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|All Authors / Contributors:||John D Groves|
|Notes:||Fig. 1. -Individual localities of Chrysemys picta examined. A = Ohio River Drainage, B = Chesapeake Bay Drainage, C = Atlantic Ocean Drainage|
Painted turtles Chrysemys picta were studied from 21 Maryland counties to determine their taxonomic status. Three characters were used to distinguish among C. p. picta, C. p. marginata and C. p. picta x p. marginata populations. The study area was divided into three sections which correspond with the major drainage systems in the state. All populations were considered to be intergrades between C. p. picta and C. p. marginata. The zoogeographical invasion patterns of Maryland by painted turtles are discussed. The routes of dispersal into Maryland by Chrysemys picta are the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River and its tributaries in the S. Chrysemys p. marginata entered the state from the N and possibly the W via the Ohio River drainage. A second invasion of C. p. marginata occurred from the N via the Chesapeake watershed after the turtle had crossed the Atlantic-Ohio Divide, creating an intergrade population within this drainage system. This study indicates a more recent invasion of the intergrade population of painted turtles in the Chesapeake drainage system as a result of stream capture between tributaries of the Potomac River and tributaries of the Ohio River. This more recent invasion accounts for the intergrade population of painted turtles in the Ohio River watershed of western Maryland and possibly southwestern Pennsylvania.