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Diamondback Terrapin Monitoring at Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve Quick Topics

Diamondback terrapin turtle monitoring will be implemented as a new program within Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve (MLAP) concurrent with the ongoing terrapin turtle research being conducted in both the Indian River and Banana River aquatic preserves. The diamondback terrapin is the only turtle in the world known to be entirely restricted to estuarine habitats. The terrapin turtle is an indicator species that uses the water column, seagrass beds, islands and the intertidal zone of the estuary.

Little is known about diamondback terrapin populations in MLAP. A few individuals have been reported by animal rehabilitation facilities, and by both commercial and recreational fishermen. Abundance and distribution studies are needed within MLAP to determine population dynamics for this rare species. Areas preferentially used by terrapins for feeding and nesting need to be identified in order to preserve these zones for this species into the future.

Terrapin hatchling

Diamondback terrapin hatchling

Monitoring will be accomplished via opportunistic sightings, recovery of specimens from rehabilitators and commercial fishermen and planned biannual captures. Both cast-netting and modified crab pots will be utilized for planned in-water captures. The objectives of the monitoring effort are to obtain distribution, survivability and genetic data for this indicator species. Terrapin monitoring will be performed by staff with assistance from commercial fishermen and volunteers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated: September 24, 2010

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