Swamp Things BioBlitz Spotlight Species #7

Spotlight Species #7:
Eastern river cooter (Pseudemys concinna concinna)

What to Look For:
The eastern river cooter is often confused for the yellow-bellied slider. These two species look very similar. They are both black and yellow, but there are some good ways to tell them apart.
While both have yellow bellies, the yellow-bellied slider is ALL yellow while the eastern river cooter’s belly will have black pigments. The eastern river cooter has a longer lower shaped shell while the yellow-bellied slider has a more dome-shaped shell. Also, the eastern river cooter has a straight smooth shell edge whereas the yellow-bellied slider has a more sawtoothed shell edge. They also have different yellow markings on their faces. The eastern river cooter has defined yellow stripes on the face while the yellow-bellied slider has a big yellow blotch behind the eye.

Where to Find It:
The eastern river cooter prefers flowing water, such as rivers, but will also hang out in freshwater swamps. They are basking turtles that like to hang out on logs and riverbanks to catch some sun.

Why It Is a Spotlight Species:
The turtles can be found throughout the Waccamaw River watershed. You have to spot them while they are basking, because once they submerge, you may not see them for awhile! The eastern river cooter can breathe underwater for extended periods of time through a sac called the cloaca bursae.

These swamp things are a mysterious species worth shell-ebrating.

Posted on March 15, 2023 11:43 PM by waccamaw_riverkeeper waccamaw_riverkeeper


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