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Spiny Softshell Turtle

Apalone spinifera


The third picture shows the turtles LONG neck that finally came out as we were letting her go. The 4th photo shows the carapace (ventral surface). It is very small relative to the size of the turtle. The last photo shows one of the extensively webbed feet, which I think are so cool. Spiny softshell turtles have soft, flat, rounded carapaces without scutes. This individual is a female, due to her large size. Females are typically more twice the size of males at adulthood. Maximum carapace length for females is 54 cm while males have a max length of about 21 cm.


Spiny softshells inhabit various freshwater systems such as rivers, lakes, marshes, farm ponds as well as bays of the Great Lakes. This individual was caught in a hoop net trap which was set in western Iowa for a mark-recapture study.

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1 Comment

Wild Things
Wild Things 11 years ago

Great spotting!

Spotted by

Monona, Iowa, USA

Spotted on Jul 31, 2012
Submitted on Sep 21, 2012

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