Macrochelys temminckii (Troost in Harlan) — Alligator Snapping Turtle
Macrochelys temminckii (Troost in Harlan)  Alligator Snapping Turtle

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Legend
     Exact locality, based on specimen(s) or photographs examined
     Exact locality, based on literature record believed valid
     Approximate locality based on specimen(s) or photographs examined
     Approximate locality based on literature record believed valid
     County record only, based on specimens or photographs examined
     County record only, based on literature report believed valid
     Type locality
?      Questionable and/or problematic record

Taxonomy: No subspecies are recognized (Iverson et al. 2012).

Distribution:  In Tennessee, the Alligator Snapping Turtle has been documented from the following major drainages and bodies of water therein: 1) Mississippi River drainage in the Wolf River, Hatchie River, and Reelfoot Lake; 2) Tennessee River drainage in Wolfever Creek (tributary to Chickamauga Lake) and a number of western and eastern tributaries of Kentucky Lake; and 3) Cumberland River drainage in Lake Barkley, Stones River below Percy Priest Dam, and Radnor Lake's spillway pool (Harpeth River drainage).  The type locality of Macrochelys temminckii (Chelonura temminckii in the original description) was given as “a tributary stream of the Mississippi, which enters that river above Memphis, in West Tennessee” (Harlan 1835).  Due to the imprecise nature of this locality statement, we did not attempt to plot the type locality, although it is probably the Wolf or Loosahatchie River. 

Museum Records by Counties: Benton—APSU 3289.  Davidson—APSU 19552.  DecaturAPSU 19572. Fayette—APSU 18868 Hamilton—APSU 17486.  Henry—APSU 1038.  Houston—APSU 5443, 5490, 5526, 6043, 6048, 6123.  Humphreys—APSU 3843, 6058, 6124.   Perry—APSU 19737, 19738.  Stewart—APSU 4738, 4751, 4762, 5267, 5366, 5434-5438.  TiptonAPSU 19066.  Wayne—APSU 18868.

Literature Sources by Counties: Benton—Endsley (1954).  Davidson—Murrian (1970), Arnett (2016).  DecaturColvin (2015b).  Hamilton—Ekkens and Collins (2008).  Hardeman—Norton (1971), Norton and Harvey (1975).  Henderson—Gentry (1956).  Houston—Scott et al. (2000), Scott and Sutton (2001a), Scott and Sutton (2001b).  Humphreys—Gentry (1956).  Humphreys/Benton—Petit (1978). Obion—Rhoads (1895), Parker (1939), Parker (1948).  Lake—Rhoads (1895), Gentry (1956).  Perry—Johnson (1971).  Shelby—Parker (1948).  Stewart—Scott (1990), Koons and Scott (1993), Scott (1994), Scott and Koons (1994), Scott and Sutton (2001b)Tipton—Parker (1948), Colvin (2011a).  Wayne—Harden (2008).

Questionable and/or Erroneous Records: The Hamilton County record (APSU 17486) reported by Ekkens and Collins (2008) was taken 550 river kilometers upstream from the nearest record in the Tennessee River drainage. Although belonging to Haplotype A, which is commonly found in the Tennessee River system, Ekkens and Collins (2008) question whether the animal was native or introduced to the area.

Conservation Status: Tennessee populations of Macrochelys temminckii are considered Wildlife in Need of Management by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission (Proclamation 00-14, Wildlife in Need of Management) and are given state rankings of S2 (very rare and imperiled within the state, six to twenty occurrences, or few remaining individuals, or because of some factor(s) making it vulnerable to extinction) and S3 (rare and uncommon in the state, from 21-100 occurrences) by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Natural Heritage (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation 2004).

Posted: 14 July 2008

Latest Revision: 14 November 2016


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