Common name: Pacific Coast giant musk turtle
available through www.itis.gov
Native Range: Mexico (lowland Pacific drainages of Oaxaca and Chiapas), Guatemala, El Salvador, and Belize (Uetz, 2012).
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 Staurotypus salvinii are found here.
Table last updated 11/29/2023
† Populations may not be currently present.
Ecology: The Pacific Coast Giant Musk Turtle inhabits slow-flowing waters with soft bottoms and aquatic vegetation (Ernst et al. 2012). Like other musk turtle species, they are carnivorous, eating various types of aquatic invertebrates, as well as fish, amphibians, and carrion. Clutches consist of 6–10 eggs that incubate from 80–210 days (Ernst et al. 2012).
Means of Introduction: Pet release.
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)
Ernst, C.H., Altenburg, R.G.M., and Barbour, R.W. 2012. Turtles of the world. Accessed 8/12/2012 at: http://wbd.etibioinformatics.nl/bis/turtles.php?menuentry=inleiding.
Smith, D.C, Krysko, K.L., Sorenson, T.A., and Sider, M.N. 2011. The Pacific coast giant musk turtle, Staurotypus salvinii Gray 1864 (Kinosternidae), a new non-indigenous species in Florida. IRCF Reptiles and Amphibians 18(1):55—56.
Uetz, P., ed. 2012. The Reptile Database. Accessed 8/3/2012 at: http://www.reptile-database.org.
Revision Date: 4/16/2019
Fuller, P., 2023, Staurotypus salvinii Gray, 1864: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2853, Revision Date: 4/16/2019, Access Date: 11/29/2023
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.