Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter, 2000, 2:26-27
© 2000 by Chelonian Research Foundation

Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter

Information and Assistance Needed

Request for Assistance with Spotted Turtle, Clemmys guttata, Study. Richard H. Legere, 3 San Fernando Blvd., Savannah, Georgia 31419; Phone (912)927-4823; E-mail:

Since 1982, I, with the assistance of David Holland*, conducted a spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) study in northeastern Maryland. The original objective was to examine the home range size of adult spotted turtles living in a dense population within a single wetland. It was soon discovered that the turtles were migrating overland to nearby wetland areas. The objectives and scope of the study continued to evolve in response to early findings, ultimately generating a wealth of data on sex ratio and trapping bias, overland migration, population estimates, seasonal activity differences, and hibernaculum site fidelity. We also collected more limited data on growth rates, interspecific competition, and temperatures of active spotted turtles and their habitats. The most promising preliminary findings indicate that a marked bias in the sex ratio can be induced by sampling methods, and that they migrate extensively between isolated wetlands separated by upland habitats.

Intensive data collection ended in 1992 with an apparent loss of much of the spotted turtle population, and the discovery that unknown individuals were setting turtle traps in some of study areas. However, infrequent collecting of limited data continues within the study area. To date, our research has involved thousands of hours in the field, and some 10,000 visits to approximately 40 different wetlands. We have marked over 400 adult and subadults and have 4,500 to 5,000 recaptures.

For all practical purposes, the data remain unanalyzed and in a variety of formats, ranging from the original hand written field notes to partial summarization in tables and graphs. Due to time constraints and lack of assistance, essentially none of the data is in electronic format. The current condition and volume of the data make its analysis and ultimate publication a formidable task. I am requesting assistance with data entry, data analysis, methods, and hypothesis testing with the ultimate goal being publication of one or more peer-reviewed articles.

The most immediate need is to develop a general strategy for handling the large amounts of data involved. I am looking for advice on how to best organize the data and for suggestions on the most appropriate software to use (keeping in mind future compatibility issues with popular statistical and graphics software). I would also appreciate being informed of potential problems and difficulties that other researchers have encountered with electronic data entry. Unless advised otherwise, I would prefer to use a single large Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

With a general strategy outlined, the next step would be to get the data into an electronic format where it can be manipulated and examined. Unfortunately, the data is not in a condition where it can simply be forwarded to someone for computer data entry and analysis. I will need to work closely with anyone willing to provide assistance, therefore it would be helpful if such assistance could be obtained within the southeastern region (i.e., Georgia and adjacent states) where I currently reside.

The study area remains essentially intact with the exception of several area that were cleared for a power line right of way. Thus, there is an opportunity for further on-site work, such as a description of habitat preferences, and mapping of the wetlands. Graduate students in search of a thesis project could combine some of my existing data with new investigations of long term growth, the effect of collecting on population structure, etc. Off-site work could include using resources such as infrared aerial photography, U.S. Department of the Interior National Wetland Inventory Maps, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Surveys to further characterize the study area.

Please be advised that I currently have no source of funding for this effort, nor am I aware of any funding that could readily be obtained. Any assistance, advice or suggestions provided would be on a volunteer basis, with the reward being the satisfaction that important data needed to support conservation of spotted turtles would be made available in the peer-reviewed literature. There is also a possibility of co-authorship on any research papers that may be generated as a result of this effort.

If you are interested in assisting with this data, please contact Richard Legere.

* Not to be confused with the well-known Clemmys marmorata researcher of the same name.

Information needed on Transport Mortality for CITES Listed Species. Our company, the Hydrosphaere GbR, is conducting a study on transport mortality during the shipment of CITES-listed species. The sponsors for this study are the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and the German CITES Management Authority represented by Dr. Irina Sprotte. We are trying to obtain import and transport mortality data from the CITES Management Authorities of the different import countries but not all countries are able to provide such information. To use every possible source of data, we are publishing a call for information.

The kind of data needed is scientific name and number of transported species, number of species “dead on arrival” and “dead in quarantine”, origin and destination of the shipment, transport company (airlines), and kind of transport boxes (IATA-code).

Any kind of data or document will be helpful. If there are any questions about our study or the kind of data needed please contact me, Dr. Cornelia Schuetz, Hydrosphaere GbR, Hinterstr.12a, D-35633 Lahnau; Tel/Fax 0049-6441-63753; E-mail:

Alien Turtles. Suwanee cooters in Central Park, red-eared sliders in Thailand, the common snapping turtle in the United Kingdom, we've all heard about them. I'm creating a database of such sightings and need your help. Please supply me with as much detail as possible: Species? Number? Specific location? Behavior? Breeding? What could it be eating? How long do you think it has been there? How do you think it got there? Photos of the turtles would be appreciated, as well as any other sort of documentation, such as a poster I have of the "Turtles of Thailand," which include the red-eared slider. If you didn't see the turtle but heard about it, tell me and who told you. Articles from journals to newspapers about such sightings are also welcome. Send information and materials to Allen Salzberg, 67-87 Booth St-5B, Forest Hills, NY 11375.

Turtles for Sale. We grew up with them, we bought them, we have seen them in stores, and at shows; turtles of every kind and species. I would like to put together a master species and price list of every species of turtles that has have ever been for sale in the United States and abroad. If you have any documentation, like a price list, please send me a copy. If you remember how much a star tortoise sold for in 1970 please write me. If you want to send me recent price lists, or go to a herp show and record the prices the turtles were being sold for, please feel free. Include as much detail as possible: size, sex, where they were sold, if they were sold as a pair, age, wholesale or retail, condition, and, of course, when. Send to Allen Salzberg, 67-87 Booth St-5B, Forest Hills, NY 11375.

Canadian goose predation on herps. Please send any information you may have, particularly on predation to Blanding's turtles and massasauga rattlesnakes, to James Burnham, P.O. Box 616, Madison, WI 53701; Phone: (608) 266-5244; E-mail: moocow@ITIS.COM

Information needed on Turtle Care Websites. Presently, there are several websites that offer information on the care and maintenance of turtles and tortoises. New websites appear every day. Some are excellent while others provide harmful or incomplete advice. I would like information from devoted hobbyists on which of these sites they think are the best, which are the worst, and why.

As co-editor of this newsletter and the Box Turtle Newsletter, I get a lot of requests for information on turtle care. Not being an avid hobbyist, I have looked through the information available and can see why it can be over-whelming to new turtle owners. I will list the top ranked care sheets in the next issue. For those webpages that get negative feedback, I will send them the summarized comments (keeping you anonymous) and I will not list them in the newsletter. Please send your comments to me at with the subject line “care sheets” or mail them to me at my snail mail address given inside the front cover. Thank you, Heather Kalb.