Kinosternon chimalhuaca

Berry, Seidel, and Iverson, 1997
Jalisco mud turtle

This is the most recently described member of the scorpioides complex. The elongated, oval carapace (to 15.7 cm) is slightly rounded to flattened medially with three weak longitudinal keels, and is widest at the center or just anterior to the center. The carapacial scutes are imbricate, and in some populations translucent. Vertebral 1 is flared anteriorly, but is slightly longer than broad; vertebrals 2-5 are usually broader than long, and vertebral 5 is flared posteriorly. Vertebrals 1-3 may be the longest, vertebrals 4-5 shortest in about 12% of adults. Marginals 8-10 are flared, and marginal 10 is elevated above the others. The carapace is tan to dark brown or olive, often with patches of darker pigment or dark stains. The carapacial seams are dark brown or black. The plastron is rather small (proportionally smaller in adult males than in either adult females or juveniles) and does not completely clover the ventral opening of the shell. A single movable hinge is present between the pectoral and abdominal scutes; a posterior notch is also present. The hind lobe is longer than the fore lobe. The plastral formula is either abd > an > gul > fem > hum > pect (approximately 75% of individuals) or abd > an > gul > fem > pect > hum (about 25% of individuals). The bridge is narrow, allowing the axillary and inguinal scutes to touch. Plastron and bridge are yellow to brown with dark seams and, often, dark stains abound the bridge. The head is moderate in size with a slightly projecting snout and a hooked upper jaw. The chin has 1-4 pairs of barbels. In color, the head is brown dorsally with numerous yellow to orange vermiculations, and lighter gray or cream or brownish yellow below with or without darker spots in the gular region. Jaw sheaths are yellow, gray or brown, with those of males bearing dark bars. Juveniles have a yellow stripe extending from the lower side of the orbit backward to the lower jaw. Neck, limbs and tail are brown dorsally, cream to yellow below. Several enlarged transverse scales are present on the anterior surfaces of the forelimbs and on the heels of the hind feet. The tail ends in a spine.
The male has a larger head, shorter plastron, and a longer tail than the female. He also has dark bars on his jaws.

The Jalisco mud turtle ranges along the Pacific coast of southern Mexico in Jalisco and Colima from the vicinity of Chamela south and east to the Rio Cihuatl√°n.

A clear pond with abundant aquatic vegetation and fringing hardwood swamp is preferred, but the species also occurs in muddy ponds (both permanent and drying).

Geographic Variation
No subspecies have been described, but Berry et al. (1997) pointed out that turtles from the Rio Purificación differ in being lighter in color, with the lightest individuals having scutes sufficiently translucent that the underlying bony sutures are visible.

Natural History
All we know of this turtle was published with the original description by Berry et al. (1997). Females mature at about 100 mm (99-107) carapace length in 7-8 years; males matured at 100-105 mm in 5-7 years. Captives laid clutches averaging 3.7 (2-5) elongated eggs, which averaged 33.4 mm (29.0-36.6) in length and 17.5 mm (16.8-18.2) in width.
Natural foods include mollusks, insects, crustaceans, aquatic plants and detritus.

Rogner (1996) published data furnished to him by the authors of this species prior to their own publication. Strictly spoken, K. chimalhuaca Berry, Seidel, and Iverson therefore was made available as of Rogner (1996).

IUCN Red List Status (1996)
Not included (described after publication).