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Graptemys gibbonsi Lovich and McCoy -- Pascagoula Map Turtle

July 15, 2014

DEFINITION. The Pascagoula Map Turtle, Graptemys gibbonsi, is a large riverine species that exhibits pronounced sexual dimorphism, where females attain a maximum carapace length (CL) of 295 mm and males a maximum of 141 mm (Lovich et al. 2009). Mean adult female CL (248 mm) can be well over twice the mean CL of adult males (104 mm; Gibbons and Lovich 1990, Lovich et al. 2009). In addition, females have conspicuously enlarged heads (37.9 mm, SD = 14.0 mm) with broad alveolar surfaces (12.1 mm, SD = 4.9) compared to males (head width – 16.4 mm, SD = 1.1 mm; alveolar width – 4.3 mm, SD = 0.40 mm; Lindeman, unpublished data). Males have longer tails with the vent posterior to the edge of the carapace. Both sexes have relatively flat plastrons. Similar to other species within the pulchra clade, Graptemys gibbonsi possess a high-domed shell with a median keel. The median carapace keel is composed of prominent spines on the posterior portions of the second and third vertebrals. A broken black stripe, most pronounced anteriorly, marks the median keel of the vertebrals, and pleural scutes 1– 3 have a network of intersecting yellow lines or circular yellow markings on the distal parts. The plastron is pale yellow with dark pigment on some seams. Ground color of the head and limbs is brown to olive with light yellow or yellowish-green stripes and blotches. The yellow pigment on the upper marginal scutes is wide in comparison to other members of the pulchra clade.

Hatchling pigmentation patterns resemble those of adults, but with more conspicuous patterns on the pleural scutes. Similarly, the plastron of hatchlings commonly has more dark pigmentation along the seams than adults. The shell is highly serrated along the edge of the carapace and the vertebral keel is more pronounced than in adults.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2014
Title Graptemys gibbonsi Lovich and McCoy -- Pascagoula Map Turtle
Authors Jeffrey E. Lovich, Joshua R. Ennen
Publication Type Book Chapter
Index ID 70171083
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center

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