Sonoyta Mud Turtle - Illustration by Bill Singleton

Sonoyta Mud Turtle

Kinosternon sonoriense longifemorale

The Sonoyta mud turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense longifemorale) is a subspecies of Sonoran mud turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense). Its head and neck are brown or olive on top, contrasting with plain yellow or cream color below. The head and neck are also heavily mottled with contrasting light and dark markings. The throat has nipple-like projections. The shell, which is olive or brown in color, normally contains 23 marginal shields. The shell is elongated and high, slightly concave or flat on top with a single keel down the middle and no flaring on the edges.1

K. s. longifemorale are found in springs, creeks, ponds and waterholes of intermittent streams.

Total Range:
K. sonoriense occur along the Gila River drainage of central and southeast Arizona, Laguna Dam and in Yuma County and Big Sandy-Burro River drainages. The only known location in Pima County of K. s. longifemorale is in Quitobaquito Spring.2

When handled, this turtle gives off a musky odor, hence they are sometimes called "stinkpots" or "stinking jims." The odor glands are located on each side of the body where the skin meets the underside of the shell.1

The Sonoyta mud turtle will lay a clutch of 2­9 eggs from May to September. The eggs are buried in soil on land.2

This species eats a variety of food including insects, crustaceans, snails, fish, frogs and some plant materials.

In 1997, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Sonoyta mud turtle as a "candidate" for listing under the Endangered Species Act.3

Sonoyta Mud Turtle in Pima County:
The Sonoyta mud turtle is currently restricted to Quitobaquito Spring, which is located in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Pima County, Arizona.



1. Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Second edition, revised. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

2. Arizona Game and Fish Department. Unpublished Abstract, Heritage Data Management System (HDMS). April 1999

3. USDI, Fish and Wildlife Service. 1997. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Review of Plant and Animal Taxa that are Candidates or Proposed for Listing as Endangered or Threatened, Annual Notice of Findings on Recycled Petitions, and Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions; Notice of Review, Proposed Rule. Federal Register 62(182):49402



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