Conservation status

Most kinosternid species are common, reaching amazing population densities (as high as 1,200 per 2.5 acres [1 ha]).

A newly hatched juvenile common musk turtle or stinkpot (Sternotherus odoratus). (Photo by Henri Janssen. Reproduced by permission.)

Eastern mud turtle hatchlings (Kinosternon sp.). (Photo by Animals Animals ┬ęZig Leszczynski. Reproduced by permission.)

However, two tropical, one subtropical, and one temperate species are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The two tropical species (K dunni and K angustipons) are lowland forms with very restricted ranges and hence are probably affected most negatively by habitat destruction. The subtropical species (K. sonoriense) lives primarily in permanent water systems in the deserts of the U.S. Southwest; human competition for water resources has eliminated most of the habitat for this species. The temperate species (Sternotherus depressus) also has a restricted distribution in the permanent streams of north-central Alabama; habitat destruction associated with coal mining and forest clear-cutting seems to have caused the declines in this species.

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