Journal article

Inoculative freezing promotes winter survival in hatchling diamondback terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin

PJ Baker, JP Costanzo, R Herlands, RC Wood, RE Lee

Canadian Journal of Zoology | Published : 2006


We investigated the hibernation ecology and cold hardiness of hatchling diamondback terrapins, Malaclemys terrapin (Schoepf, 1793), an estuarine species that reaches 42°N along the Atlantic Ocean. During 3 years of study, about 50% of the nests we monitored harboured hatchlings during winter, and the majority (87%) of these individuals survived despite being intermittently exposed to subfreezing temperatures. Most such exposures were brief (ca. 12 h) and mild (minimum temperature: ca. –1.2 °C); however, turtles were occasionally subjected to longer chilling episodes and lower temperatures. In laboratory experiments, hatchlings supercooled extensively, attaining ca. –15 °C before spontaneousl..

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