Macrochelys suwanniensis - Thomas, Granatosky, Bourque, Krysko, Moler, Gamble, Suarez, Leone, Enge and Roman, 2014
Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtle
Synonym(s): Macrochelys temminckii (Troost, in Harlan, 1835) ;Macroclemys temminckii (Harlan, 1835)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Macrochelys temminckii (Troost in Harlan, 1835) (TSN 668671)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.23.32240
Element Code: ARAAB02030
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Turtles
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Chelonia Cryptodeira Chelydridae Macrochelys
Genus Size: A - Monotypic genus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Thomas, T.M., M.C. Granatosky, J.R. Bourque, K.L. Krysko, P.E. Moler, T. Gamble, E. Suarez, E. Leone, K.M. Enge, and J. Roman. 2014. Taxonomic assessment of Alligator Snapping Turtles (Chelydridae: Macrochelys), with the description of two new species from the southeastern United States. Zootaxa 3786(2):141-165.
Concept Reference Code: A14THO01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Macrochelys suwanniensis
Taxonomic Comments: Previously this species was included within M. temminckii, which was split by Thomas et al. (2014) into three species based on genetic, morphological, and geographic evidence. Folt and Guyer (2015) argue the evidence presented by Thomas et al. (2014) is not sufficient to justify naming M. apalachicolae as distinct from M. temminckii. They do however support the validity of M. suwanniensis.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 30Jul2014
Global Status Last Changed: 30Jul2014
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Species is restricted to a single river system, although it has several moderately large tributaries that are occupied.  In terms of number of adults, the population is not especially large.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1N2 (16Nov2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Florida (SNR), Georgia (SNR)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Following Thomas et al. (2014), the species' distribution is restricted to waters within the Suwannee River system, which lies mostly in Florida but includes small upstream portions in Georgia, USA.

Area of Occupancy: 101-2,000 1-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: Unless disrupted by a major separation barrier, all turtles within a river system likely represent the same occurrence.  The subterranean sinking of the Santa Fe River could be used to consider the population above the sink as a separate occurrence.

Population Size: 250 - 2500 individuals
Population Size Comments: Considering adults.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few (1-3)

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: State regulations severely restrict take of the species, which formerly had been the major threat.  Current principal threats now stem from degradation of habitat.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-50%
Short-term Trend Comments: There are no baseline population data by which to determine this.  However, if short-term is defined as three generations, this could cover nearly a century, during which a decline is likely to have occurred as a result of some presumed harvest within the river system.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 10-50%
Long-term Trend Comments: There are no baseline population data by which to determine this.  However, some level of decline is likely to have occurred as a result of past harvest within the river system.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Highly vulnerable to trapping, which is currently illegal in Florida (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 2009 rule).

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Flowing waters; inhabits large rivers to surprisingly small streams.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Monitor and quantify populations.

Protection Needs: Maintain current prohibition on take as established by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 2009 rule.  Maintain ecological integrity of entire Suwannee River system.  Remove illegal hooks, lines, and traps.

Distribution
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Global Range: Following Thomas et al. (2014), the species' distribution is restricted to waters within the Suwannee River system, which lies mostly in Florida but includes small upstream portions in Georgia, USA.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States FL, GA

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 01Aug2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Jackson, D. R.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Sixth edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular 37:1-84. Online with updates at: http://www.ssarherps.org/pages/comm_names/Index.php

  • Crother, B. I., J. Boundy, J. A. Campbell, K. de Queiroz, D. R. Frost, R. Highton, J. B. Iverson, P. A. Meylan, T. W. Reeder, M. E. Seidel, J. W. Sites, Jr., T. W. Taggart, S. G. Tilley, and D. B. Wake. 2000 [2001]. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Herpetological Circular No. 29. 82 pp.

  • Ewert, M. A., D. R. Jackson, and P. E. Moler. 2006. Macrochelys temminckii - alligator snapping turtle. In P. A. Meylan (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Florida Turtles. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 3:58-71.

  • Folt, B., and C. Guyer. 2015. Evaluating recent taxonomic changes for alligator snapping turtles (Testudines: Chelydridae). Zootaxa 3947(3):447?450.

  • Krysko, K. L., K. M. Enge, and P. E. Moler. 2011. Atlas of amphibians and reptiles in Florida. Final report to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, Florida. Submitted 15 December 2011.

  • Meylan, P. A. (ed.). 2006. Biology and conservation of Florida turtles. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 3. 376 pp.

  • Thomas, T.M., M.C. Granatosky, J.R. Bourque, K.L. Krysko, P.E. Moler, T. Gamble, E. Suarez, E. Leone, K.M. Enge, and J. Roman. 2014. Taxonomic assessment of Alligator Snapping Turtles (Chelydridae: Macrochelys), with the description of two new species from the southeastern United States. Zootaxa 3786(2):141-165.

  • Turtle Taxonomy Working Group [van Dijk, P.P., Iverson, J.B., Shaffer, H.B., Bour, R., and Rhodin, A.G.J.]. 2012. Turtles of the world, 2012 update: annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution, and conservation status. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5:000.243-000.328. Online. Available: www.iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt/.

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