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Texas Turtles & Crocodilians: A Field Guide

Field / Identification GuideIdentification Key

Series: Texas Natural History Guides

By: Troy D Hibbitts(Author), Terry L Hibbitts(Author), David Haynes(Foreword By)

257 pages, 117 colour photos, 36 b/w distribution maps

University of Texas Press

Paperback | Feb 2016 | #224596 | ISBN-13: 9781477307779
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £17.99 $23/€20 approx

About this book

Texas has a large and diverse turtle population, with forms that are found nowhere else (Cagle's Map Turtle and the Texas Map Turtle) and wide-ranging species that barely touch the state, including the Painted Turtles and the Rough-footed Mud Turtle. From the Sabine River to El Paso, and from the Rio Grande to the Panhandle, thirty-one native and established exotic turtle species are definitely known in Texas, along with one crocodilian, the American Alligator.

Texas Turtles & Crocodilians is the first complete identification guide to all the state's turtles and to its single alligator. It offers detailed species accounts, range maps, and excellent color photographs to aid in field identification. The authors, two of the state's most knowledgeable herpetologists, open Texas Turtles & Crocodilians with a broad overview of turtle natural history, conservation biology, observation, and captive maintenance before providing a key to Texas turtles and accounts of the various turtle families and species. Appendices provide brief accounts of species that occurred prehistorically in Texas and non-established exotic species, as well as a table of Texas' major watersheds and the turtle diversity in each one. Informational resources on Texas turtles and alligators, a map of Texas counties, a glossary, a bibliography, and indexes of common and scientific names complete Texas Turtles & Crocodilians.

"This book fills a void for Texas, which currently lacks a definitive guide to the state's turtle fauna. The high quality of the photographic images should make this book especially appealing to both laypersons and professional biologists."
– Robert Hansen, Editor, Herpetological Review


Foreword by David Haynes

    What Is a Turtle?
        Evolutionary History
        Two Main Turtle Groups
        Relationship between Turtles and Other “Reptiles”
    What is a Crocodilian?
        Evolutionary History
        Three Main Crocodilian Groups
        Relationship between Crocodilians and Other “Reptiles”
        Relationship between Crocodilians and Birds
    Natural History
        Activity and Seasonality
    Major Watersheds in Texas and Turtle Diversity
        Mississippi Watershed
            Canadian River
            Red River
        Sabine and Neches Watersheds
            Sabine River
            Neches River
        Trinity Watershed
        Brazos Watershed
        Colorado Watershed
        Guadalupe Watershed
        Nueces River
        Rio Grande Watershed
            Rio Grande
            Pecos River
            Devils River
        Habitat Loss and Fragmentation
        Climate Change
        Introduced Species
        Effects of Predator Control on Turtles and Turtle Nests
        Effects of the International Trade in Turtle Meat Products
        Collection for the Pet Trade as Cause of Decline
        Impacts of Fisheries Practices upon Turtle Species
        Historic Declines and Recovery of the American Alligator
        Impacts of Sport Hunting on American Alligator Population in Texas
    Observation and Collection of Turtles and Crocodilians
        Observation of Turtles and Crocodilians
        Turtle and Crocodilian Photography
        Collection of Turtles
        Legal Aspects of Collecting Turtles and Crocodilians
        Permits and Collecting Turtles and Crocodilians in Texas
        Threatened, Endangered, and Protected Nongame Species
    Maintenance of Turtles and Crocodilians
        Maintenance of Turtles and Crocodilians in Captivity
        Creation of Turtle and Crocodilian Habitat
        Handling of Turtles and Crocodilians
    Museum and Preserved Specimens
    Scientific and Common Names

Dichotomous Key to Texas Turtles
    Dichotomous Keys
    Key to Texas Turtles

Systematic Accounts
    Class: Chelonia
    Order Cryptodeira
        Family: Chelydridae
            Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
            Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii)
        Family: Emydidae
            Cagle’s Map Turtle (Graptemys caglei)
            Ouachita Map Turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis)
            Sabine Map Turtle (Graptemys sabinensis)
            False Map Turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica)
            Texas Map Turtle (Graptemys versa)
            Diamond-backed Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)
            River Cooter (Pseudemys concinna)
            Rio Grande Cooter (Pseudemys gorzugi)
            Texas River Cooter (Pseudemys texana)
            Florida Red-bellied Cooter (Pseudemys nelsoni) – introduced
            Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
            Mexican Plateau Slider (Trachemys gaigeae)
            Pond Slider (Trachemys scripta)
            Chicken Turtle (Deirochelys reticularia)
            Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina)
            Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata)
        Family: Testudinidae
            Texas Tortoise (Gopherus berlandieri)
        Family: Trionychidae
            Smooth Softshell (Apalone mutica)
            Spiny Softshell (Apalone spinifera)
        Family: Kinosternidae
            Yellow Mud Turtle (Kinosternon flavescens)
            Rough-footed Mud Turtle (Kinosternon hirtipes)
            Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum)
            Razor-backed Musk Turtle (Sternotherus carinatus)
            Stinkpot (Sternotherus odoratus)
        Family: Cheloniidae
            Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)
            Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
            Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
            Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
        Family: Dermatochelyidae
            Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
    Class: Crocodilia
        Family: Alligatoridae
            American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

Appendix A: Species with Prehistoric Occurrence in Texas
Appendix B: Nonestablished Exotic Species
Appendix C: Table of Texas Turtles and Crocodilians and River Drainages They Inhabit
Appendix D: Turtle and Crocodilian Informational Resources
Appendix E: Map of Texas Counties
Index of Common Names
Index of Scientific Names

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Troy D. Hibbitts, a high school science teacher, is a past president and current member of the Texas Herpetological Society. He coauthored Texas Amphibians: A Field Guide and Texas Lizards: A Field Guide.

Terry L. Hibbitts, a trained biologist, is an Honorary Life Member and past president of the Texas Herpetological Society, as well as its current editor. He also coauthored Texas Amphibians: A Field Guide.

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