Use of tomahawk traps in freshwater Testudines capture

Gabriel Oliveira Garcia-Passos, Milena Santos Soeiro, Rejâne Maria Lira-da-Silva


Tomahawk traps are commonly used to sample lizards, and principally small mammals. Prior to this study however, there were no reports of their use in the capture of freshwater Testudines. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the efficiency of tomahawk traps in the capture of freshwater turtles, highlighting an adaptation of the trap to make it float. It was baited with meat and fruit, and seven traps were installed in three ponds on a small island in the Atlantic Forest, six arranged on the bank and a seventh (floating) in the center of the water body. The species that served as models in this study were Acanthochelys radiolata (Mikan, 1820) and Rhinoclemmys punctularia (Daudin, 1801).  Rhinoclemmys punctularia (semi-aquatic species) was more efficiently captured by tomahawks when compared to A. radiolata (aquatic species). The small size (101.89 – 175 mm of length and 70 – 153 mm width carapace) of these animals was a determining factor for the success of catches by Tomahawks. Therefore, they are another auxiliary method to sample freshwater Testudines, indicated for application together with traditional methods such as active search and capture nets.

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