EMYSystem Text Only Species Page: Trachemys scripta

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order..........TESTUDINES (turtles, tortoises and terrapins)
family...........Emydidae (Pond Turtles)
subfamily.......Deirochelyinae ()
genus...............Trachemys (Slider Turtles)
species..............Trachemys scripta (Common Slider)
Original Description
Schoepff 1792 : 16
Not designated
Type Locality
Unknown; designated as "Charleston, South Carolina" [USA] by Schmidt (1953:102)
Original name
Testudo scripta
Common Name
Common Slider
(Two maps) Eastern USA from southern Michigan and Maryland to eastern New Mexico, northern Florida, and into Mexico; in Mexico in the Río Grande and Río Nazas drainages and along both coastal plains from Sonora and Tamaulipas south through Central America to Northern Colombia and Venezuela; southern Baja California (Mexico); introduced on Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles and to various localities in California, Arizona, and peninsular Florida, USA and Israel, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa (Newbery, 1984; Boycott and Bourquin, 1988); only representative records are plotted for the continuous portion of the range in the south-central USA.
There is some controversy about which of the subspecies deserve species rank (see Ward 1980 and 1984; who considered gaigeae, hartwegi, hiltoni, and nebulosa as subspecies of T. nebulosa. T. dorbigni (formerly a subspecies of T. scripta) has only recently been elevated to a full species by most authors (see separate account). Of the forms still included here within T. scripta, there appear to be two major evolutionary lineages represented (e.g., Seidel, 1988); the "temperate North American lineage" includes scripta, elegans, and troostii, and the "Neotropical lineage" includes all other currently recognized subspecies. Recognizing this divergence, several authors have considered the form gaigeae to be a full species (e.g., Garrett and Barker, 1987; Dixon, 1987; Price and Hillis, 1989; and Conant and Collins, 1991). However, gaigeae is not the oldest name available for the "Neotropical" slider complex, and it therefore seems prudent to follow Moll and Legler (1971) and Legler (1990) in retaining gaigeae as a subspecies of T. scripta until the relationships within the Neotropical complex are better understood. Reviewed by Williams (1956), Moll and Legler (1971), Smith and Smith (1979), Fritz (1981b; Mexican subspecies only), Pritchard and Trebbau (1984; in part), and Ernst (1990) and Legler (1990) in a monograph edited by Gibbons (1990).
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