Native to the central and southeastern United States, from southeastern Kansas to eastern Texas, along the Gulf Coast through northern Florida, and up the Atlantic coast to Virginia. It is only found in a few small patches of West Virginia and Kentucky.
This aquatic turtle prefers permanent shallow rivers and lakes with lots of aquatic vegetation. It will sometimes inhabit ponds, swamps, or springs. It rarely strays more than 30 meters from water sources.
This species has an average carapace length of 22-28 cm, with females outgrowing males and having higher-domed shells. It has an elongated, oval-shaped shell, with mild serrations on the posterior marginal scutes. Its carapace is mostly dark green to black with yellow to greenish markings that are often quite subtle. Its plastron is yellow, often with some faded dark blotches along the seams of the gular and anal scutes. It has black skin with yellow stripes. Its snout is short and blunt.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians