Biology and Conservation of North American Tortoises

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David C. Rostal, Earl D. McCoy, Henry R. Mushinsky
JHU Press, 2014 - Nature - 190 pages
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Tortoises, those unmistakable turtles, evolved from a lineage that split off from the familiar pond turtles roughly 100 million years ago. Over time, these plant-eating land turtles spread around the world, growing to an enormous size (depending on the species) and living so long that they have become the stuff of legends. By most accounts, they are indeed the longest-lived of the turtles, with good records suggesting individuals may live as long as 180 years (anecdotal records suggest that some reach ages of 200 years or more).

Providing the first comprehensive treatment of North America’s tortoises, Biology and Conservation of North American Tortoises brings together leading experts to give an overview of tortoise morphology, taxonomy, systematics, paleontology, physiology, ecology, behavior, reproduction, diet, growth, health, and conservation. The contributors carefully combine their own expertise and observations with results from studies conducted by hundreds of other researchers. The result is a book that belongs in the library of every herpetologist.

ContributorsGustavo Aguirre L.Linda J. AllisonMatthew J. ArescoRoy C. Averill-MurrayJoan E. BerishKristin H. BerryDennis M. BrambleK. Kristina DrakeTaylor EdwardsTodd C. EsqueRichard FranzCraig GuyerJ. Scott HarrisonSharon M. HermannJ. Howard HutchisonElliott R. JacobsonValerie M. JohnsonRichard T. KazmaierEarl D. McCoyPhilip A. MedicaRobert W. MurphyHenry R. Mushinsky Kenneth E. NussearMichael P. O’ConnorThomas A. Radzio David C. RostalLora L. SmithJames R. SpotilaCraig B. StanfordC. Richard TracyTracey D. TubervilleMichael TumaThane Wibbels


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An Evolutionary Perspective
2 The Fossil Record for North American Tortoises
3 Systematics of Extant North American Tortoises
4 Thermoregulation and Energetics of North American Tortoises
5 Reproductive Physiology of North American Tortoises
6 Embryonic Development Hatching Success and TemperatureDependent Sex Determination in North American Tortoises
7 Growth Patterns of North American Tortoises
8 Health Issues of North American Tortoises
12 Social Behaviors of North American Tortoises
13 Nesting and Reproductive Output among North American Tortoises
14 Abundance of North American Tortoises
15 Population and Conservation Genetics of North American Tortoises
16 Demography of North American Tortoises
17 History of Human Interaction with North American Tortoises
18 Threats and Conservation Needs for North American Tortoises

9 Habitat Characteristics of North American Tortoises
10 Water and Food Acquisition and Their Consequences for Life History and Metabolism of North American Tortoises
11 Home Range and Movements of North American Tortoises

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About the author (2014)

David C. Rostal is a professor in the Department of Biology at Georgia Southern University. Earl D. McCoy is the associate chairman of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida. Henry R. Mushinsky is a Kosove Graduate Professor and graduate director for the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida.

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