varies with age and sex. Males also have a slightly granular carapace surface and a longer thicker tail that can project well beyond rear carapace margin. Barko, V., J. Briggler. Six subspecies of A. spinifera are recognized, including the nominate subspecies:, A previously recognized subspecies, Apalone spinifera hartwegi (Conant & Goin, 1941), has been synonymized to A. s. spinifera as of 2011. other species to the, Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region by Jim Harding. Plummer, M. V. 1977. Adult Coloration:  The nesting sites are at risk of predation from animals such as coyotes, foxes, and raccoons. Ruthven, A. G., H. B. T. Gaige, et al. The male will nudge the female's head while swimming, and if she chooses to mate, the male will swim above the female without clasping her with his claws (unlike other turtles). The variation in coloration, size, and spine presence indicates that this species exhibits sexual dimorphism. Another distinguishing feature of softshell turtles is the presence of a fleshy, elongated nose. The eggs are laid around July and September, and they hatch in the spring. Brad Shaffer (USGS) Characteristics The Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone Spinifera) has a very flat almost pancake like carapace with flexible edges that is covered with leathery skin. Juvenile Characteristics: Spiny softshell turtles feed on a variety of food items. These turtles easily recognized by their lack of hardened scutes upon their shells, resulting in a leathery, somewhat flexible shell. Michigan Turtles and Lizards. Unlike smooth softshells, spiny softshells are often aggressive when seized, and can inflict painful bites. Geographic Range. Open habitats with little aquatic vegetation favored over those with dense vegetation. She can lay between 9 and 38 round, calcareous-shelled eggs. ... University of Michigan (510):1-19: Softshells come out of the water in sheltered places and bask in the sun for hour… They are called softshell turtles because their back shell is covered by skin, instead of by hard plates.  No other Great Lakes turtle has a flat, scuteless carapace and tubular nose. "Spiny softshell turtle" (On-line). This turtle has a long neck, and its snout resembles a snorkel. Spiny softshell turtles are cryptically colored, meaning that their coloration helps them blend in with their surrounding environment. There are two subfamilies, and thirteen different genuses, of softshell turtles. There are several subspeciesof the Spiny Softshell Turtle, but one thing that makes all of them interesting is their unique shell. Spiny softshell turtles have webbed feet, each with three claws. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Press. Midland smooth softshell (Apalone mutica) and spiny softshell (Apalone spinifera) turtles in the middle Mississippi River: Habitat associations, population structure, and implications for conservation. Lansing, Mich., Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford, State Printers. Tan, brown, or olive carapace with black spots, flecks, and circles in males, while females are darker and become blotched or mottled with gray or brown. Both species of softshell turtle in Kansas are capable of remaining submerged for long periods of time due to the ability to remove oxygen from the water through membranes in the mouth. They have an increase of cutaneous surface area and blood flow, reduction in lung size, and increase of respiratory epithelium in the cloaca and buccopharynx. The spotted turtle is threatened in Michigan. The other turtles native to Michigan are Blanding's turtle, snapping turtle, musk turtle, spotted turtle, wood turtle, eastern box turtle, common map turtle, and eastern spiny softshell turtle. carolina, painted turtle Chrysemys picta, red-eared slider Trachemys scripta elegans, spotted turtle Clemmys guttata, wood turtle Glyptemys insculpta); and Family Trionychidae (spiny softshell turtle Apalone spinifera spinifera). Detroit, Mich., Wayne State University Press. Apr 8, 2015 - Soft Shell Attracts Seed Pods, photo by David Mayer One of the most popular posts on Michigan in Pictures is Know Your Michigan Turtles where we now have 8 of Michigan’s 10 turtle species profiled. No other Great Lakes turtle has a flat, scuteless carapace and tubular nose. Only the Eastern Spiny Softshell, A. s. spinifera is found in Illinois. Nearly extirpated from western Lake Ontario, were reportedly common just a few decades ago. Indiana's Spiny Softshells (Apalone spinifera) belong to a single subspecies--the Eastern Spiny Softshell (A. s. spinifera). Some special aspects of the husbandry of soft-shell turtles (Reptilia, Testudinae, Trionichidae) at the Moscow Zoo.  The recognized subspecies differ in the markings on their carapaces, on the sides of their heads, and on their feet. A large female turtle may live up to 50 years. , The species was first described by Charles Alexandre Lesueur in 1827. Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio After paddling a kayak through parts of the Cass River, the Shiawassee, and the Tittabawassee you can get a good view of Greenpoint at … The assembly ASM38561v1 can be accessed via its Genbank accession ID APJP00000000.1 , A spiny softshell turtle basking in the sun, Phylogenetic arrangement of turtles based on, harvnb error: no target: CITEREFFritz_&_Havaš2007 (, "Multiple data sets, high homoplasy, and the phylogeny of softshell turtles (Testudines: Trionychidae)", "Effects of habitat disturbance on survival rates of softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera) in an urban streatm", California Turtle & Tortoise Club: Softshell Turtles, "Turtles of the world, 2011 update: Annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution and conservation status", Drawing of skull of Spiny Softshell Turtle, Northern New Guinea giant softshell turtle, turtles of the world 2017 update: Annotated checklist and atlas of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution, and conservation status, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Spiny_softshell_turtle&oldid=992495508, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 5 December 2020, at 15:53. Both the common name, spiny softshell, and the specific name, spinifera (spine-bearing), refer to the spiny, cone-like projections on the leading edge of the carapace, which are not scutes (scales). Holman. The spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera) is a species of softshell turtle, one of the largest freshwater turtle species in North America. Crystal Thompson and Helen Thompson; Memoranda towards a bibliography of the archaeology of Michigan, by Harlan I. Smith; prepared under the direction of Alexander G. Ruthven. Head, neck, and legs tan or olive above and speckled or mottled with black. The eastern subspecies is Apalone spinifera spinifera (Le Sueur, 1827). The carapace length ranges from 18-54 cm, with females growing larger than males. In the case of younger individuals well defined round spots can be observed on the shell, in the case of adults those spots are not very visible. The turtles mate in mid-to-late spring in deep water. Wood turtle. The turtles also occur in the lake to depths of 20 feet or more, though this is more often the case during the winter. They inhabit shallow water (less than 1 m deep), but can also be found as far as 10 m deep. The Michigan Herp Atlas began in 2004 in an effort to collect observational data about … The northern spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera spinifera) is a subspecies of soft-shelled turtle in the family Trionychidae. Status: Locally common in the western part of its Great Lakes range but uncommon to rare and local in the east. The Spiny Softshell Turtle becomes sexually mature between ages 8 and 10. Species Confused With: Females have a … Adult females of the various subspecies, which grow larger than males, are not easily distinguishable from one another, and sometimes can only be assigned to a particular subspecies based on geography.. The reason they almost went extinct was the raccoons ate most of the eggs so he took the eggs to a … Spotted turtle. Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) Huge, up to 20 inches long adult carapace. This species is a member of the family Trionychidae, and one of the most distinguishing features of members in this family is the presence of a leathery, moderately flexible carapace. A variety of factors allow for these turtles to perform respiration underwater. You can click that link for the list of all of them and read on to learn about the soft shell turtle. Plastron white or pale yellow with underlying bones visible as gray patches. Spiny softshells migrate between warm and cold seasons. Unlike in other turtles, in the spiny softshell turtle, the sex of the hatchlings is not determined by temperature variations; it is determined by genetics. This species is active from April through September and overwinters by burrowing in sandy substrate in … 1912. Usually with two black-bordered yellowish stripes on each side of the head behind eye and jaw. The namesake spines are found along the anterior border of the carapace and are more commonly found in males. Hatchlings usually have dark spots on the carapace, but as females age, they frequently become darker in color, or their carapace becomes splotched. Spiny Softshell Turtle . MSU Cooperative Extension Service and MSU Museum. Tolerate relatively swift current but prefer sand or mud bottom and usually avoid streams with sharp-edged rocks or coarse gravel. Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern, Central North America. They are olive to gray or tan with black speckles and a yellow border on the carapace and a pale or yellowish plastron. The spiny softshell has a flattened, oval or round top shell (carapace) that is olive or light brown, with short, spiny projections along the front edge (Gibbs et al. Smith (1961) considered Illinois populations to be mainly A. s. spinifera, but noted the influence of Western Spiny Softshell, A. 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