Kinosternon acutum

Gray, 1831b
Tabasco mud turtle

Recognition
This medium-sized (to 12 cm) mud turtle usually has a single medial keel present on the carapace (a faint pair of dorsolateral keels may be present in juveniles). Its vertebral scutes are broader than long, and the 1st is in contact with the first two marginals. The 4th pleural scute normally touches the 11th marginal, and marginals 10 and 11 are higher than those preceding them. The carapace is brown to black with dark seams. The double-hinged plastron is not notched posteriorly. When closed, the plastron almost completely covers the shell opening. Its posterior plastral lobe is slightly constricted at the hinge. The plastral formula is: an > abd > gul > hum > fem pect (the length of the gular exceeds 50% of the plastral forelobe length). On the wide bridge the large inguinal scute usually touches (but may be slightly separated from) the much smaller axillary scute. Plastron and bridge are yellow to light brown with dark seams. The head is not greatly enlarged, and the rostral shield covers most of the dorsal surface. Head and limbs are gray to yellow or reddish. Yellow to red marks are always present on the head from the temporal region posteriorly to the neck and on the limbs. The chin is cream colored with dark mottling. Brown or black mottling may also occur on the head, neck, and limbs. No raised patches of horny scales (vinculae) are on the thigh and crus, and both sexes have a spine at the tip of the tail.
Males have long, thick tails and are shorter (10.5 cm) than the females (12 cm), which have short tails.

Distribution
Kinosternon acutum occurs in the Caribbean lowlands of Mexico from central Veracruz southeastward to northern Guatemala and Belize. It is apparently absent from northern part of the Yucat√°n Peninsula.

Habitat
It inhabits lakes, streams, and temporary pools in low-altitude, humid forests not exceeding 300 m elevation.

Natural History
Cope (1865) reported that nesting occurs in March and April and that "few" eggs are laid.

IUCN Red List Status (1996)
Lower risk: near threatened.

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