...a gorgeous eye and a gorgeous apricot stripe behind the eye help identify this turtle as a Midland Smooth Softshell. Another identifying field mark is the pattern on the carapace (upper shell). It is a series of dots and dashes. This pattern appears on all young and male Smooth Softshell turtles. Click here for an earlier post to compare the Midland Smooth Softshell's carapace pattern with that of the Eastern Spiny Softshell. Females of both species lose the intricate patterns and develop blotchy markings.
...now look at the foot. The Smooth Softshell turtle is much more webbed than the Spiny Softshell. This added webbing accounts for the Smooth Softshell's dexterity and speed in the water, and is the reason he can claim the title of fastest swimmer in our area.
...another way to ID smooth softshells is to look at the markings on their feet and legs. Eastern Spiny Softshell turtles are heavily streaked and spotted, but Midland Smooth Softshells are not. Click here for a photo of the markings on a spiny's feet.
For a video I took of baby Smooth Softshell turtles burrowing into the sand, click here.
Click here for more Midland Smooth Softshell turtle photos.