The Texas Diamondback Terrapin, (Malaclemys terrapin littoralis), ranges from western Louisiana to Corpus Christi, Texas. The medial keel has terminal knobs. The carapace is dark brown to black, often with concentric grooving. The skin color of the head is white to medium gray with small to medium black spots. Skin coloring on legs ranges from gray with dark spots to entirely black. Texas terrapins can be quite a bit larger than other subspecies. This explains their export to NE markets and to the Beaufort, NC research lab in the early 1900’s.
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Adaptations of ornate diamondback terrapin to their environment
Terrapins look much like their freshwater relatives, but are well adapted to the near shore marine environment. They have several adaptations that allow them to survive in varying salinities. They can live in full strength salt water for extended periods, and their skin is largely impermeable to salt.
Distribution and habitat
Diamondback terrapins live in the very narrow strip of coastal habitats on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States, from as far north as Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to the southern tip of Florida and around the Gulf Coast to Texas.