Clemmys in Greek means turtle; marmor is Latin for marble.
The Pacific Pond Turtle reaches a length of 7 1/2 inches (187.5 mm).
This species varies in color from dark brown and olive to black with a radiating pattern of spots on the carapace shields. The plastron is yellowish. Other than its olive-drab appearance and relatively flat profile, this turtle has no notable features.
Subspecies: Two subspecies have been recognized: the Southern Pacific Pond Turtle (C. m. pallida) and the Northern Pacific Pond Turtle (C. m. marmorata). The Southern Pacific Pond Turtle subspecies occurs in this region.
Range and Habitat
The Pacific Pond Turtle ranges from the state of Washington, south along the Pacific slopes and interior valleys into northPacific Baja California. It is San Diego County's only native freshwater turtle.
It lives where water persists throughout the year -- in ponds along foothill streams or in broad washes near the coast where water is concentrated from back country streams. The ponds favored by turtles are characterized by various emergent and floating vegetation such as cattails and mats of algae. These islands of vegetation are usually large enough to ensure a fair supply of food and protection for the pond turtle.
Behavior: When undisturbed these turtles will sun themselves on rocks protruding from the pond or on partially sunken logs. Sometimes, they float on large patches of green algae. At the first sign of danger, they quickly splash into the safety of the pond, where they become invisible to predators.
Prey and Predators: Their diet includes small fish, frogs, various aquatic insects, and some plants. Insects are the best represented group of animals in ponds, and make up a large part of the pond turtle diet. The larvae and nymphs of caddisflies and dragonflies probably serve as an important food source.
Predators include raccoon and coyotes. Young turtles are preyed upon by a wider range of creatures, such as raptors, ravens, weasels, and large fish species.
Breeding: In mid to late spring, the turtles breed and lay up to eleven eggs in a clutch. The female deposits her eggs in sand or loose soil, usually near the pond. Hatchlings appear in about 12 weeks.
The Pacific Pond Turtle is currently a Federal Special Concern species (FSC) and protected as a California Special Concern species (DFG-CSC).