Midland Smooth Softshell

Apalone mutica mutica
Family: 
Trionychidae (softshells) in the order Testudines (turtles)
Description: 

This aquatic species of turtle has a round, smooth upper shell without scutes, extensive webbing on front and hind limbs, and a long, tubular snout. General coloration of the upper shell varies with age and sex. Male smooth softshells and young have an olive-gray or brown upper shell with faint markings of dots and dashes. Adult females have a mottled upper shell with blotches of gray, olive or brown. The lower shell of this species is a plain cream color. Head and limbs are olive or gray above, and light gray or cream-colored below. A light yellow line bordered by black is usually present behind each eye.

Size: 
Adult male midland smooth softshells range in upper shell length from 4 to 7 inches; adult females range from 6 to 14 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
Inhabits large rivers and streams where sand or mud is abundant. It has also been found in large oxbow lakes and constructed reservoirs.
Foods: 
Softshells eat a variety of aquatic animals including fish, crayfish, tadpoles, snails and aquatic insects. In the wild this species is no threat to game fish populations.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Presumed to be statewide, especially in large rivers
Status: 
Due to channelization of rivers and loss of sand bars, the midland smooth softshell is likely declining in Missouri. This reptile is considered a game animal in Missouri, with a season and daily bag limit; consult the Wildlife Code of Missouri for current regulations.
Shortened URL
http://mdc.mo.gov/node/7068