During his talk to the FMEL-PIAS volunteer class, Florida Atlantic University Professor of Biology Jon Moore spoke about efforts to find out more about Florida East coast diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin tequesta) populations. Visit the Brevard Zoo website for more information.
Named for the diamond-shaped rings on the top of their shells, diamondback terrapin turtles are native to brackish coastal swamps in the southeastern United States. Of the 5 subspecies found in Florida, 3 are endemic to Florida, including the Florida East coast diamondback terrapin — found only south of the St. Johns River.
Diamondback terrapins populations were decimated by commercial exploitation for turtle soup. Though the status of the population of this subspecies is unknown, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has set a daily possession limit of 2 turtles.
If you see a diamondback terrapin, please report your citing via the Brevard Zoo local projects page.
The photo above was taken at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, an wonderful place to visit on Sanibel Island. The subspecies of the diamondback terrapin, unfortunately, was not named.