...a female Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica) lounges on a log in the Little Miami River. A cloud had just passed in front of the sun, and she seemed a bit miffed, wondering "Where's the sun?"
...look at the size and shape of that noggin! Female Northern Map Turtles have much wider heads than males. As a result, females have a slightly different diet. The larger crushing surface of their jaws allows them to eat larger molluscs. They also eat crayfish and insects. Males eat smaller molluscs and insects. Another difference between males and females--females have smaller tails. In this photo we can see a small tail and a broad head...must be a female!
...a green-haired sea monster!
...or maybe just a male Northern Map turtle who has been busy accumulating moss.
Notice the yellow triangle behind his eye? That is a distinguishing mark for the Northern Map Turtle. It can be triangular, oval or even heart-shaped. Another Map Turtle, the Ouachita Map Turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis), has a more rectangular or crescent-shaped yellow mark, and the False Map Turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica) has a much thinner mark.
...a young Northern Map Turtle still shows a clearly defined dorsal keel. This little guy allowed us to come in pretty close before plopping into the water.
...and talking about plopping, Northern Map Turtles are wary little beasts. This is the usual view of them...the big plop into the water. I was lucky to capture her mid-splash here. Usually I just capture the splash...
For more information on Northern Map Turtles, click here.