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The aquatic turtle assemblage inhabiting a highly altered landscape in southeast Missouri

Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management

By:
, ,
DOI: 10.3996/072010-JFWM-020

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Abstract

Turtles are linked to energetic food webs as both consumers of plants and animals and prey for many species. Turtle biomass in freshwater systems can be an order of magnitude greater than that of endotherms. Therefore, declines in freshwater turtle populations can change energy transfer in freshwater systems. Here we report on a mark–recapture study at a lake and adjacent borrow pit in a relict tract of bottomland hardwood forest in the Mississippi River floodplain in southeast Missouri, which was designed to gather baseline data, including sex ratio, size structure, and population size, density, and biomass, for the freshwater turtle population. Using a variety of capture methods, we captured seven species of freshwater turtles (snapping turtle Chelydra serpentina; red-eared slider Trachemys scripta; southern painted turtle Chrysemys dorsalis; river cooter Pseudemys concinna; false map turtle Graptemys pseudogeographica; eastern musk turtle Sternotherus odoratus; spiny softshell Apalone spinifera) comprising four families (Chelydridae, Emydidae, Kinosternidae, Trinoychidae). With the exception of red-eared sliders, nearly all individuals captured were adults. Most turtles were captured by baited hoop-nets, and this was the only capture method that caught all seven species. The unbaited fyke net was very successful in the borrow pit, but only captured four of the seven species. Basking traps and deep-water crawfish nets had minimal success. Red-eared sliders had the greatest population estimate (2,675), density (205/ha), and biomass (178 kg/ha). Two species exhibited a sex-ratio bias: snapping turtles C. serpentina in favor of males, and spiny softshells A. spinifera in favor of females.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
The aquatic turtle assemblage inhabiting a highly altered landscape in southeast Missouri
Series title:
Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
DOI:
10.3996/072010-JFWM-020
Volume
1
Issue:
2
Year Published:
2010
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Publisher location:
Lawrence, KS
Contributing office(s):
National Wetlands Research Center
Description:
8 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
161
Last page:
168
Country:
United States
State:
Missouri
Other Geospatial:
Mississippi River Floodplain