Illinois Mud Turtle

Kinosternon flavescens ‘spooneri’
Smith 1951
Muscatine Co., Iowa. May 18, 2018.

As a teenager, I read the account for this turtle in Paul Anderson’s Reptiles of Missouri, and wondered what it would take to find one – I didn’t know anyone who had ever seen a spooneri, and wondered how similar they were to populations of Yellow Mud Turtles in the southwest. As an adult newly relocated to Illinois, I went looking for this turtle along the Illinois River, with little success – I didn’t know much about them, or where they might be found (they’re not an easy turtle). And so spooneri got relegated to the ‘maybe never’ list of herps until 2018, when I had the opportunity to participate in a mark-and-recapture study of an Iowa population, where I learned much about these reclusive turtles. They are currently considered to simply be the northeastern-most populations of Kinosternon flavescens, but who knows? Perhaps spooneri will be restored at some point.

My Flickr album for this species is here.

HerpMapper records for this species are here.

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