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Narrow-bridged musk turtle
Claudius angustatus
in an aquarium
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Kinosternidae
Subfamily: Staurotypinae
Genus: Claudius
Cope, 1865
C. angustatus
Binomial name
Claudius angustatus
Cope, 1865[1]
  • Claudius angustatus
    Cope, 1865
  • Claudius megalocephalus
    Bocourt, 1868
  • Claudius macrocephalus
    Gray, 1868 (ex errore)
  • Claudius megacephalus
    Boulenger, 1889 (ex errore)
  • Claudias angustatus
    — Velasco, 1892
  • Claudius agassizii
    H.M. Smith & Taylor, 1950
    (nomen nudum)
  • Claudius angustatum
    — Sullivan & Riggs, 1967

The narrow-bridged musk turtle (Claudius angustatus) is a species of turtle in the family Kinosternidae. The species is endemic to Central America and Mexico.

Geographic range

C. angustatus is found in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.[1]


As of 2010, C. angustatus is the only recognized extant species in the genus Claudius.[1]


The narrow-bridged musk turtle is typically brown in color. The scutes of the carapace have lines and graining, imparting an almost wood-like appearance. It often has bright-yellow markings on the edges of the carapace. As it ages, algae often heavily cover the shell, masking the patterning and coloration. The head is large and bulbous for its size, with a sharp beak and a long neck. The carapace is domed, with three distinct ridges down the length. Though classified in the subfamily Staurotypinae with the "giant" musk turtles, the narrow-bridged musk turtle generally only grows to a straight carapace length of about 6.5 in (16.5 cm).[citation needed]

The narrow-bridged musk turtle exhibits genetic sex determination, in contrast to most turtles; although the mechanism is not known for certain, it is suspected to be XX/XY like that of its relative Staurotypus.[3][4]

Behavior, habitat, and diet

Like all musk turtles, the narrow-bridged musk turtle is almost entirely aquatic, and prefers habitats such as slow-moving creeks, or shallow ponds that are heavily vegetated. It spends much of its time walking along the bottom, foraging for aquatic insects and other invertebrates, and carrion. It has glands under the rear of the shell from which it can release a foul-smelling musk, hence its common name.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d Rhodin, Anders G.J.; van Dijk, Peter Paul; Iverson, John B.; Shaffer, H. Bradley (2010-12-14). "Turtles of the world, 2010 update: Annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution and conservation status" (PDF). Chelonian Research Monographs. 5: 000.85–000.164. doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v3.2010. ISBN 978-0965354097. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-15.
  2. ^ Fritz Uwe; Havaš, Peter (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World" (PDF). Vertebrate Zoology. 57 (2): 249–250. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  3. ^ Badenhorst, Daleen; Stanyon, Roscoe; Engstrom, Tag; Valenzuela, Nicole (2013-04-01). "A ZZ/ZW microchromosome system in the spiny softshell turtle, Apalone spinifera, reveals an intriguing sex chromosome conservation in Trionychidae". Chromosome Research. 21 (2): 137–147. doi:10.1007/s10577-013-9343-2. ISSN 1573-6849. PMID 23512312. S2CID 14434440.
  4. ^ Kawagoshi, Taiki; Uno, Yoshinobu; Nishida, Chizuko; Matsuda, Yoichi (2014-08-14). "The Staurotypus Turtles and Aves Share the Same Origin of Sex Chromosomes but Evolved Different Types of Heterogametic Sex Determination". PLOS ONE. 9 (8): e105315. Bibcode:2014PLoSO...9j5315K. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105315. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 4133349. PMID 25121779.

Further reading