Gulf Coast Box Turtle (Terrapene c. major)
The Gulf Coast box turtle (Terrapene carolina major) is thought to partially owe its large size to shared ancestry with a giant form of the box turtle (T. putnami) that inhabited the Gulf coastal plain during the late Pleistocene. Large box turtles can be found along the northern shores of the Gulf of Mexico, but the most morphologically distinctive major occur in a relatively constrained area. We are partnering with biologists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Turtle Conservancy, and other organizations to learn more about the distribution, abundance, behavior, and ecology of this little-known subspecies. We are currently establishing long-term plots on offshore barrier islands as well as the Florida mainland and are working to evaluate the effects of landscape change and habitat management (such as prescribed burns) on demographics, abundance, and habitat use.