Turtles of the American Southwest

Below is a list of the currently recognized species and subspecies of turtles and tortoises that occur in the region we have defined as being the American Southwest.

To help maintain some degree of taxonomic stability and reduce confusion, the managers of SWCHR have elected to take a conservative taxonomic approach when deciding which scientific and common names to utilize in our species listings. Please click here for an explanation of our philosophy regarding taxonomic issues.

We invite you, our visitors, to submit high quality photographs for consideration to be included in our species accounts. Please include the scientific name of the specimen, your name and the state and county where the specimen was photographed.


        Caretta caretta – Loggerhead Sea Turtle
        Chelonia mydas – Green Sea Turtle
        Eretmochelys imbricata bissa – Pacific Hawksbill Sea turtle
        Eretmochelys imbricata imbricata – Atlantic Hawksbill Sea Turtle
        Lepidochelys kempii – Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle
        Lepidochelys olivacea– Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

CHELYDRIDAE – Snapping Turtles
        Chelydra serpentina serpentina – Eastern Snapping Turtle
        Macrochelys temminckii – Alligator Snapping Turtle

DERMOCHELYIDAE – Leatherback Sea Turtles
        Dermochelys coriacea – Leatherback Sea Turtle

EMYDIDAE – Box and Water Turtles
         Actinemys marmorata – Northwestern Pond Turtle
         Actinemys pallida – Southwestern Pond Turtle
        Chrysemys dorsalis – Southern Painted Turtle
        Chrysemys picta bellii – Western Painted Turtle
        Deirochelys reticularia miaria – Western Chicken Turtle
        Graptemys caglei – Cagle’s Map Turtle
        Graptemys ouchitensis ouchitensis – Ouchita Map Turtle
        Graptemys ouchitensis sabinensis – Sabine Map Turtle
        Graptemys pseudogeographica kohnii – Mississippi Map Turtle
        Graptemys versa – Texas Map Turtle
        Malaclemys terrapin littoralis – Texas Diamond-backed Terrapin
        Pseudemys concinna concinna – Eastern River Cooter
        Pseudemys gorzugi – Rio Grande Cooter
        Pseudemys texana – Texas River Cooter
        Terrapene carolina triunguis – Three-toed Box Turtle
        Terrapene ornata ornata – Ornate Box Turtle
        Terrapene ornata luteola – Desert Box Turtle
        Trachemys gaigeae gaigeae – Big Bend Slider
        Trachemys scripta elegans – Red-eared Slider

KINOSTERNIDAE – Mud and Musk Turtles
        Kinosternon arizonense – Arizona Mud Turtle
        Kinosternon flavescens – Yellow Mud Turtle
        Kinosternon hirtipes murrayi – Mexican Plateau Mud Turtle
        Kinosternon sonoriense sonorienese – Sonoran Mud Turtle
        Kinosternon sonoriense longifemorale – Sonoyta Mud Turtle
        Kinosternon subrubrum hippocrepis – Mississippi Mud Turtle
        Sternotherus carinatus – Razor-backed Musk Turtle
        Sternotherus odoratus – Eastern Musk Turtle

TESTUDINIDAE – Gopher Tortoises
        Gopherus agassizii – Mojave Desert Tortoise
        Gopherus berlandieri – Texas Tortoise
        Gopherus morafkai – Sonoran Desert Tortoise

TRIONYCHIDAE – Softshell Turtles
        Apalone mutica mutica – Midland Softshell Turtle
        Apalone spinifera emoryi – Texas Spiny Softshell Turtle
Apalone spinifera guadalupensis
– Guadalupe Spiny Softshell Turtle
        Apalone spinifera hartwegi – Western Spiny Softshell Turtle
        Apalone spinifera pallida – Pallid Spiny Softshell Turtle