A good portion of this summer was very hot with many more early season days of thunder storms than usual, making the daily heat index "oppressive" at times, and reducing the amount of time dedicated to tracking and observing study turtles.
M9 (F) DEAD Having mated at least once this season M9 crossed the road to the meadow where she nested as in past seasons. On her way traveling back to her primary activity area she was run over by an NPS sociopath employee, Steven Allen Bryant, driving a gov't vehicle, as she crossed the park road, on a clear, dry, sunny morning on a straight stretch of road with almost no public traffic.
M9 was tracked several times a day prior to her crossing attempt, but crossed 1 or 2 days earlier than her past behavior suggested. She would have been helped across the road if she would have waited 1 more day. M9 was tracked 1.0 miles this season before being killed.
M9's death is a major loss, both to this study and to the stability of the local population to which she belonged.
Green Dot = Emergence, Red Dot = Hibernation, Blue Dot = NEW FIND, White Dot = Dead
M39 (F) DEAD This turtle was found new 5/5/16 early in the season, in the middle of the private road near the spring that M19 and M4 have been found using in the past. I suspect she may have been out of hibernation only a short time. She was radio tagged and tracked for 40 days, and was found dead in a resting form in the woods with no appearent tramatic injury. 0.2 miles tracked this season.
M40 (F) Found new 6/12/16 at woods edge close to the cabin, M40 spent a short time nearby before travling over the top of the ridge and quickly down-slope to the bottom of the drainage and up the other side. She traveled too far to be tracked very often during the heat wave days, and was lost July 10th, but she had a message vial attached in case she traveled out of the study area. Update: M40 was re-found 9/18/17 and is again being tracked. 0.8 miles tracked in 2016
M41 (F) Found new 7/30/16 close to M1(F) who traveled to this location from her normal south slope activity area. Is this a coincidence? Females in the population are rarely found together. After being found, M41 stayed in the same general area on the north slope for the remainder of the season. She is likely a permanent resident of this population, but it will require at least another seaon's tracking to determine that. 0.3 miles tracked this season.
M41 was found mating with M15 this season in an area where M15 has been found frequently in the past.
Turtle M39 (F) 430 gr was found 5/5/16 and tracked only a short distance over 40 days, before being found dead in a form in the woods.
Sudden death is the unfortunate result of several turtle diseases, not allowing time for whatever treatments may be available. Evolving diseases affecting Box turtles are being researched. Inoculations may someday be available to help reduce the chances of local population extinctions.
Turtle M40 (F) 435 gr was found on 6/12/16 near the cabin by the residents and saved for me to process and tag. This was close to where turtles M15(m), M19(m), M22(f), and others have travelled in past seasons.
Turtle M43 (F) 455 gr, was found on 8/28/16 with M3(M) who travelled a very long distance from his previous location to mate with M43. This adult female has yellow eyes and a flattened carapace (like most males) and has a carapace and plaston that are almost entirely undamaged.
A look at the numerous, closely spaced annuli on her scutes would suggest that she has been around a long time.
It's not yet known if she is a resident of this population: that will require another season or two of tracking to determine.
Turtle M44 (F) 480 gr was found on 9/9/16 mating with turtle M3 who again quickly traveled a long distance to meet and mate in the woods.
M44 is an older adult with a carapace that has little damage, and like turtles M4 and M1, (and others) has a smooth carapace with only a few major scutes still with annuli. The carapace is somewhat flattened, and not domed like most females.
In the concave of M3's plastron, is seen a small label stating this is a study turtle, and giving contact information. The labels stay on for several years without damage, before they fall off. Most of these turtles do not drag their plastons when walking, but will occassionally close their shells and slide off of downed trees and large rocks.
Turtle M45 (M) 425 gr was found on 9/11/16 meeting with M19(M) who traveled from the top of the ridge where he was located only the day before. M45 is almost certainly a transient moving through this local population.
M45 is another older adult with a mostly smooth carapace with indistinct annuli. He has a very deep concave plastron, which has been put to use as a place to superglue a tiny label with study and contact information. The labels here do not get easily worn and stay as new for several years.
M45 has dull red eyes, normal for females but most males have eyes that are brighter red .
Turtle M46 (M) 430 gr was found 10/2/16 meeting with turtle M10(m) in the ROW meeting area.
M46 is an old adult, with a greater flare on the carapace marginal scutes, including the anterior margins, than any other turtle seen. The keratin has grown so much that the scute edges overlap.
M46 had a radio attached, but was quickly lost.
Turtle M47 (F) 390 gr was found 10/2/16 mating with turtle M29 at the meadow edge in the weeds. With red eyes and a somewhat flat carapace, she could easily be mistaken for a male at a glance.
M47 may be a transient, but it will require another season or two of tracking to determine if that is so.
M46 (M) Found new 10/2/16 meeting with M10(M) . He is likely a transient, traveling through this local population. He quickly dissappeared from radio range after being tagged and released.
This turtle is wearing a message vial. If he is found in the future, he can be reported and tracked from his last known location. He needs to be re-found and tracked to determine for certain that he is a transient.
NEW turtles found in 2016
Eastern Box Turtle
Terrapene carolina carolina
A Relict Population Doomed To Extinction?