Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)

(Ref. 01)
Picture Notes: I took these pictures on 01/16/2014 while visiting Rogers Spring, a colorful desert oasis located along Lake Mead’s North Shore Drive. I spotted two of them swimming in the small, warm water, spring fed pond found here (Fig. 05). There are many unusual fish and turtles that live in the pond. Many of the fish found here were imported by the former private owners of the land in and around Rogers Spring to sell the fish to pet stores. Because of this, it is highly unlikely that neither the fish nor turtles are indigenous to the area. There are molly's, guppies, ciclids, and more. If you look closely to some of these pictures, (Figs. 01 & 04), you can spot some of the fish swimming around the turtles.
(Fig. 02)
Description: The painted turtle (Chrysemys picta), is the most widespread native turtle of North America. It lives in slow-moving fresh waters, from southern Canada to Louisiana and northern Mexico, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The turtle is the only species of the genus Chrysemys, which is part of the pond turtle family Emydidae. Fossils show that the painted turtle existed 15 million years ago. Four regionally based subspecies (the eastern, midland, southern, and western) evolved during the last ice age.
The adult painted turtle female is 4–10 inches long; the male is smaller. The turtle's top shell is dark and smooth, without a ridge. Its skin is olive to black with red, orange, or yellow stripes on its extremities. The subspecies can be distinguished by their shells: the eastern has straight-aligned top shell segments; the midland has a large gray mark on the bottom shell; the southern has a red line on the top shell; the western has a red pattern on the bottom shell. The turtle eats aquatic vegetation, algae, and small water creatures including insects, crustaceans, and fish. Although they are frequently consumed as eggs or hatch-lings by rodents, canines, and snakes, the adult turtles' hard shells protect them from most predators. Reliant on warmth from its surroundings, the painted turtle is active only during the day when it basks for hours on logs or rocks.While habitat loss and road killings have reduced the turtle's population, its ability to live in human-disturbed settings has helped it remain the most abundant turtle in North America. Adults in the wild can live for more than 55 years.
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
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