Found along the Rio Grande River and surrounding areas from the eastern edge of the Texas panhandle down to the Gulf of Mexico. A separate population can also be found in southeastern New Mexico and into the northern Texas panhandle.
This aquatic turtle lives in clear, deep pools and clear or muddy streams. It requires lots of emergent logs and rocks for basking.
This turtle has an ornately patterned carapace with many irregular patches of concentric rings. Between these patterns, the background color is dark yellow to orange. The rings are alternating colors of greenish yellow and black. The carapace is smooth and the posterior marginal scutes are mildly serrated. Its plastron is mostly yellow with dark seams, and sometimes shaded brown. The skin on its head and neck is black with yellow stripes. Its legs are black with yellow, orange, or red stripes. Adults reach 9.5 inches in carapace length, with females growing larger than males. Shell shape is oval and somewhat flattened.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians