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Terrapene ornata (AGASSIZ, 1857)

IUCN Red List - Terrapene ornata - Near Threatened, NT

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Higher TaxaEmydidae, Emydinae, Testudinoidea, Testudines (turtles)
SubspeciesTerrapene ornata ornata (AGASSIZ 1857)
Terrapene ornata luteola SMITH & RAMSEY 1952 
Common NamesE: Ornate Box Turtle
ornata: Ornate Box Turtle
luteola: Desert Box Turtle
G: Schmuck-Dosenschildkröte
S: Caja Ornamentada 
SynonymCistudo ornata AGASSIZ 1857: 445
Terrapene ornata — BAUR 1891
Cistudo ornata — BOULENGER 1895: 330
Terrapene whitneyi HAY 1916: 8 (fide TTWG 2021)
Terrapene ornata — STEBBINS 1985: 103
Terrapene longinsulae HAY 1908
Terrapene ornata — LINER 1994
Terrapene ornata — TTWG 2014

Terrapene ornata ornata (AGASSIZ 1857)
Terrapene ornata var. cimarronensis CRAGIN 1894
Terrapene ornata ornata — SMITH & RAMSEY 1952: 45
Terrapene ornata ornata — MILSTEAD 1969
Terrapene ornata ornata — STEBBINS 1985: 103
Terrapene ornata ornata — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 53
Terrapene ornata ornata — CROTHER 2000
Terrapene ornata ornata — FRITZ & HAVAS 2007
Terrapene ornata ornata — RHODIN et al. 2010
Terrapene ornata ornata — SEIDEL & ERNST 2017

Terrapene ornata luteola SMITH & RAMSEY 1952
Terrapene ornata luteola SMITH & RAMSEY 1952
Terrapene ornata luteola — MILSTEAD 1969
Terrapene ornata luteola — NICKERSON & MAYS 1970
Terrapene ornata luteola — STEBBINS 1985: 103
Terrapene ornata luteola — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 54
Terrapene ornata luteola — LINER 1994
Terrapene ornata luteola — CROTHER 2000
Terrapene ornata luteola — FRITZ & HAVAS 2007
Terrapene ornata luteola — RHODIN et al. 2010
Terrapene ornata luteola — VALVERDE 2011
Terrapene ornata luteola — SEIDEL & ERNST 2017 
DistributionUSA (Wisconsin, Illinois, W Indiana, Iowa, S South Dakota, SE Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, SW Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, SE Arizona), Mexico (Chiapas, Sonora, Chihuahua)

ornata: USA (Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kan-
sas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico,Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin); Type locality: “From the Upper Missouri . . . and from Iowa” (see “Remarks”); fi rst restricted to “Council Bluffs [Pottawattomie County], Iowa” by Smith and Taylor (1950b:36), later to “junction of the Platte and Missouri rivers” by Schmidt (1953:951), and finally to Burlington [Des Moines County], Iowa,” the locality of the lectotype, MCZ 1536, by Smith and Smith (1980:587). See Smith and Smith (1980) for a discussion of the history of the type locality designations and earlier erroneous restrictions.

luteola: Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Sonora), USA (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas); Type locality: 17 miles south of Van Horn, Culberson County, Texas. This locality is most likely in the vicinity of the present-day farming community of Lobo on US Hwy 90, a few miles north of the Jeff Davis County line.  
Reproductionoviparous. Exhibits temperature‐dependent sex determination (TSD) fide Cornejo-Páramo et al. 2020 (and references therein). 
TypesLectotype: MCZ 1536, designated by Smith and Smith(1980: 587). Paralectotypes: USNM 7862 (formerly 57), 7541, 131837 (formerly one of two numbered 7541), 7547, 7692, MCZ 1536; MCZ 1536 designated lectotype by Smith and Smith,
1979, Synops. 6:587.
Holotype: TCU (Texas Christian University) 1280, adult male, collected 22-24 October 1950 by W. E. Smith, fide Ward 1978 [luteola] 
CommentSubspecies: Martin suggested to synonymize ornata and luteola while Herrmann and Rosen (2009) suggested to maintain these subspecies.

DEFINITION (luetola): “There are 10 to 16 yellow streaks on the second pleural scute. The length of the anterior lobe of the plastron is 69-72% of the length of the posterior lobe. The gular and the pectoral scute lengths are 46-55 and 32-36% respectively, of the anterior lobe length. The carapacial ground color is lighter than that of ornata. There is a tendency for the shell of older individ- uals to become uniformly straw-colored or horn-colored.” [from WARD 1978]

DEFINITION (ornata): “The second pleural scute has five to nine yellow streaks. The length of the anterior lobe of the plastron is 66-70% of the length of the posterior lobe. The gular and pectoral lengths are 50-59 and 26-35%, respectively, of the anterior plastrallobe length. The ground color of the carapace is dark (brown to black).” [from WARD 1978]

Hybridization: Terrapene carolina triunguis (AGASSIZ 1857) and Terrapene ornata ornata (AGASSIZ 1857) may hybridize in Texas (Lutterschmidt et al. 2007). See also T. carolina.

Distribution: for a range map of carolina, bauri, major, triunguis, ornata, and luteola, see Martin et al. 2013.

Synonymy: The fossil taxon T. longinsulae Hay 1908, from an undefined location in the general region of Long Island, Kansas (possible age ranging from Miocene to Pleistocene; see Joyce et al. 2012:185), scored identical for all available characters to the character states shown by both living T. ornata ornata and T. o. luteola, including two unique shared characters. They therefore placed T. longin- sulae in the synonymy of T. ornata. 
EtymologyThe name ornata is from the Latin ornatus, decorated or adorned, referring to the streaked pattern of the carapace.

Latin “luetola” means yellowish, referring to the turtle’s basic coloration. 
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  • TTWG; Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., Bour, R., Fritz, U., Georges, A., Shaffer, H.B., and van Dijk, P.P. 2021. Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status (9th Ed.). In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., van Dijk, P.P., Stanford, C.B., Goode, E.V., Buhlmann, K.A., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Chelonian Research Monographs 8:1–472. doi:10.3854/crm.8.checklist.atlas.v9.2021. - get paper here
  • TTWG; Rhodin, A.G.J.; van Dijk, P.P.; Iverson, J.B. & Shaffer, H.B. [turtle taxonomy working group] 2010. Turtles of the World, 2010 Update: Annotated Checklist of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status. Chelonian Research Monographs (ISSN 1088-7105) No. 5, doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v3.2010 - get paper here
  • Tucker, Charles R.; Jeramie T. Strickland, Brian S. Edmond, David K. Delaney and Day B. Ligon 2015. Activity Patterns of Ornate Box Turtles (Terrapene ornata) in Northwestern Illinois. Copeia 2015 (3): 502-511 - get paper here
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  • Wilgers, D.J.; Horne, E.A.; Sandercock, B.K. & Volkmann, A.W. 2006. Effects of rangeland management on community dynamics of the herpetofauna of the Tall-grass Prairie [Flint Hills, Kansas/Oklahoma]. Herpetologica 62 (4): 378-388 - get paper here
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