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COMPOSITION OF THE DIET OF THE ALABAMA REDBELLY TURTLE (PSUEDEMYS ALABAMENSIS).

COMPOSITION OF THE DIET OF THE ALABAMA REDBELLY TURTLE (PSUEDEMYS ALABAMENSIS). William M. Turner and David H. Nelson, Biology Dept., Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688.

The diet of the Alabama Redbelly turtle was examined using a modified stomach wash. The technique was attempted on 203 turtles, but was successful for only 80 specimens. Data were collected from 7 males and 63 females captured in Baldwin county, AL. Gravid females were observed as early as May 29, which was the start of trapping, but no later than Aug 30. Trapping was conducted for a total of 9 months over two years. Traps were set out in late May for both the 1999 and 2000 trapping seasons. The 1999 trapping season was conducted until Oct. 15th. During the 2000 season, trapping ceased at the end of Sept. Turtles were collected from three areas: Gravine Island (57 females, 6 males), Causeway (9 females, 1 male) section of Hwy 98, and Weeks Bay (7 females). The diets consisted primarily of submerged aquatic vegetation, although the remains of blue crabs and fiddler crabs were infrequently encountered. Dietary composition varied with respect to area but not sex. Hydrilla verticillata was the most prevalent spec ies, which contributed the greatest biomass to the diets of Alabama Redbelly turtles captured at the Gravine Island site, but Najas guadalupensis, and Vallisneria americana dominated the diets of the turtles capturcd at the Causeway and Weeks Bay sites. Hydrilla verticillata is a non-native plant first reported in Baldwin County in 1991, which has since spread throughout the Mobile-Tensaw delta. Najas guadalupensis and Vallisneria americana are native plants common throughout the lower Mobile-Tensaw delta. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources funded this project.
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Author:Turner, William M.; Nelson, David H.
Publication:Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science
Geographic Code:1U6AL
Date:Apr 1, 2001
Words:285
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