New York Natural Heritage Program
Bog Turtle
Glyptemys muhlenbergii (Schoepff, 1801)
Turtles

Habitat [-]
In New York, bog turtles occur in open-canopy wet meadows, sedge meadows, and calcareous fens. The known habitat in the Lake Plain region of the state includes large fens that may include various species of sedges, such as slender sedge (Carex lasiocarpa), bog buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata), mosses (Sphagnum spp.), pitcher plants (Sarracenia sp.), scattered trees, and scattered shrubs. In the Hudson River Valley, bog turtle habitats may be isolated from other wetlands or they may exist as part of larger wetland complexes. These wetlands are often fed by groundwater and the vegetation always includes various species of sedges. Other vegetation that is frequently found in southern New York bog turtle sites includes shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), grass-of-parnassus (Parnassia glauca), mosses (Sphagnum spp.), horsetail (Equisetum sp.), scattered trees such as red maple (Acer rubrum), red cedar (Juniperus virginianus), and tamarack (Larix laricina), and scattered shrubs such as willows (Salix spp.), dogwood (Cornus spp.), and alder (Alnus spp.).

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Black spruce-tamarack bog*
    A conifer forest that occurs on acidic peatlands in cool, poorly drained depressions. The characteristic trees are black spruce and tamarack; in any one stand, either tree may be dominant, or they may be codominant. Canopy cover is quite variable, ranging from open canopy woodlands with as little as 20% cover of evenly spaced canopy trees to closed canopy forests with 80 to 90% cover.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Dwarf shrub bog*
    A wetland usually fed by rainwater or mineral-poor groundwater and dominated by short, evergreen shrubs and peat mosses. The surface of the peatland is usually hummocky, with shrubs more common on the hummocks and peat moss throughout. The water in the bog is usually nutrient-poor and acidic.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Marl fen
    A wetland that occurs on a bed of marl. Marl is a whitish substance that is deposited from water that has a lot of calcium dissolved in it. The whitish substance is calcium carbonate, people used to harvest marl to lime agricultural fields. The marl substrate is always saturated, may be flooded, and has a very high pH, generally greater than 7.5. The main source of water is always groundwater. The plants are often sparse and stunted. Marl fens may occur as small patches within a rich graminoid fen.
  • Medium fen
    A wetland fed by water from springs and seeps. These waters are slightly acidic (pH values generally range from 4.5 to 6.5) and contain some dissolved minerals. Plant remains in these fens do not decompose rapidly and thus the plants in these fens usually grow on older, undecomposed plant parts of woody material, grasses, and mosses.
  • Red maple-hardwood swamp
    A hardwood swamp that occurs in poorly drained depressions, usually on inorganic soils. Red maple is usually the most abundant canopy tree, but it can also be codominant with white, green, or black ash; white or slippery elm; yellow birch; and swamp white oak.
  • Red maple-tamarack peat swamp
    A swamp that occurs on organic soils (peat or muck) in poorly drained depressions. These swamps are often spring fed or enriched by seepage of mineral-rich groundwater resulting in a stable water table and continually saturated soil. The dominant trees are red maple and tamarack. These species usually form an open canopy (50 to 70% cover) with numerous small openings dominated by shrubs or sedges.
  • Rich graminoid fen
    A wetland of mostly grasses usually fed by water from highly calcareous springs or seepage. These waters have high concentrations of minerals and high pH values, generally from 6.0 to 7.8. Plant remains do not decompose rapidly and these grasses usually grow on older, undecomposed plant parts.
  • Rich shrub fen
    A wetland with many shrubs that is usually fed by water from springs and seeps. These waters have high concentrations of minerals and high pH values, generally from 6.0 to 7.8. Plant remains in these fens do not decompose rapidly and thus the plants in these fens usually grow on older, undecomposed woody plant parts.
  • Rich sloping fen
    A small, gently sloping wetland that occurs in a shallow depression on a slope composed of calcareous glacial deposits. Sloping fens are fed by small springs or groundwater seepage. Like other rich fens, their water sources have high concentrations of minerals and high pH values, generally from 6.0 to 7.8. They often have water flowing at the surface in small channels or rivulets.
  • Sedge meadow
    A wet meadow community that has organic soils (muck or fibrous peat). Soils are permanently saturated and seasonally flooded. The dominant herbs must be members of the sedge family, typically of the genus Carex.

Associated Species [-]
  • Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)
  • Wood Turtle (Clemmys insculpta)