New Species: Monster-Sized Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtles - FaunaClassifieds
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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 09-09-2020, 07:53 PM   #1
New Species: Monster-Sized Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtles

Gainesville, FL (CBSMiami) — Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently caught a 100-pound Suwannee alligator snapping turtle, a new species that lives in the Suwanee River, was among three of the massive reptiles they recently captured.

According to a FWC Facebook post, a 100-pound male, a 64-pound male and a 46-pound female were found in traps set in the New River, a 31-mile-long tributary of the Santa Fe River, north of Gainesville.

“The New River is a blackwater stream with low biological productivity, so finding a large turtle in such a small stream is unusual,” said the Facebook post.

FWC added it is collaborating with researchers in Florida and Georgia on the new species, “to document the distribution and relative abundance of this state threatened species.”

FWC believes the turtles are between 40-80 years old.
Old 09-09-2020, 08:21 PM   #2
So, I know the guys who found these turtles, they find the reporting pretty amusing. Alligator snapping turtles were split into various species separated by genetics and river drainage back in the early 2000s. The holotype M. suwanniensis was officially described in 2003, so not exactly new. Also, alligator snapping turtles were extensively fished in the early 1900s for food, especially after sea turtle populations crashed and an alternative turtle meat had to be found. This reduced the age, and therefore size, of the snappers in areas where they were fished. This also caused populations to crash, which is why alligator snappers are protected throughout the Southeast.

What's special about this location is that they weren't expecting to find such large and old individuals in this reach of stream, suggesting it wasn't hard hit back in the turtle fishing days and might represent the healthiest population of these turtles in the state. Pretty neat.
Old 09-10-2020, 08:20 PM   #3
I thought I had heard of M. suwanniensis before. Article caught my eye because I used to hunt snakes around New River in that area in the 70's. That area is where I was just inches from being tagged by a very large eastern diamondback rattle snake. That area back then had huge glass lizard population. Probably all gas stations now ��

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