Thursday, August 5, 2021

Midland Painted Turtle

The painted turtle, with four subspecies, is the most widespread turtle in North America. The subspecies are the eastern, midland, southern and western painted turtles.  
This map, from Wikipedia, shows the ranges of the eastern painted turtle (yellow), midland painted turtle (orange), southern painted turtle (blue) and western painted turtle (red). 
The painted turtle, in general: (a) has a shell 4 to 10 inches long; (b) the top shell (carapace) varying from olive green to black in color;  (c) the bottom shall (plastron) is flat-bottomed and can vary from yellow to red and sometimes has dark markings in the center; (d) skin colored from olive to black; (e) yellow stripes on the face with a large yellow spot and streak behind each eye; (f) the chin has two wide yellow stripes that meet at the jaw; and (g) other stripes on the neck, legs and tail that can be yellow or red. 
We were visiting the Sapsucker Woods near Ithaca, New York, part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This midland painted turtle was standing on a log in Sapsucker Woods Pond, near the outer edge. The midland painted turtle is the most difficult of the subspecies to identify - I identified it by location and it was confirmed on iNaturalist. It has a symmetrical dark shadow in the center of the plastron which varies in size and prominence. 


  1. It doesn't look that painted--more shellacked, if you ask me (which you didn't).

  2. It is kind of funny to me that the map where they live kind of looks like a turtle.