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Título: Dermatemys mawii Gray 1847 ? Central American River Turtle, Tortuga Blanca, Hickatee
Autor(es): Richard Carl Vogt
John Polisar
Don Moll
Gracia Patricia González Porter
ISSN: 1088-7105
Revista: Chelonian Research Monographs
Volume: 5
Resumo: The Central American River Turtle, Dermatemys mawii, the single remaining extant species of the formerly wide-spread primitive family Dermatemydidae, is restricted to the Atlantic drainages of southern Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. This large, highly aquatic, and totally herbivorous freshwater turtle is severely threatened throughout its range. There are older accounts citing specimens over 20 kg and carapace length of 60 cm, but recent field studies have found few individuals in excess of 14 kg in Mexico or above 11 kg in Guatemala. The turtle’s large size and highly palatable meat yield a high profit when the animals are sold at market. This has motivated hunters to overharvest many populations into extirpation. Although Dermatemys is consumed year-round, exploitation peaks during dry weather when low water levels facilitate capture. All forms of capture tend to select for larger size classes, thus not only reducing densities, but altering population structures, resulting in lower proportions of reproductively mature animals. The maturing cohort of smaller juveniles that remains is usually soon removed as well, resulting in unproductive populations in decline. Since Dermatemys is an herbivorous species and grows relatively fast, there is the possibility of raising this species in captivity or semicaptivity in polyculture systems with freshwater shrimp or ornamental fish. Even fast turtle growth rates would probably translate to a relatively slow cash return, suggesting that Dermatemys perhaps be a complementary species in a polyculture system. Where the capital and interest are sufficient, detailed and well-documented experiments testing the overall feasibility of these schemes are advised. However, captive propagation efforts should not distract critical funds and attention from the maintenance of wild stocks in their native habitats. Law enforcement is not the aswer to maintaining wild stocks, and habitat destruction by itself is not the problem—unless local people change their ways and stop eating or selling every Dermatemys they can, there is little chance of rehabilitating wild populations.
ISSN: 1088-7105
Aparece nas coleções:Coordenação de Biodiversidade (CBIO)

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