Home ranges and movements of two diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin macrospilota) in northwest Florida

Estuaries and Coasts
By: , and 

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Abstract

The diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) is a small estuarine turtle distributed along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the USA that is threatened by drowning in crab pots, road mortality, exploitation in the pet trade, and habitat loss. Little is known about the movement patterns and home ranges of these turtles, particularly along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast. Satellite tags were deployed on two adult female terrapins captured at two distinct sites in Northwest Florida. A first-difference correlated random walk approach was used to determine distances traveled and estimate home range for each individual. The two terrapins were tracked for 146 and 147 days, and the total distance traveled for each terrapin was 70.1 km and 723.0 km, respectively. The maximum distance moved from capture location was 11.3 km and 49.6 km. Home ranges here were much larger than those previously reported in other studies. The movements we documented were greater than expected and indicate habitat protection for this species may need to be expanded to incorporate more distant foraging sites.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Home ranges and movements of two diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin macrospilota) in northwest Florida
Series title Estuaries and Coasts
DOI 10.1007/s12237-020-00892-0
Edition Online First
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Country United States
State Florida
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