We conducted a mark-recapture study of Alligator Snapping Turtles, Macrochelys temminckii, on Salado Creek (Independence Co., Arkansas) during 10 trapping seasons, which spanned a 20-year period (1995–2015). We trapped a total of 163 Alligator Snapping Turtles during 416 trap nights and recorded a total of 35 recaptures during this study. Both the catch per unit effort (CPUE) and Jolly-Seber approaches demonstrated that this population benefitted from removal of harvest pressure, thus leading to an increase in abundance of Alligator Snapping Turtles in the lower ~5 km of the creek. The CPUE averaged slightly greater than 0.24 (317 trap nights) during the first 4 years (1995–1998). The CPUE also showed an increase to 0.64 by 2001 (only 14 trap nights), and then dramatically increased during the final 5 years to 0.92 (85 trap nights). The population size estimates during the early period of the study (1995–2001) ranged from 20 turtles in 1995 to as many as 88 turtles in 1998, whereas the population size estimates from 2011-2015 ranged from 105 turtles in 2011 to as many as 282 turtles in 2015. Within our sample, recaptured males grew faster on average than females or juveniles in both straight carapace length and mass. These data, however, should be used with caution as age was not known. Most of the recaptured Alligator Snapping Turtles exhibited some degree of site fidelity.
Trauth, S. E.; Siegel, D. S.; McCallum, M. L.; Jamieson, D. H.; Holt, A.; Trauth, J. B.; Hicks, H.; Stanley, J. W.; Elston, J.; Kelly, J. J.; and Konvalina, J. D.
"Long-term Monitoring and Recovery of a Population of Alligator Snapping Turtles, Macrochelys temminckii (Testudines: Chelydridae), from a Northeastern Arkansas Stream,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 70
, Article 39.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol70/iss1/39