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Glyptemys insculpta (LE CONTE, 1830)

IUCN Red List - Glyptemys insculpta - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaEmydidae, Emydinae, Testudinoidea, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: (North American) Wood Turtle
G: Waldbachschildkröte 
SynonymTestudo insculpta LE CONTE 1830
Emys speciosa GRAY 1831
Emys speciosa var. levigata GRAY 1831
Emys inscripta GRAY 1831 (ex errore)
Clemmys insculpta FITZINGER 1835
Glyptemys insculpta — AGASSIZ 1857
Chelopus insculptus — HENSHAW 1907: 65
Clemmys insculpta — WRIGHT 1918: 54
Clemmys insculpta — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 51
Clemmys insculpta — CROTHER 2000
Glyptemys insculpta — HOLMAN & FRITZ 2001
Calemys insculpta — FELDMAN & PARHAM 2002
Glyptemys insculpta — OBST 2003: 16
Glyptemys insculpta — MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNI 2006
Glyptemys insculpta — TTWG 2014
Glyptemys insculpta — TTWG 2021 
DistributionCanada (from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, S Ontario),
USA (Maine, SE New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, S New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, N Virginia, West Virginia, NE Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, E Minnesota, NE Iowa)

Type locality: "inhabits the northern states," USA.; restricted to the "vicinity of New York City" by Schmidt (1953:92).  
TypesLectotype: MNHN-RA 6955 and MNHN-RA 9452 (R. Bour, pers. comm., cited in Iverson 1992: 172) (note there is only one specimen with MNHN-RA 9452 being the shell and MNHN-RA 6955 head, tail and members of the same specimen) 
CommentType species: Testudo insculpta LE CONTE, 1830 is the type species of the genus Glyptemys AGASSIZ 1857. Color plate in Hennen (2001).

Fossils: HOLMAN & FRITZ 2001 described Glyptemys valentinensis from the Middle Miocene (Medial to Late Barstovian: ca 14.5-11.5 Ma BP) of Nebraska, which is the closest fossil relative of C. insculpta.

Hybridization: HARDING & DAVIS (1999) reported hybrids between Clemmys insculpta and Emydoidea blandingii. FRITZ (2001: 338 ff) reported a hybrid between Clemmys insculpta and Clemmys marmorata.

Genetics: Montiel et al. (2016) identified a macro-chromosome XX/XY system in the GSD wood turtle Glyptemys insculpta, the youngest known sex chromosomes in chelonians (8–20 My old). Comparative analyses show that their X/Y is homologous to chromosome 4 of Chrysemys picta, chromosome 5 of Gallus gallus (chicken), and thus to the X/Y sex chromosomes of Siebenrockiella crassicollis.

Habitat: freshwater (swamps, bogs, rivers) 
Etymologynamed after Latin “insculpta”, meaning engraved or sculptured; referring to the growth annuli on the carapacial scutes.

The genus is named after the sculptured carapace (Glyptemys = carved turtle). 
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  • Arrowood, C; Arrowood, A & Badje, A F; 2019. Geographic Distribution: Glyptemys insculpta (Wood Turtle) USA: Wisconsin: Langlade Co. Herpetological Review 50 (2): 324 - get paper here
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  • Brown, Donald J., Mike Schrage, Dan Ryan, Ron A. Moen, Mark D. Nelson and Richard R. Buech. 2015. Glyptemys insculpta (wood turtle) longevity in the wild. Herpetological Review 46 (2): 243-244 - get paper here
  • Brown, Donald J.; Mark D. Nelson, David J. Rugg, Richard R. Buech, and Deahn M. Donner 2015. Spatial and Temporal Habitat-Use Patterns of Wood Turtles at the Western Edge of Their Distribution. Journal of Herpetology 50 (3): 347-356. - get paper here
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  • Cochrane, Madaline M.; Donald J. Brown, Mark D. Nelson, Richard R. Buech, Mike Schrage, Dan Ryan, and Ron A. Moen 2018. Status of a Glyptemys insculpta (Wood Turtle) Population in Northeastern Minnesota. Herp. Cons. Biol. 13 (1): 273–282 - get paper here
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  • Hagani, Jason S.; Suzanne K. MaCey, John D. Foley & Chad L. Seewagen 2021. Movement Ecology of the Imperiled Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) in a Lower Hudson River Watershed. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 20(2): 281–289. - get paper here
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  • Hartzell, S. 2017. Glyptemys insculpta (Wood Turtle) and Graptemys geographica (Northern Map Turtle) Interspecific basking. Herpetological Review 48 (3): 622. - get paper here
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