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Mid-Texas Coast Complex Texas Diamondback Terrapin Ecology Project


In the spring and summer of 2010, weekly field surveys were conducted on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) refuge property to determine habitat use, long-term movement, and basic population demographics for the Texas diamondback terrapin.

Study Area

Mid-Texas Coast USFWS Complex

Project Period



From March to September 2010, 51 sites in Brazoria, San Bernard, and Big Boggy Refuges were surveyed for terrapin and suitable habitat. Over 149 hours of land search time and 20 hours of aquatic trapping were completed. However, only two terrapin were captured as a result of the 2010 surveys.

As a result of this study, terrapin sightings and suitable habitat have been identified and documented. Baseline data collected during this study on suitable habitat and search areas will aid in future terrapin research efforts. By defining priority terrapin habitat, future terrapin monitoring efforts can be concentrated in areas with the highest probability of capturing terrapin. Future mark-recapture efforts on the Texas diamondback terrapin on refuge property will allow researchers to track the status of these populations. Furthermore this research provides critical environmental and habitat data that can be used to define habitat needs and availability for this species. Continued terrapin conservation actions on the refuge could include protection from shoreline erosion as well as continued conservation and restoration of marsh habitat. Awareness and education about the Texas diamondback terrapin for refuge visitors and crab-trappers are essential for terrapin habitat and population protection and conservation.

Publications and Publications

Guillen, G., Clarkson, E., and Oakley, J.W. 2011. Mid-Texas Coast complex Texas diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin littoralis) ecology project. EIH Technical Report 12-004:33.

Moss, M. and Guillen, G. 2014. Mid-upper coast surveys of Texas diamondback terrapin. 1st Meeting of the Texas Diamondback Terrapin Working Group, Port Aransas, TX.

Project Sponsors