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Kinosternon is a genus of small aquatic turtles from the Americas known commonly as mud turtles.

Mississippi mud turtle
Kinosternon subrubrum hippocrepis
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Kinosternoidea
Family: Kinosternidae
Subfamily: Kinosterninae
Genus: Kinosternon
Spix, 1824[1]

Geographic range


They are found in the United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America. The greatest species richness is in Mexico, and only three species (K. dunni, K. leucostomum, and K. scorpioides) are found in South America.



They are very similar to the musk turtles, but generally smaller in size, and their carapaces are not as highly domed.



All mud turtles are carnivorous, consuming various aquatic invertebrates (especially molluscs and worms[2]) , fish, and even carrion.



Mud turtles live in the ground layer on the bed of bodies of slowly-flowing or still water. By burrowing deeply into mud, mud turtles are protected from danger. They occasionally like to bask in the sun.[2]







Kinosternon arizonense Gilmore, 1923 (known from Plio-Pleistocene fossil remains, formerly considered conspecific with K. stejnegeri)[1][5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai Rhodin 2010, p. 000.95-000.98
  2. ^ a b Obst, Fritz Jürgen (1986). Turtles, Tortoises, and Terrapins (1 ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 112. ISBN 0-312-82362-2.
  3. ^ Loc-Barragán, Jesús A.; Reyes-Velasco, Jacobo; Woolrich-Piña, Guillermo A.; Grünwald, Christoph I.; Anaya, Myriam Venegas De; Rangel-Mendoza, Judith A.; López-Luna, Marco A. (27 November 2020). "A New Species of Mud Turtle of Genus Kinosternon (Testudines: Kinosternidae) from the Pacific Coastal Plain of Northwestern Mexico". Zootaxa. 4885 (4): 509–529. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4885.4.3. PMID 33311258.
  4. ^ Rhodin, Anders G.J.; Inverson, John B.; Roger, Bour; Fritz, Uwe; Georges, Arthur; Shaffer, H. Bradley; van Dijk, Peter Paul (August 3, 2017). "Turtles of the world, 2017 update: Annotated checklist and atlas of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution, and conservation status(8th Ed.)" (PDF). Chelonian Research Monographs. 7. ISBN 978-1-5323-5026-9. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  5. ^ a b McCord, Robert D. (2016-02-17). "What is Kinosternon arizonense?". Historical Biology. 28 (1–2): 310–315. Bibcode:2016HBio...28..310M. doi:10.1080/08912963.2015.1053879. ISSN 0891-2963. S2CID 85572922.
  6. ^ López-Luna, Marco A.; Cupul-Magaña, Fabio G.; Escobedo-Galván, Armando H.; González-Hernández, Adriana J.; Centenero-Alcalá, Eric; Rangel-Mendoza, Judith A.; Ramírez-Ramírez, Mariana M.; Cazares-Hernández, and Erasmo. "A Distinctive New Species of Mud Turtle from Western México". Chelonian Conservation and Biology. 2018.