Declining populations of yellow mud turtles (Kinosternon flavescens) in Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri

James L. Christiansen, Neil P. Bernstein, Christopher A Phillips, Jeffrey T. Briggler, Don Kangas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies of the yellow mud turtle Kinosternon flavescens in the late 1970s and 1980s documented eight clusters of localities in nine counties in Illinois, five in four counties in Iowa, and five in two counties in Missouri. Sampling that began in 1995 verified continued existence of the species at only two localities in Illinois, two in Iowa, and one in Missouri. Severe declines have occurred in the largest population in each of these states. In all three states, lowered water levels, usually due to withdrawal of water from aquifers, have contributed at least partly to some of the declines. Water has disappeared from some ponds for multiple years. Other contributors are encroachment of woody plants on nesting habitats or between nesting areas and aquatic feeding areas, which often are associated with heavy predation on turtles and nests by mesopredators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-313
Number of pages10
JournalSouthwestern Naturalist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012


  • INHS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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