Friday, October 26, 2018

Florida Chicken Turtle?

  Chicken Turtle?  Yes, and not one, but three species of Chicken Turtles!
Above is a Florida Chicken Turtle
(Deirochelys reticularia chrysea)
The other two species are:
Eastern Chicken Turtle 
(Deirochelys reticularia reticularia
Western Chicken Turtle
(Deirochelys reticularia miarai)

On a "butterfly walk" at the Babcock/Webb WMA in Punta Gorda, Florida.  This Florida Chicken Turtle was quickly identified by Dr Bill, Phd turtle expert.  Above Rachel, Jane and Bill move in for a good photo.

The Florida Chicken Turtle is a medium sized, fresh water, basking turtle.  It's name?  Some say due to it's long neck, other say it was a popular dish for early settlers and did indeed taste like chicken.
Sadly they are sold in the exotic pet trade and specimens have been found as far away as Hawaii!

Wonderful image from the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Chicken Turtles are mid-sized turtles with shells that are egg-shaped. These reptiles can get 6-9 inches long. Scute pattern on the carapace is 12/12 marginals, 4/4 vertebral and 5 vertebrae. The plastron is hingeless and is 88-91 % of the carapace length. It is yellow and may have a faded dark blotch on the posterior half. The skin is black with distinctive thin yellow stripes on the back legs and neck. The front of each foreleg has a broad yellow stripe. Furthermore, the neck when extended may be as long as the carapace.

Here is the zoologist who name the Chicken Turtle, the binomial name that is!  LaTreille was a prolific naturalist and named many more species and is celebrated as "The Father of Entomology."

Found the following passage in the above tome...
"...le long cou a le gout du poulet."

And which wine should I choose to go with a bowl of 
turtle stew?

Why one with an appropriate label, of course!
Yes, we also saw lots of butterflies.
bon appetite!

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