Origin of TERRAPIN
alteration of earlier torope,
from Virginia Algonquian *to·rəpe·w
First Known Use: 1613
terrapin noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
Any omnivorous aquatic turtle of the family Emydidae, especially the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin). The diamondback inhabits salt marshes and coasts from New England to the Gulf of Mexico. It has raised diamond-shaped patterns on its brownish or black upper shell. The female attains a shell length of about 9 in. (23 cm); the male grows to about 6 in. (14 cm). The eight species of the turtle genus Pseudemys (or Chrysemys) are sometimes referred to as terrapins. They inhabit freshwaters from the northeastern U.S. to Argentina. The female's shell is 6–16 in. (15–40 cm) long. Infant red-eared turtles (P. scripta elegans) are sold in pet shops.
Red-eared turtle (Pseudemys scripta elegans).—Leonard Lee Rue III
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