False Map Turtle

Family: 
Emydidae (basking, marsh and box turtles) in the order Testudines (turtles)
Description: 

A medium-sized species with a low ridge along the center of the upper shell. The hind edge of the upper shell is strongly serrated. The upper shell is brown or olive with narrow, yellow, connected circles or lines. The lower shell is greenish-yellow with several light brown lines following the scute seams. The head and neck is brown or greenish-gray with numerous yellow lines bordered by dark brown or black. The thick yellow line behind each eye forms a backward “L” shape. A “wide-eyed” appearance is caused by the bright yellow eye with a round, black pupil.

The Mississippi map turtle subspecies is distinguished by the shape of the yellow mark behind each eye. Instead of having the L mark and narrow yellow lines touching the back of each eye, the Mississippi subspecies has a crescent behind each eye, and the yellow lines don't touch the eye. In eastern Missouri, especially along the Mississippi, it can be difficult to tell the subspecies apart.

Size: 
Adult false map turtles range in upper shell length from 3 to 10 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
This semiaquatic species lives primarily in large rivers such as the Missouri and Mississippi, river sloughs and oxbow lakes or constructed reservoirs. It will often bask on logs or rocks but is shy and will quickly drop into the water at the slightest sign of danger.
Foods: 
It eats both aquatic plants and animals such as snails, insects, crayfish and dead fish.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Large rivers and reservoirs in central, northeastern, northwestern and southeastern Missouri. The Mississippi map turtle, a subspecies (G. p. kohnii), also occurs in Missouri. The ranges overlap in southeastern, eastern, and northeastern Missouri, and some turtles have characteristics of both.