Abstract

The Florida softshell turtle, Apalone ferox (Schneider 1783) is considered common and easily visible in many freshwater habitats throughout its range. However, very little population research has been completed on the species due to difficulties associated with capture and long-term marking. We have conducted a mark–recapture study of this species since 2007 as part of a long-term freshwater turtle population monitoring program at Wekiwa Springs State Park, Apopka, Florida. From 2007 to 2012 we captured 56 individual Florida softshell turtles with 101 total captures. The male∶female ratio was 1∶2.6 and females were larger than males. Population estimates were 92 adults and 49 juveniles with a total estimate of 141 Florida softshell turtles in the 2.67-ha study site. Our data from a protected population centrally located within the species range provide a baseline for comparison to other populations.

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