Blanding’s Turtle

Emys blandingii
(Holbrook, 1838)
Waukesha Co., Wisconsin. September 14, 2009.

A buddy spotted this turtle swimming in a small channel and went in after it (thanks Bryan!). It was my first good look at a blandingii – up to this point, I had only seen several yellow-chinned heads sticking out of the water from a distance. Since that day I’ve seen a few others in Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, and up in Canada. They’re fascinating turtles but they need a better common name – I’m voting for Marsh Turtle.

Placed in the genus Emydoidea for a time, it was thought that Blanding’s Turtles were close relatives of Chicken Turtles (Deirochelys sp.) based on some similar morphological characteristics. A recent genetic analysis of emydid turtles puts this turtle in the genus Emys, along with the two species of western pond turtles and several European pond turtles.

Spinks, P.Q., R.C. Thomson, E. McCartney-Melstad, and H. B. Shaffer. 2016. Phylogeny and temporal diversification of the New World pond turtles (Emydidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 103:85-97

My Flickr album for this species is here.

HerpMapper records for this species are here.

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