Chiapas giant musk turtle
Giant musk turtle
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Kinosternoidea
Family: Kinosternidae
Genus: Staurotypus
Wagler, 1830

Staurotypus is a genus of aquatic turtles commonly known as Mexican musk turtles, giant musk turtles, or three-keeled musk turtles. The two recognized species are found in Mexico and Central America.


Geographic distribution

S. salvinii is found primarily in Mexico, in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, but ranges south into Guatemala, El Salvador, and Belize. S. triporcatus is also found primarily in Mexico, and is more widespread, found in the states of Veracruz, Tabasco, Chiapas, Yucatán, and Campeche, and ranges south into Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Mexican musk turtle
S. triporcatus


They are typically much larger than other species of Kinosternidae, attaining sizes of up to 36 cm (14 in) carapace length, with males being significantly smaller than females. They are typically brown, black, or green in color, with yellow undersides. Their carapaces are distinguished by three distinct ridges, or keels, which run their length.


Like other musk turtle species, they are carnivorous, eating various types of aquatic invertebrates, as well as fish and carrion.


Further reading

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