Spiny Softshell - Apalone spinifera

Spiny Softshell

*The colored areas of the map above represent parishes with currently known records for the given species
 (Source: Jeff Boundy, LA Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries). By no means does it represent the full range of the species in the state, nor does it necessarily mean that a species can be found throughout the parish with the record. This is provided as a guide to where you might be able to find these species in the state and to aid in identification. A descriptive explanation of the range of each species can be found in the text below.

Other Common Names: 

Subspecies: The Pallid Spiny Softshell, Apalone spinifera pallida, occurs within southwest Louisiana and also in northern Louisiana where it intergrades with the Eastern Spiny Softshell, Apalone spinifera spinifera. The Gulf Coast Spiny Softshell, Apalone spinifera aspera, occurs in southeastern Louisiana. Intergrades of all three subspecies can be found in the lower Mississippi River drainage of the state.


Similar Species: 

Species Range: 

Louisiana Range:  Statewide.


Natural History: 

Best Time and Place to Observe:

Global Conservation Status:  Spiny Softshells are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. Their NatureServe Global Conservation Status Rank is G5 (Secure).

Federal Conservation Status:  None

Louisiana Conservation Status:  Spiny Softshells do not have any special status in Louisiana.

Author's Remarks: I have observed this species in many permanent water bodies in the state, including the drainage canals of St. Bernard Parish, urban ponds in Lafayette Parish, in Kisatchie Bayou of Natchitoches Parish, and in a creek in Beauregard Parish.

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