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Big Bend slider
Big bend slider turtle.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification

Nota bene: Dashes indicate scientific names which are simply new combinations, i.e., not new taxa.

Trachemys gaigeae gaigeae
  • Pseudemys scripta gaigeae
    Hartweg, 1939
  • Pseudemys gaigeae
    — Stejneger & Barbour, 1939
  • Pseudemys scripta gagei
    Zweig & Crenshaw, 1957
    (ex errore)
  • Chrysemys scripta gaigeae
    — H.M. Smith & Taylor, 1966
  • Pseudemys scripta gaigei
    Ernst, 1967 (ex errore)
  • Chrysemys gaigeae
    — Weaver & Rose, 1967
  • Pseudemys scripta gaigea Degenhardt & Christiansen, 1974
    (ex errore)
  • Chrysemys gaigae
    Ashton, Edwards & Pisani, 1976
    (ex errore)
  • Chrysemys gaigea
    — Morafka, 1977
  • Chrysemys scripta gaigae
    — Morafka, 1977
  • Trachemys nebulosa gaigeae
    — Ward, 1984
  • Pseudemys scripta gaigae
    — Stebbins, 1985
  • Trachemys scripta gaigeae
    — Iverson, 1985
  • Trachemys gaigeae
    — Dixon, 1987
  • Trachemys gaigae
    — Williamson, Hyder & Applegarth, 1994
  • Trachemys ornata gaigeae
    — Walls, 1996
  • Trachemys gaigeae gaigeae
    — Seidel, 2002
  • Trachemys scripta gaigae
    — Gurley, 2003
  • Trachemys nebulosa gaigae
    — Joseph-Ouni, 2004
  • Pseudemys scripta hartwegi
    Legler, 1980 (nomen nudum)
  • Chrysemys scripta hartwegi
    — Obst, 1983
  • Trachemys scripta hartwegi
    — Iverson, 1985
  • Pseudemys scripta hartwegi
    Legler, 1990
  • Trachemys scripta hartwegi
    — Iverson, 1992
  • Trachemys ornata hartwegi
    — Walls, 1996
  • Trachemys nebulosa hartwegi
    — Bringsøe, 2001
  • Trachemys gaigeae hartwegi
    — Seidel, 2002

The Big Bend slider (Trachemys gaigeae), also called the Mexican Plateau slider, is a species of aquatic turtle in the family Emydidae. The species is endemic to the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

Geographic range

T. gaigeae is native to the United States in the states of New Mexico and Texas, and to northern Mexico in the state of Chihuahua. It is found primarily in the Rio Grande, Rio Concho, and Rio Nazas river systems.


The epithet, gaigeae, is in honor of American herpetologist Helen Beulah Thompson Gaige, who collected the first specimen in the Big Bend region of Texas in 1928.[1]


The species Trachemys gaigeae was first described by professor of zoology at the University of Michigan, Dr. Norman Edouard Hartweg, in 1939, as a subspecies, Pseudemys scripta gaigeae. Later, it was assigned to the genus Chrysemys, then to the genus Trachemys. Most recently, it was granted full species status, though many sources still refer to it by its various synonyms.


Primarily aquatic, the Big Bend slider is often seen basking on rocks or logs in the water, and when approached quickly dives to the bottom. The only time it spends a large amount of time on land is when females emerge to lay eggs. It is an omnivorous species, with younger animals being more carnivorous, and progressively becoming more herbivorous as they age, with older adults being nearly entirely herbivorous.


Adults of T. gaigeae have a straight carapace length of 5 to 11 inches (13 to 28 cm).


  • Trachemys gaigeae gaigeae (Hartweg, 1939)
  • Trachemys gaigeae hartwegi (Legler, 1990)
  • Species Trachemys gaigeae at The Reptile Database

  • Behler JL, King FW (1979). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 743 pp. ISBN: 0-394-50824-6. (Chrysemys scripta gaigeae, p. 453).
  • Conant R (1975). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. xviii + 429 pp. + Plates 1-48. ISBN: 0-395-19979-4 (hardcover), ISBN: 0-395-19977-8 (paperback). (Chrysemys scripta gaigeae, p. 63 + Figure 10 on p. 58 + Map 25).
  • Hartweg N (1939). "A New American Pseudemys ". Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (397): 1-4. (Pseudemys scripta gaigeae, new subspecies).
  • Legler JM (1990). "Chapter 7. The Genus Pseudemys in Mesoamerica: Taxonomy, Distribution, and Origins". In: Gibbons JW (1990). Life History and Ecology of the Slider Turtle. Washington, District of Columbia: Smithsonian Institution Press. 368 pp. ISBN: 978-0874744682. (Pseudemys scripta hartwegi, new subspecies, pp. 89–91, Figure 7.5, Tables 7.2-7.6).
  • Smith HM, Brodie ED Jr (1982). Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press. 240 pp. ISBN: 0-307-13666-3. (Pseudemys scripta gaigeae, pp. 56–57).
  • Stebbins RC (2003). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. The Peterson Field Guide Series ®. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. xiii + 533 pp. ISBN: 978-0-395-98272-3. (Trachemys gaigeae, pp. 253–254 + Plate 21 + Map 69).
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