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Graptemys flavimaculata, 052

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Graptemys flavimaculata Cagle 1954 –
Yellow-Blotched Sawback, Yellow-Blotched Map Turtle

Will Selman1 and Robert L. Jones2

1Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries,
5476 Grand Chenier Hwy, Grand Chenier, Louisiana 70643 USA [[email protected]];
2Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, Mississippi Musuem of Natural Science,
2148 Riverside Drive, Jackson, Mississippi 39202 USA [[email protected]]


Summary. – The Yellow-blotched Sawback, Graptemys flavimaculata (Family Emydidae), is a small to medium-sized riverine species endemic to the Pascagoula River drainage of southeast Mississippi, USA. Sexual dimorphism is pronounced, with adult females attaining more than twice the length and ten times the mass of adult males. Although the species is locally abundant, populations are threatened by habitat destruction, collection for the pet trade, invasive species, water quality degradataion, and other human impacts. Previously listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, the species has recently been downlisted to Vulnerable due to improved population estimates, newly discovered localities, and improved water qualities leading to some recovered populations. It remains Threatened because of its small range, large number of potential threats, and moderately severe declines in the largest population.

Distribution. – USA. Restricted to the Pascagoula River drainage of southeastern Mississippi.

Synonymy. – Graptemys flavimaculata Cagle 1954, Graptemys oculifera flavimaculata, Malaclemys flavimaculata.

Subspecies. – None recognized.

Status. – IUCN 2011 Red List Status: Vulnerable (VU) (A2bce+4ce) (assessed 2010); CITES: Appendix III (Graptemys spp.; USA); US ESA: Threatened.


Selman, W. and Jones, R.L. 2011. Graptemys flavimaculata Cagle 1954 – Yellow-Blotched Sawback, Yellow-Blotched Map Turtle. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 052.1–052.11, doi:10.3854/crm.5.052.flavimaculata.v1.2011, //iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt/.

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Adult female (left; 20.6 cm SCL, 1400 g) and adult male (right; 10.0 cm SCL, 130 g) Graptemys flavimaculata from the lower Pascagoula River (Jackson County, Mississippi). Adult females can attain twice the size and 10 times the mass of adult males.
Photo by Will Selman.



Distribution of Graptemys flavimaculata in Mississippi, USA. Red dots = museum and literature occurrence records of native populations based on Iverson (1992), plus more recent and authors’ data; green shading = projected distribution based on GIS-defined hydrologic unit compartments (HUCs) constructed around verified localities and then adding HUCs that connect known point localities in the same watershed or physiographic region, and similar habitats and elevations as verified HUCs (Buhlmann et al. 2009), and adjusted based on authors’ data. The Escatawpa River is the furthest southeastern marked locality.