Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Thomas K. Pauley

Second Advisor

Dan Evans

Third Advisor

Jayme Waldron


Little is known about turtle assemblages in West Virginia, especially in the eastern panhandle. The only published work on Pseudemys rubriventris (Le Conte) in the state is by Green and Pauley (1987). Pseudemys rubriventris are considered an S2 species by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources which means they are considered rare and imperiled in the state (WVDNR, Wildlife Diversity Program). Their range includes the Coastal Plains rivers of the mid-Atlantic region, from northern North Carolina to central New Jersey (Ernst et al. 1994). In West Virginia, they inhabit the Ridge and Valley physiographic province, which is the only mountainous environment where they are known to reside (Green and Pauley, 1987). During the summer of 2005 and 2006, I surveyed turtle populations in the eastern panhandle to document turtle assemblage data for the area. All turtles captured were marked by filing or drilling the marginal scutes, so they could be identified if recaptured. Thirty-eight trap nights with 10 traps per night yielded P. rubriventris in 3 of the 5 counties trapped. Visual surveys were employed in the remaining 2 counties of the eastern panhandle which yielded P. rubriventris in Jefferson and Berkley counties. My study also suggests that a zone of intergradation for Chrysemys picta lies east of the Allegheny Front and redefines the distribution range for C. p. picta and C. p. marginata in West Virginia. An auxiliary study was conducted in 2006 to determine if digital imaging could be used accurately to identify turtles when recaptured. In addition to P. rubriventris, 4 other turtle species were observed, Chrysemys picta (the most common), Chelydra serpentina, Sternotherus odoratus and Glyptemys insculpta. This study provides valuable data for better management of Pseudemys rubriventris and other turtle species in West Virginia.


Pseudemys -- West Virginia.

Turtle culture -- West Virginia.