Mud and Musk Turtles
The family Kinosternidae consists of four genera and 27 species. Four species belong to the genus Sternotherus (musk turtles), and nineteen belong to the genus Kinosternon (mud turtles). The family Kinosternidae is distributed from southeastern Canada to the United States east of the Rockies and southward to Brazil. These are small turtles, with the largest species in Texas achieving a maximum length close to 7 inches (17.8 cm). Members of this family are aquatic and can be found patrolling the bottoms of brackish marshes, creeks, flooded fields, lakes, ponds, and rivers. Mud and musk turtles have a carapace that is oval-shaped and has twenty-three marginal scutes including the cervical scute. The plastron has ten to eleven scutes and the plastron of the mud turtle's (Kinosternon) has two flexible hinges. Two genera musk turtles and five species of mud turtles are found in Texas.