Painted turtles feature distinctive black shells with dark red or orange markings.
All painted turtles have an olive to black carapace (upper shell) with red or dark orange markings on the marginal scutes (enlarged scales on the shell), as well as red and yellow stripes on the head and neck. The carapace is broad, smooth and flat, and generally reaches a length of 12-14cm, but one individual has been measured at 19.5cm. The midland painted turtle has a yellow or dark tan plastron (lower shell) with a darker, irregular “butterfly” marking along the midline.
Three to fourteen elliptical creamy white eggs are laid by painted turtles.