Biology ETDs

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Many small ponds in the eastern plains of New Mexico are inhabited by yellow mud turtles. Some of these ponds are permanent, but many dry out during the year. This makes the terrestrial activity of mud turtles an important aspect of their life history. When turtles were active within the ponds, they showed no preference for permanent over temporary water. There were always more females than males present in the ponds. As water levels receded, aquatic activity lessened and the turtles buried themselves just under the mud near the edge of the pond for a few days and then moved out onto land and became dormant. It was also found that turtles will move in and out of permanent ponds. Migration in and out of the ponds was independent of sex. The routes travelled by migrating turtles were not random. Terrestrial movements ended with turtles burrowing under vegetation. Migration back to the ponds was greatest after rainfall, although it did occur at other times. Only two turtles returned to ponds other than the ones they had left, indicating that most K. flavescens return to their home pond.



Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

William George Degenhardt

Second Committee Member

Roger Conant

Third Committee Member

Dorothy Pathak

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Biology Commons