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Sternotherus depressus TINKLE & WEBB, 1955

IUCN Red List - Sternotherus depressus - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaKinosternidae (Kinosterninae), Kinosternoidea, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Flattened Musk Turtle 
SynonymSternotherus depressus TINKLE & WEBB 1955
Sternotherus minor depressus — WERMUTH & MERTENS 1961
Sternotherus depressus — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 46
Sternotherus depressus — CROTHER 2000
Kinosternon depressum — BONIN et al 2006
Sternotherus depressus — SCOTT et al. 2017
Sternotherus depressus — TTWG 2021 
DistributionUSA (N Alabama)

Type locality: "Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River, 9 miles east of Jasper, Walker County, Alabama, near the bridge crossing of U.S. Highway 78".  
TypesHolotype: LSUM 109567 (was: TU 16171 at Tulane University) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Morphologically, S. depressus can be diagnosed from all other species of Sternotherus by this combination of characteristics: a round low carapace with flared margins that may possess a single low keel in young animals (but lateral keels are lacking), reticulate pattern of lines on the head and neck, and a single pair of neck barbels. There is evidence of introgression between S. depressus and S. peltifer in this, and other work (e.g. Scott and Rissler 2015). and hybrids between these two species may be found in the North River drainage of the Black Warrior River (Scott et al. 2017). 
CommentHabitat: freshwater (swamps, quiet rivers)

Hybridization: Sternotherus depressus and S. minor hybridize (Scott et al. 2017). In fact, S. depressus is nested within S. minor

Distribution: see map in Scott et al. 2017: Fig. 2. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin depressus = pressed down or low, for the dorsoventrally flattened carapace. 
  • Bonin, F., Devaux, B. & Dupré, A. 2006. Turtles of the World. English translation by P.C.H. Pritchard. Johns Hopkins University Press, 416 pp.
  • Bour, R. 2008. Global diversity of turtles (Chelonii; Reptilia) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595:593–598 - get paper here
  • Conant,R. & Collins,J.T. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin (Boston/New York), xx + 450 p.
  • Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2012. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Seventh Edition. Herpetological Circular 39: 1-92
  • Dodd, C.K., Jr. 1988. Patterns of Distribution and Seasonal Use of the Turtle Sternotherus depressus by the Leech Placobdella parasitica Journal of Herpetology 22 (1): 74-81. - get paper here
  • Dodd, C.K., Jr. 1989. Secondary Sex Ratio Variation among Populations of the Flattened Musk Turtle, Sternotherus depressus Copeia 1989 (4): 1041-1045. - get paper here
  • Ernst, Carl H.; Lovich, Jeffrey E. 2009. Turtles of the United States and Canada, 2nd edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, 827 pp. - get paper here
  • Ernst,C.H. and Barbour,R.W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. - London
  • Fonnesbeck, C.J. & C.K. Dodd, Jr. 2003. Estimation of Flattened Musk Turtle (Sternotherus depressus) Survival, Recapture, and Recovery Rate during and after a Disease Outbreak Journal of Herpetology 37 (3): 602-607. - get paper here
  • Iverson, John B. 1977. Sternotherus depressus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (194): 1-2 - get paper here
  • Iverson, John B. 1998. Molecules, morphology, and mud turtle phylogenetics (Family Kinosternidae). Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 3 (1): 113-117
  • Jenkins, A. Joseph, James C. Godwin, Daniel A. Warner & David A. Steen. 2022. Movement Ecology of Flattened Musk Turtles (Sternotherus depressus). Journal of Herpetology 56 (1): 1–7. - get paper here
  • Marion, K.R., W.A. Cox & C.H. Ernst 1991. Prey of the Flattened Musk Turtle, Sternotherus depressus Journal of Herpetology 25 (3): 385-387. - get paper here
  • Schilde, M. 2003. Family Kinosternidae. Reptilia (GB) (26): 16-21 - get paper here
  • Scott, P. A., Glenn, T. C., & Rissler, L. J. 2017. Resolving taxonomic turbulence and uncovering cryptic diversity in the musk turtles (Sternotherus) using robust demographic modeling. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • Seidel, M.E., and R.V. Lucchino. 1981. Allozymic and morphological variation among the musk turtles Sternotherus carinatus, S. depressus and S. minor (Kinosternidae). Copeia 1981 (1):119-128. - get paper here
  • Tinkle, D.W., and R.G. Webb 1955. A new species of Sternotherus with a discussion of the Sternotherus carinatus complex (Chelonia, Kinosternidae). Tulane Stud. Zool. 3 (3): 53 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Wermuth, H., and R. Mertens. 1961. Schildkröten, Krokodile, Brückenechsen. Gustav Fischer Verlag, Jena. xxvi + 422 pp.
  • Zug G R 1986. Sternotherus Gray. Musk turtles. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles ( 397: 1-3 - get paper here
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