Common name: Wood Turtle
available through www.itis.gov
Native Range: Northeastern United States, the Great Lakes region, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia with isolated populations in northern New York and Quebec (Cardoza et al., 1993; Conant and Collins, 1998). Not historically found in Virginia south of Rockingham County, in most of northwestern New York, or in the Cape Cod region (Buhlmann and Mitchell, 1989; Ernst et al., 1994; Conant and Collins, 1998).
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Puerto Rico &
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps
Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Glyptemys insculpta are found here.
Table last updated 12/3/2023
† Populations may not be currently present.
Ecology: The wood turtle inhabits wetlands, streams, and rivers, as well as meadows, forests, and farmlands adjacent to water (Ernst et al. 1994; Conant and Collins, 1998).
The species hibernates in water, and is most aquatic in the northern portion of its range (Ernst et al. 1994; Conant and Collins, 1998). Mating peaks in spring and fall and nesting occurs in May and June, when 4 to 18 eggs are laid in holes excavated in the soil (Ernst et al. 1994).
Means of Introduction: Pet release.
Status: Failed in Florida and Massachusetts.
Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.
References: (click for full references)
Cardoza, J. E., G. S. Jones, T.W. French, and D. B. Halliwell. 1993. Exotic and translocated vertebrates of Massachusetts, 2nd edition. Fauna of Massachusetts Series 6. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Publication 17223-110-200-11/93-C.R, Westborough, MA.
Conant, R. and J. T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians. Eastern and Central North America. Third Edition, Expanded. Houghton and Mifflin Co. Boston.
Crother, B.I. (chair). Committee on Standard and English and Scientific Names. 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular. No. 37. iii + 86p.
Ernst, C. H., J. E. Lovich, and R. W. Barbour. 1994. Turtles of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London.
Lazell, J. D., Jr. 1976. This broken archipelago: Cape Cod and the islands; Amphibians and Reptiles. The New York Times Book Co., New York.
McKercher, E., and Fuller, P.
Revision Date: 6/29/2023
McKercher, E., and Fuller, P., 2023, Glyptemys insculpta (LeConte, 1830): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=1234, Revision Date: 6/29/2023, Access Date: 12/4/2023
This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.