Maricopa County, AZ
|SPINY SOFTSHELL Apalone spinifera|
DESCRIPTION: A large (shell up to 470 mm or 18.5" in length), exceptionally flat, disc-shaped water turtle with a leathery shell and a pointed, snorkel-like snout. Soft, fleshy lips conceal a large, sharp jaw. The leading edge of the shell is adorned with small tubercles. Overall coloration is tan, gray, or olive and the top part of the shell (carapace) is often marked with spots or ocelli. A thin, dark line runs around the margin of the light-edged carapace. Shell markings are more distinct on juveniles and males. The head and limbs are often marked with small, black flecks or speckles. The bottom part of the shell (plastron) is cream or white and is partially translucent. The limbs are flat and paddle-like and the feet are webbed. Females grow to a much larger size than males. Males have a sand-paper like texture on the carapace.
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