The Difficulties in Species Identification
There are many issues regarding identifying the different species frequenting our waterways. These animals have been bred in captivity and in many cases, will have been cross bred resulting in varying markings. Often, this can cause issues identifying the animals. In addition, melanism (darkening skin pigmentation) as the animal increases in age (in particular, male Trachemys scripta spp.) cause markings to fade and disappear, in some cases. Red-eared sliders, for example, can lose the 'red ear' altogether as they age. Leaving the head shape and plastral markings to aid in species identification.