Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin Malaclemys terrapin terrapin (Schoepff, 1973)Coastal Plain only  Synonyms: Diamondback Terrapin.

Status:

Maryland's state reptile is the Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin). It is also well-known as the mascot of University of Maryland. It is found in the brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay, including its rivers, tidal marshes, and islands. It may be the only turtle species in the world that lives exclusively in brackish water.

Diamondback Terrapins populations were decimated by over-collection and commercial harvesting in the 18th and 19th century. The commercial harvest in Maryland was only ended in 2007. Other major threats include coastal development, nest predation by mammals and gulls, boat strikes, sea level rise, and drowning as bycatch in crab pots. The latter threat is significantly diminished by using turtle excluders or BRDs (Bycatch Reduction Devices), which are now required by law.

Relationships:

Feeds on mollusks, crustaceans, fish, and worms. Eggs and young are predated by mammals and birds.

There are 95 records in the project database.

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A Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin in Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (7/21/2015). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

A Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin in Talbot Co., Maryland (6/16/2018). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

A Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin in Worcester Co., Maryland (7/5/2016). Photo by Marcia Balestri. (MBP list)

A Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin in southern Dorchester Co., Maryland (5/8/2010). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list) (More of this species)

A Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin on Assateague Island, Maryland (6/10/2013). Photo by Scott Housten. (MBP list)

A Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin in Worcester Co., Maryland (5/31/2012). Photo by Nancy Magnusson. (MBP list)

A Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin in Somerset Co., Maryland (6/26/2007). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

A Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin in Wicomico Co., Maryland (8/9/2013). Photo by Bill Cecil. (MBP list)

A Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin off Point Lookout, Maryland (8/7/2010). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin in Talbot Co., Maryland (4/25/2016). Photo by Jared Satchell. (MBP list)

A female Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin in Dorchester Co., Maryland (6/23/2014). Photo by Nancy Magnusson. (MBP list)

A Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin in Kent Co., Maryland (5/18/2015). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin in Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (5/21/2018). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

A Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin returning to the Bay after laying eggs in Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (6/4/2017). Photo by Maren Gimpel. (MBP list)

Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin tracks (with Piping Plover tracks) in Worcester Co., Maryland (5/17/2017). Photo by Mike Burchett. (MBP list)


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