Western Spiny Softshell

Apalone spinifera ‘hartwegi’
Jacks Fork River, Missouri Ozarks. May 29, 1988.

It’s not hard to spot softshells tooling along the bottoms of clear Ozark streams, and I was able to spot a dozen or more in this fashion during a two-day float trip. The top turtle is a juvenile found on the Cedar River in Iowa, and the bottom turtle was photographed basking on the banks of a ditch in early spring at Mingo NWR in southeastern Missouri. This subspecies was sunk as a synonym of Apalone spinifera spinifera by McGaugh et al. (see below) but per my life list rules, it remains on my list.

McGaugh, S.E.; Eckerman, C.M. & Janzen, F.J. 2008. Molecular phylogeography of Apalone spinifera (Reptilia, Trionychidae). Zoologica Scripta 37: 289–304

My Flickr album for this species is here.

HerpMapper records for this species are here.

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