Texas diamondback terrapin

Malaclemys terrapin littoralis

Family Emydidae - turtle, pond

Shell dark brown to black; upper shell (carapace) scales with concentric ridges; center of carapace has a medial knobbed keel; margins of carapace sometime orange; lower shell (plastron) yellow to orange with darker markings; head is white to gray to green with small to medium dark spots, darker diamond-shaped marking on top of head, upper lip sometimes with darker "mustache"; legs are gray with spots to completely black.
Similar Species
This is the only land turtle found in coastal marshes and the only diamondback subspecies native to Texas. It can usually be distinguished from other turtles by its greenish, spotted head. Other diamondback terrapins have bulbous knobs on their backs, have a keel but no knobs, or no keel or knobs.
Coastal marshes
Maximum Size
23 cm (9 in)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
There are 7 subspecies of the diamondback terrapin, ranging from Cape Cod to Texas. Most have specific, narrow geographic ranges.




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