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Reptiles

Diamond Backed Terrapin Illustration


terrapin
Diamond-Backed Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin), watercolor and gouache

About diamondbacked terrapins:
Diamondback terrapins are found near coastal, brackish marsh waters in North America.  Brackish water is that which has a salinity level between freshwater and saltwater, such as water found in estuaries.  While the terrapin population was decimated due to hunting and reduction of their habitat, after protective laws were enacted their numbers have come back.  Terrapins eat worms, clams, fish, insects, and snails.  They are from 4 to 9 inches in length.  In winter, they hibernate unerwater in mud.  Females breed about every four years.  They lay between four and eighteen eggs.  Diamondback terrapins live up to forty years.  They secrete salt from their tearducts if the water is too salty.

The diamondback terrapin is the Maryland State reptile and the official mascot of the University of Maryland College Park. 

Diamondback terrapins range from the northern coast of the United States to the southern tip of Texas.  (See distribution map of diamondbak terrapins.)

Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Subclass: Anapsida
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Testudinoidea
Family: Emydidae
Subfamily: Deirochelyinae
Genus: Malaclemys
Species: M. terrapin

More information about the diamond-back terrapin and terrapins in general:
Terrapin Conservation at the Wetlands Institute
Diamondback Terrapin at Wikipedia
Maryland State Reptile - Diamondback Terrapin
Texas Diamondback Terrapin



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