Archive for August, 2008

Neither Angst Nor Doubt

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Tiny 1-inch, quarter ounce diamondback terrapin hatchlings emerge from the sands of the Outer Cape and scramble against seemingly insurmountable odds and a host of hungry, impatient predators to find cover in the surrounding marsh. Restrained by neither angst nor doubt, they exhibit the epitome of an indomitable spirit to achieve success in the face of impossible obstacles.

No Obstacle Stops Determined Terrapin Hatchlings

Two-Headed Diamondback Terrapin Hatchling

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

In late August, a two-headed terrapin hatchling emerged from a nest in Eastham on the Outer Cape. Except for two heads, of course, the shell appears normal with an enlarged, split nuchal on the carapace and an extra, middle gular scute on the plastron. The left head seems to control the left two limbs and the right head appears to control the right two limbs.

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Two-Headed Terrapin Hatchling from Eastham, MA

The Hatchling Also Rises

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

A diamondback terrapin hatchling emerges from its Turtle Point nest and begins its scramble into the safety of the Lieutenant Island nursery marsh.

Lone Hatchling Slowly Emerges & Heads to Safety

Flying Insect Ovipositing on Terrapin Nesting Dune

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Voracious and aggressive predators of just pipped diamondback terrapin hatchlings are insect maggots. A large percentage of terrapin nests are invaded by these maggots that destroy hatchlings before they can ever emerge. We have identified at least one species of these maggots. On Monday, 25 August, I observed this flying insect inspecting the tracks of recently emerged hatchlings and then ovipositing immediately atop these tracks on the terrapin nesting dune at Turtle Pass.

Wasp-Like Insect Ovipositing on Turtle Pass Dune

Hatchling Emerges

Monday, August 25th, 2008

A nest broils in emergence on the high dune of Turtle Point and a dashing, if not-too-daring hatchling takes the lead in scrambling to safety. Remember: Turtling takes patience. Lots and lots and lots of patience.

Terrapin Hatchling Emerges … Slowly … at Turtle Speed