What is the difference between a Painted Turtle and a Red-eared Slider?
The Western Painted Turtle co-occurs with the introduced Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) in many areas of its range and may be confused with this species. Both species are similar in size and carapace colouration. However, the carapace of the Red-eared Slider is higher domed than that of the Western Painted Turtle and is weakly keeled. (see photos)
Characteristics that most obviously distinguish the Slider include yellow marginal scutes, a yellow plastron covered in dark, blotchy markings, and a red ear mark located just behind the eye (although this ear mark is not always visible in older specimens). Like the Western Painted Turtle, male Sliders are smaller than females, and have long claws on the forefeet that are used during courtship (Bunnell 2005). source: Kilburn, 2010
Compare the photos of the two species. Can you tell the difference between the turtles?
Range and Habitats:
Compare the distributiom maps of the two species. What do you notice?Click on the range map for more information on the distribution of turtles in Washington.
carapace - a turtle's top shell
keel - a raised ridge along the middle (front to back) of the carapace of some turtles
plastron - a turtle's bottom shell
scute - the large, separate scales on the carapace and plastron of most turtles
Kilburn, V. Recovery Strategy for Western Pond Turtle (draft).
Photos: Vanessa Kilburn; Tim Knight; Natures Pics