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Malaclemys terrapin (SCHOEPFF, 1793)

IUCN Red List - Malaclemys terrapin - Least Concern, LR

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Higher TaxaEmydidae, Deirochelyinae, Testudinoidea, Testudines (turtles)
SubspeciesMalaclemys terrapin centrata (LATREILLE 1802)
Malaclemys terrapin littoralis (HAY 1904)
Malaclemys terrapin macrospilota (HAY 1904)
Malaclemys terrapin pileata (WIED 1865)
Malaclemys terrapin rhizophorarum FOWLER 1906
Malaclemys terrapin tequesta SCHWARTZ 1955
Malaclemys terrapin terrapin (SCHOEPFF 1793) 
Common NamesE: Diamondback Terrapin, Diamond-backed Terrapin
centrata: Carolina Diamondback Terrapin
littoralis:Texas Diamondback Terrapin
macrospilota: Ornate Diamondback Terrapin
pileata: Mississippi Diamondback Terrapin
rhizophorarum: Mangrove Diamondback Terrapin
tequesta: Florida East Coast Terrapin
terrapin: Northern Diamondback Terrapin
G: Diamantschildkröten, 
SynonymTestudo terrapin SCHOEPFF 1793
Testudo concentrica SHAW 1802: 43
Testudo ocellata LINK 1807: 52
Testudo concentrata — KUHL 1820 (ex errore)
Testudo concentrica [var.] polita GRAY 1831
Emys concentrica — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 261
Emys concentrica — BELL 1836-1842
Emys macrocephalus GRAY 1844: 26
Emys Concentrica — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 225
Malaclemys concentrica — GRAY 1863: 181
Malacoclemmys terrapen — BOULENGER 1889
Malaclemys terrapin — BANGS 1896
Malaclemys terrapin terrapin — LINDHOLM 1929
Malaclemys centrata concentrica — COCHRAN 1932
Malaclemys terrapin terrapin — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 55
Malaclemys terrapin terrapin — CROTHER 2000
Malaclemys terrapin terrapin — TTWG 2014
Malaclemys terrapin — TTWG 2021

Malaclemys terrapin centrata (LATREILLE 1802)
Testudo centrata LATREILLE 1802: 145
Emys centrata — SAY 1824: 205
Emys concentrica [var.] livida GRAY 1831
Malaclemys centrata — LOENNBERG 1894
Malaclemys centrata centrata — STEJNEGER & BARBOUR 1923
Malaclemys terrapin centrata — MITTLEMAN 1945
Malaclemys terrapin centrata — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 55
Malaclemys terrapin centrata — CROTHER 2000
Malaclemys terrapin centrata — RHODIN et al. 2010
Malaclemys terrapin centrata — TTWG 2014
Malaclemys terrapin centrata — TTWG 2021

Malaclemys terrapin littoralis (HAY 1904)
Malaclemys littoralis HAY 1904: 18
Malaclemys pileata littoralis — STEJNEGER & BARBOUR 1917
Malaclemys terrapin littoralis — LINDHOLM 1929
Malaclemys terrapin littoralis — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 56
Malaclemys terrapin littoralis — CROTHER 2000
Malaclemys terrapin littoralis — RHODIN et al. 2010
Malaclemys terrapin littoralis — TTWG 2014
Malaclemys terrapin littoralis — TTWG 2021
Malaclemys terrapin littoralis — LIEB 2023

Malaclemys terrapin macrospilota (HAY 1904)
Malaclemmys macrospilota HAY 1904: 7
Malaclemmys pileata macrospilota — STEJNEGER & BARBOUR 1917
Malaclemys terrapin macrospilota — LINDHOLM 1929
Malaclemys terrapin macrospilota — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 56
Malaclemys terrapin macrospilota — CROTHER 2000
Malaclemys terrapin macrospilota — RHODIN et al. 2010
Malaclemys terrapin macrospilota — TTWG 2014
Malaclemys terrapin macrospilota — TTWG 2021

Malaclemys terrapin pileata (WIED 1865)
Emys pileata WIED 1865
Malaclemmys pileata — HAY 1904
Malaclemys pileata pileata — STEJNEGER & BARBOUR 1917
Malaclemys terrapin pileata — LINDHOLM 1929
Malaclemys pileata pileata — ALLEN 1932
Malaclemys terrapin pileata — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 56
Malaclemys terrapin pileata — CROTHER 2000
Malaclemys terrapin pileata — RHODIN et al. 2010
Malaclemys terrapin pileata — TTWG 2014
Malaclemys terrapin pileata — TTWG 2021

Malaclemys terrapin rhizophorarum FOWLER 1906
Malaclemys tuberculifera GRAY 1844 (fide ERNST & HARTSELL 2000)
Malaclemmys littoralis rhizophorarum FOWLER 1906
Malaclemys terrapin rhizophorarum — CARR 1946
Malaclemys terrapin rhizophorarum — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 56
Malaclemys terrapin rhizophorarum — CROTHER 2000
Malaclemys terrapin rhizophorarum — RHODIN et al. 2010
Malaclemys terrapin rhizophorarum — TTWG 2014
Malaclemys terrapin rhizophorarum — TTWG 2021

Malaclemys terrapin tequesta SCHWARTZ 1955
Malaclemys terrapin tequesta SCHWARTZ 1955
Malaclemys terrapin tequesta — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 56
Malaclemys terrapin tequesta — CROTHER 2000
Malaclemys terrapin tequesta — RHODIN et al. 2010
Malaclemys terrapin tequesta — TTWG 2014
Malaclemys terrapin tequesta — TTWG 2021 
DistributionUSA (Maryland, Rhode Island, along the Atlantic amd Gulf coasts in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida including the Keys, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas), Bermuda Island

centrata: USA (Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina); Type locality: "Carolinae", restricted to "vicinity of Charleston [Charleston Co.]. South Carolina" by Schmidt (1953:96).

littoralis: Texas. Type locality: “Rockport, Texas” [Aransas County, Texas].

macrospilota: Florida; Type locality: “Charlotte Harbor, Florida” [Charlotte County, Florida].

pileata: USA (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas); Type locality: "Mündung [= mouth] des Mississippi bei New Orleans" [Louisiana]

rhizophorarum: Florida keys; Type locality: Florida, Boca Grande Key.

tequesta: Florida; Type locality: “Miami Beach, Dade County, Florida”;

terrapin: USA (Connecticut, Delawere, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Rhode Island, Virginia); Type locality: "Habitat in America septentrionali ... in foris Philadelphiae, ... in aquis subdulcibus Insulae Longae capto, ..."; restricted by Schmidt (1953:95) to "coastal waters of Long Island" [New York, USA].  
Reproductionoviparous. Burke & Calichio 2014 showed temperature-Dependent Sex Determination (TSD) in this species. 
TypesHolotype: nondesignated (fide Iverson 1992: 189)
Holotype: nondesignated, but illustrated in the original description and now presumed lost (fide Iverson 1992: 189) [centrata]
Holotype: USNM 33913 [littoralis]
Holotype: USNM 33917 [macrospilota]
Holotype: nondesignated, but speculated to be AMNH 916 by Hay 1904: 17 (fide Iverson 1992: 189)
Holotype: ANSP 16570 [rhizophorarum]
Holotype: UMMZ 108482, Paratypes: UF 4242, 6589–90; MCZ 20287, 48787; UMMZ 106147–51 [tequesta]
Holotype: AMNH 7064 [pileata] 
CommentGray (1873: 110) notes that Emys areolata may be a variety of Malaclemmys [sic] concentrica.

Habitat: terrestrial, but may venture into brackish (”marine”) environments.

Type species: Testudo concentrica SHAW 1802 is the type species of the genus Malaclemys GRAY 1844 (Malaclemys GRAY 1840 is a nomen nudum fide WERMUTH & MERTENS 1977: 44).. 
EtymologyNamed after the Native American word for turtle, “terrapin” or similar.

The genus name means “soft tortoise”, apparently referring to the “soft spongy skin” on its head.

The name macrospilota is from the Greek makros, large, and spilados, spot, referring to the large yellowish spot on each carapace scute. The name tequesta honors the native American tribe Tequesta of eastern Florida. The name littoralis is from the Latin litoralis, seashore, referring to the turtle’s habitat. 
  • Alleman, Bryan J. and George J. Guillen 2017. Prey Availability and Diet Analysis of Texas Diamond-Backed Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin littoralis). Chelonian Conservation and Biology 16 (1): 52-61. - get paper here
  • Alleman, Bryan J. and George J. Guillen. 2016. Malaclemys terrapin littoralis (Texas Diamond-backed Terrapin) Basking behavior. Herpetological Review 47 (2): 286 - get paper here
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