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27 September 2023 Thirteen Years of Turtle Capture–Mark–Recapture in a Small Urban Pond Complex in Louisiana, USA
Brad M. Glorioso, J. Hardin Waddle, Doug P. Armstrong
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Turtles are one of the most imperiled vertebrate groups in the world. With habitat destruction unabated in many places, urban and suburban greenspaces may serve as refugia for turtles, at least those species able to tolerate heavily altered landscapes. In south-central Louisiana, we have conducted a turtle capture–mark–recapture effort in two ponds in an urban greenspace for 13 yr to understand species composition, survival, and individual growth rates. We had 574 total captures of 251 individuals of five species from 2009–2021, with Trachemys scripta elegans (Red-Eared Sliders) and Sternotherus odoratus (Eastern Musk Turtles) being the most common. Apparent annual survival for T. scripta (0.79) was similar to estimates reported in other studies in altered habitats, whereas apparent annual survival for S. odoratus (0.89) was slightly or much higher than other published studies. Growth rates of T. scripta were comparable to other studies and showed both sexes have similar rates of growth until maturity, which is earlier and at a smaller size in males. The two ponds showed marked differences in captures by size, with significantly more juvenile T. scripta captured in the pond with more vegetation, depth, and a softer bottom. Most T. scripta (78.5%) that were recaptured came from the same pond from which they were originally captured. The basic demographic data gained in this study can serve as a starting point for broader questions on urbanization effects and as a comparison to more natural populations.

Brad M. Glorioso, J. Hardin Waddle, and Doug P. Armstrong "Thirteen Years of Turtle Capture–Mark–Recapture in a Small Urban Pond Complex in Louisiana, USA," Journal of Herpetology 57(3), 290-296, (27 September 2023).
Accepted: 6 July 2023; Published: 27 September 2023
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