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Trachemys gaigeae 

Scope: Global
Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_onStatus_en_offStatus_cr_offStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Testudines Emydidae

Scientific Name: Trachemys gaigeae
Species Authority: (Hartweg, 1939)
Common Name(s):
English Big Bend Slider, Mexican Plateau Slider
Synonym(s):
Pseudemys scripta ssp. gaigeae Hartweg, 1939
Pseudemys scripta ssp. hartwegi Legler, 1990
Taxonomic Notes: Traditionally considered a subspecies of Trachemys scripta, recognised as full species by several authors, including Seidel (2002). Seidel (2002) placed two taxa as subspecies of T. gaigeae: T. gaigeae gaigeae (Hartweg, 1939), and T. gaigeae hartwegi (Legler, 1990).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2ce+4ce ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2010-08-01
Assessor(s): van Dijk, P.P.
Reviewer(s): Horne, B.D., Mittermeier, R.A., Philippen, H.-D., Quinn, H.R., Rhodin, A.G.J., Shaffer, H.B. & Vogt, R.C
Justification:

Both subspecies of Trachemys gaigeae are restricted to relatively limited sections of main river valleys subject to major hydrological management and engineering works, with pollution and hybridisation as additional potential threats; available population data indicate a common to uncommon species declining in abundance, and hartwegi specifically going extinct across substantial areas of occurrence. Subspecies hartwegi qualifies for Endangered A2bc A4bc B2a+b(i,ii,iii,iv,v).

Trachemys gaigeae is currently listed as Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Trachemys gaigeae gaigeae: Upper Rio Grande and Rio Conchos basin of New Mexico-Texas, USA, and Chihuahua-Coahuila, Mexico.
Trachemys gaigeae hartwegi: Rio Nazas basin of Durango and adjacent Coahuila, Mexico (Iverson 1992, Seidel 2002).

Both gaigeae and hartwegi were hypothesized by Legler (1990) to have evolved in the endorrheic basins of northern Mexico and adjacent USA, before the Conchos and upper Rio Grande were captured by the Pecos-Grande system. The distribution of T. gaigeae gaigeae is parapatric to Pseudemys gorzugi and Trachemys scripta elegans.
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango); United States (New Mexico, Texas)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Very little information is available; based on distribution records it appears that T.g. gaigeae is fragmented into a number of isolated subpopulations along the upper Grande and Conchos; where monitored, most of these subpopulations appear reasonably stable. Price (1997, in Clausen and Hammerson 2005) considered ssp. gaigeae ‘common within range but not abundant’, and Miller (idem) monitored the species during 20 years of float trips on the Rio Grande, recording three to four turtles per km. Surveys in New Mexico in the 1990s indicated some shrinking populations (NM DGF, in Clausen and Hammerson 2005). Subspecies gaigeae is rated Vulnerable in New Mexico and Imperiled in Texas (Clausen and Hammerson 2005).

Concerning the ssp. hartwegi, Legler (1990) wrote of ‘tail waters below the dam’ and that the population in the vicinity of San Pedro de las Colonias may be nearing extinction, and elsewhere (ibid, p. 96) that ‘Aridity and increased use of water for irrigation may have placed hartwegi populations in danger everywhere except in the immediate region of the Presa El Palmito’. The subspecies became extinct in the Laguna Viesca since 1960 (Legler 1990).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Trachemys gaigeae gaigea inhabits mainly pools and backwaters in the main Rio Grande and Conchos valleys, rarely moving inland away from the main river. It has also been recorded from reservoirs (Ernst et al. 1994). Subspecies hartwegi apparently inhabits the main channel of the Rio Nazas. Wild animals of ssp. gaigeae are apparently nearly exclusively herbivorous (Legler 1960), although captives readily fed on fish (Ernst et al. 1994).

Males of  ssp. gaigeae become sexually mature at carapace length (CL) of about 11 cm and reach a maximum CL of 17 cm, while females reach sexual maturity at about 17 cm CL and can reach a maximum size of 22 cm. Females produce clutches of 6-11 eggs (Legler 1960). A dissected large female of ssp. hartwegi would likely have produced three clutches totaling 48 eggs (Legler 1990).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Pollution, hydrological projects, and other forms of habitat degradation, mortality from shooting target practice ('plinking'), past collection for pet trade and subsistence consumption, and occasional hybridisation with T. scripta elegans, are recorded threats (Clausen and Hammerson 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Turtles in general are protected from exploitation under Mexican wildlife and natural resource legislation. Trachemys gaigeae gaigeae inhabits a number of protected areas, including being fairly common in the Bosque del Apache NWR (Clausen and Hammerson 2005) and occurring in the Canon de Santa Elena FFPA - Big Bend NP - Maderas del Carmen FFPA - Rio Grande National Scenic River cluster of protected areas. It appears that there are no protected areas located within the range of T. g. hartwegi.

Much more information on population status, natural history and conservation status are urgently needed, particularly for the subspecies hartwegi. Based on study results, the species may warrant specific legal protection in the USA.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability:Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability:Unknown  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability:Unknown  
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.1. Artificial/Aquatic - Water Storage Areas (over 8ha)
suitability:Unknown  
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
2. Land/water management -> 2.2. Invasive/problematic species control
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications
5. Law & policy -> 5.2. Policies and regulations
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.3. Sub-national level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:No
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.1. Roads & railroads
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.1. Recreational activities
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.2. War, civil unrest & military exercises
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.7. Abstraction of ground water (agricultural use)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.10. Large dams
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.11. Dams (size unknown)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive & other problematic species & genes -> 8.2. Problematic native species
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.1. Hybridisation

9. Pollution -> 9.1. Domestic & urban waste water -> 9.1.1. Sewage
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.1. Domestic & urban waste water -> 9.1.2. Run-off
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.2. Soil erosion, sedimentation
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.1. Habitat shifting & alteration
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.2. Droughts
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

Bibliography [top]

Ernst, C.H. and Lovich, J.E. 2009. Turtles of the United States and Canada. Second edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Ernst, C.H., Lovich, J.E. and Barbour, R.W. 1994. Turtles of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian, Washington, DC. 578 pp.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 16 June 2011).

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

Iverson, J.B. 1992. A Revised Checklist with Distribution Maps of the Turtles of the World. Privately published, Richmond, Indiana.

Legler, J.M. 1960. A new subspecies of Slider Turtle (Pseudemys scripta) from Coahuila, Mexico. University of Kansas Publications of the Museum of Natural History 13(3): 73-84.

Legler, J.M. 1990. The genus Pseudemys in Mesoamerica: taxonomy, distribution, and origins. In: Gibbons, J.W. Life History and Ecology of the Slider Turtle, pp. 82-105. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.

NatureServe (Clausen, M.K. and Hammerson, G.). 2005. Trachemys gaigeae - (Hartweg, 1938) Mexican Plateau Slider. Arlington, VA Available at: http://www.natureserve.org/explorer.

Seidel, M. 2002. Taxonomic observations on extant species and subspecies of slider turtles, Genus Trachemys. Journal of Herpetology 36(2): 285-292.


Citation: van Dijk, P.P. 2016. Trachemys gaigeae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22024A97429519. . Downloaded on 29 August 2016.
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