Diamond-backed Terrapin Malaclemys terrapin (Schoepff, 1973)Coastal Plain only  Synonyms: Diamondback Terrapin, Northern Diamong-backed 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 98 records in the project database.

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

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

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

A Diamond-backed Terrapin in Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (9/30/2018). Photo by Jim Moore. (MBP list)

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

A young Diamond-backed Terrapin in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/13/2019). Photo by Lynn Strauss. (MBP list)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A 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)

A 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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