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Graptemys versa, 093

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Graptemys versa Stejneger 1925 –
Texas Map Turtle

Peter V. Lindeman1, James N. Stuart2, and Flavius C. Killebrew3

1Department of Biology and Health Services, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania,
Edinboro, Pennsylvania 16444 USA [[email protected]];

2New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Conservation Services Division,
P.O. Box 25112, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504 USA [[email protected]];

3Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, 6300 Ocean Drive,
Corpus Christi, Texas 78412 USA [[email protected]]


Summary. – The Texas Map Turtle, Graptemys versa (Family Emydidae), is a small freshwater turtle (carapace length to 204 mm in females, 116 mm in males) that is endemic to the Colorado River basin of Texas. The species exhibits pronounced sexual dimorphism in body size and large females are adapted to a highly molluscivorous diet. The species occurs mainly in lotic habitats but also inhabits reservoirs. Commercial and incidental collection of this turtle is possibly the most significant threat in some locations, although fragmentation and modification of its riverine habitat by dams are also of concern. It receives some protection under CITES and state regulations for commercial collection. The systematics, reproductive biology, diet, and morphology of the species have been investigated, although a rangewide study of its conservation status is needed.

Distribution. – USA. Restricted to the Colorado River drainage system in Texas.

Synonymy.Graptemys pseudogeographica versa Stejneger 1925, Graptemys versa, Malaclemys versa.

Subspecies. – None recognized.

Status.IUCN 2015 Red List: Least Concern (LC, assessed 2013); CITES: Appendix III (USA, as Graptemys spp.); US ESA: Not Listed; Texas: Not Listed.


Lindeman, P.V., Stuart, J.N., and Killebrew, F.C. 2016. Graptemys versa Stejneger 1925 – Texas 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 5(9):093.1–10, doi:10.3854/crm.5.093.versa.v1.2016, //iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt/.

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A male Graptemys versa in Live Oak Creek, a tributary of the Pedernales River,
in Ladybird Johnson Municipal Park, Gillespie County, Texas.
Photo by Peter V. Lindeman.



Distribution of Graptemys versa in the Colorado River watershed basin, Texas, USA. Purple lines = boundaries delimiting major watersheds (level 3 hydrologic unit compartments – HUCs); red dots = museum and literature occurrence records based on Iverson (1992) and Lindeman (2013, 2014) plus more recent data and the authors’ personal data; green shading = projected native distribution based on GIS-defined level 10 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; TTWG 2014), and adjusted based on authors’ subsequent data.