• A varied selection of recent articles, stories and sites on the Web that is compiled by Michael J. Connor, Ph.D.
  • The links are listed as published in the relevant issue of the Tortuga Gazette.
  • Please note that all links were functioning when posted. My apologies if any are no longer available. Disabled links are present for informational purposes.
  • Click Turtle Net Picks to suggest a Net Picks addition.

Tortuga Gazette 59(1) | January/February 2023

Road Density Impacts on Desert Tortoises
The USFWS is at last suggesting setting limits for road density in desert tortoise conservation areas.

Drought Hits Female Desert Tortoises Harder
New study documents higher female compared to male mortality in desert tortoises in southeast California during the 2012-2016 drought.

Captive Bred Asian Giant Tortoise Release At India’s Intanki National Park
Nagaland Forest Department, Turtle Survival Alliance and the Wildlife Conservation Society India soft released 10 captive-bred juvenile Asian Giant Tortoises, Manouria emys phayrei.

The Lost World of Indian Ocean Giant Tortoises
Major new study of DNA from museum specimens highlights Indian Ocean tortoise diversity before European sailors wiped them out and identifies a new extinct species from Madagascar.
The paper is open access.

Galápagos Tortoise Diets Over a 134-year Period
Stable isotope analysis of museum specimens was used to probe how Galápagos tortoise diets varied over time, using 57 tortoises collected between 1833 and 1967.

Habitat Enrichment For Tortoises
Preliminary study of the effects of habitat enrichment on the behavior of 3 tortoise species kept at the Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park in South Australia.

Studying Box Turtles in the Long Haul
Article and audio on an ongoing 100-year study of North Carolina box turtles from NPR.

New Population of Critically Endangered Black Softshell Turtles
The black softshell turtle, Nilssonia nigricans, was declared extinct in the wild in 2002. Fortunately, reports of its demise were exaggerated. Now a new population has been found in Nepal.

Scientists Record World's Largest Turtle Hatching
Video clip of the annual mass hatching of Podocnemis expansa along the Guaporé/Iténez Rivers.

New Fossil “Horned” Painted Turtle
Chrysemys corniculata, or the horned painted turtle was unearthed at the Gray Fossil Site in eastern Tennessee. The horns are projections at the front of the carapace.

New Fossil Giant Sea Turtle From Spain
Leviathanochelys aenigmatica, a new fossil turtle found in Northeastern Spain that lived from 83.6 to 72.1 million years ago appears nearly as large as Archelon at 3.74 meters in length.

New Smooth Skinned Fossil Sea Turtle From Denmark
DK 807, an interesting undescribed Eochelone from the earliest Eocene Formation of Denmark had limbs largely covered with soft skin devoid of scales.

New Study Reports 50 Turtle Species Vocalize
I guess we were pathfinding when we set up our Turtle Calls page on CTTCs website in 1997.
And the actual study is here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-33741-8

Trafficking Impacts America's Turtles
Update on the 2020 Collaborative to Combat the Illegal Trade in Turtles.

Distinguishing Wild and Captive Seized Turtles By Forensic Analysis
Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes from wood turtle claw tips can be used to classify wild turtles as wild and captive turtles as captive.

Sea Turtle Postage Stamps
The latest update to seaturtlepostagestamps.com lists all the stamps issued new in 2022.


Tortuga Gazette 59(2) |
March/April 2023

Desert Tortoise Conservation in Utah
Ann McLuckie reviewed Southern Utah’s long history of tortoise study from Woodbury and Hardy to the present day.

Students Study Desert Tortoises and Climate Change
Cal State Fullerton students studying desert tortoises at the Deep Canyon Desert Research Center to monitor climate change impacts to their behavior and habitat.

Tick-borne Relapsing Fever in Desert Tortoise Habitat
Thesis probes ticks, tortoises and tick-borne relapsing fever in desert tortoise habitat.

Tortoises Rescued from Tortoise Rescue
A large number of tortoises needed rescuing from a defunct “rescue” in Joshua Tree.

French Tycoon Fined for Harming Hermann’s Tortoises
Corsican real estate developer fined €150,000 for killing protected Hermann’s tortoises, France’s only native tortoise species.

How Long to Headstart?
Study measures 1 year survival of wood turtles headstarted for 1 or 2 years before being released.

Florida Requires Modified Crab Traps To Protect Diamondback Terrapins
New Florida rule aims to reduce diamondback terrapin drownings in crab traps.

Zoo Hatches Madagascar Bigheads
The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust hatched 6 critically endangered Madagascan big-headed turtles, Erymnochelys madagascariensis, from adults originally seized in Hong Kong.

New Southern River Terrapin “Assurance Colony” in Cambodia
A third colony of critically endangered Southern river terrapin, Batagur affinis, has been established.

Feral Sliders in Germany
Abandoned red-eared sliders are breeding and possibly posing a threat to pond turtles in Germany.

State Animals of California
California’s official state animals include desert tortoises and leatherback sea turtles.

Body Fat in Sea Turtles
Biologists use bioelectrical impedance analysis to assess body fat in green sea turtles.

UK and Ireland See Record Sea Turtle Strandings
A record fifteen sea turtles were founded stranded on UK and Ireland beaches this winter.

New Fossil Pleurodire From Egypt
First African Upper Cretaceous side-necked turtle, Khargachelys caironensis, excavated at Kharga Oasis.

New Fossil Turtle From New Mexico
A new Upper Cretaceous baenid turtle, Edowa zuniensis, from New Mexico described after being found in storage at the Arizona Museum of Natural History.

Tortoises As Dating Tools
Forget radiocarbon, TurtleChron aims to use carapace scute growth ring pattern chronology as a dating tool using shells from herpetological and museum collections.


Tortuga Gazette 59(3) | May/June 2023

Industrial Solar Energy Development Takes it Toll on Desert Tortoises
“Must we drive species to extinction when so many good alternatives are out there?”

Red Cliffs Raven Program
The Washington County Habitat Conservation Plan’s conservation committee is going after ravens.

Gopher Tortoise Listing Suit
Conservation groups intend to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision not to list the imperiled gopher tortoise as endangered or threatened in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and eastern Alabama.

Española Tortoise Release
The Galápagos National Park and Conservancy are releasing the last cohort of captive-bred Chelonoidis hoodensis on their home island.

Aldabra Tortoises Return to Jersey Zoo
Aldabra tortoises Biggie, Twiggy, Mike and Helen have emerged from quarantine after arriving from Bristol Zoo in November.

Box Turtle Trafficker Pleads Guilty
A Louisa, Virginia man pleaded guilty in federal court to trafficking eastern box turtles he illegally collected from the wild and sold on Facebook to buyers in California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.

Return of the Southwestern Snake Necks
Interesting photographs of young southwestern snake neck turtles being returned to their pond at a state soccer center in Perth.

Moon Bathing (!) by Tropical Turtles
Cameras in 25 locations across Australia, Belize, Germany, India, Seychelles, Senegal, Trinidad and Tobago, the USA, and South Africa recorded 13 tropical turtle species basking in moonlight.

2023 SWOT Report
The 18th State of the World's Sea Turtles (SWOT) Report is available for free download.

Mass Nesting of Olive Ridley at Odisha, India
The mass-nesting of Olive Ridley turtles occurred at Odisha’s Gahirmatha marine sanctuary between March 9 and 13 during which around 5,12,175 eggs were laid.

Field-based Adipose Tissue Quantification in Sea Turtles
Exciting, new high-tech “fat” measuring method to monitor how nutritional and health status link to environmental stress and disease in sea turtles.

Nearby Environment Influences Recreational Bycatch of Sea Turtles at Fishing Piers
Bycatch at fishing piers in the eastern Gulf of Mexico is a source of injury and potential mortality of sea turtles that can be minimized with more careful planning.

The Secret Life of Baby Sea Turtles
A new surveillance system to predict hatchling emergence, detect infertile nests, and remotely monitor sea turtle nest events.