Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

525092020
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The Box Turtle Community Directory

Box turtle (Terrapene carolina) Epsilon quaternarily documented in my backyard on Sunday, 06 September 2020.

1915 Chuli Nene, Tallahassee, Florida: Sunday, 06 September 2020

part of the Home Wildlife album


With images of box turtles (Terrapene carolina) appearing on the signage and newsletter for the neighborhood, there was no surprise when I first spotted them in my yard. However, it was not until I started documenting them in April 2020 that I realized just how many individuals were making my home their home, at least part of the time.

Given the novice status of my herpetology and that many of the subjects exhibit characteristics of one or more subspecies — Florida box turtle (Terrapene carolina bauri), Gulf Coast box turtle (Terrapene carolina major), Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) — I decided to process the photographs, prepare dossiers and publish before making a determination.

As of Tuesday, 08 September 2020, I have documented thirteen individual box turtles. This article will be updated with additional turtles and observations.

  1. Alpha
  2. Beta
  3. Gamma
  4. Delta
  5. Epsilon
  6. Zeta
  7. Eta
  8. Theta
  9. Iota
  10. Kappa
  11. Lambda
  12. Mu
  13. Nu
001  Turtle Alpha
First documented Thursday, 02 April 2020
  • Skin yellow speckled; dark circle top of head
  • Shell damage both sides
  • Pattern mostly yellow with dark lines
  • Larger; curious
  • View Photographs
  1. 2020-04-02
  2. 2020-04-09
  3. 2020-04-23
  4. 2020-09-06

002  Turtle Beta
First documented Wednesday, 08 April 2020
  • Skin mostly darker
  • Shell edge damage all-around
  • Pattern yellow handprint-style with large dark spaces
  • Once caught on chain-link fence
  • View Photographs
  1. 2020-04-08
  2. 2020-04-16
  3. 2020-04-17

003  Turtle Gamma
First documented Wednesday, 08 April 2020
  • Skin dark with a few lighter spots
  • Shell no damage noted
  • Pattern dark with small yellow areas and yellow spine lines
  • Small
  • View Photographs
  1. 2020-04-08

004  Turtle Delta
First documented Thursday, 09 April 2020
  • Skin mostly dark with yellow spots behind eyes, on nose, under chin
  • Shell no damage noted; pronounced spine lines
  • Pattern mostly light yellow with dark handprints
  • Fast walker; once mounted by Turtle Epsilon
  • View Photographs
  1. 2020-04-09
  2. 2020-04-16
  3. 2020-04-28
  4. 2020-04-29
  5. 2020-05-20
  6. 2020-07-07
  7. 2020-07-28
  8. 2020-08-31

005  Turtle Epsilon
First documented Sunday, 31 May 2020
  • Skin yellow speckled throughout with some white on chin
  • Shell damaged area center rear
  • Pattern yellow speckles on dark
  • Once ate discarded bread; once mounted Turtle Delta
  • View Photographs
  1. 2020-05-31
  2. 2020-06-04
  3. 2020-07-28
  4. 2020-09-06

006  Turtle Zeta
First documented Sunday, 07 June 2020
  • Skin dark with some yellow speckles
  • Shell no damage noted
  • Pattern yellow handprint-style; thick yellow spine lines
  • View Photographs
  1. 2020-06-07

007  Turtle Eta
First documented Friday, 12 June 2020
  • Skin dark with some yellow; white around mouth; textured neck
  • Shell no damage noted
  • Pattern moderate yellow; thick yellow spine lines
  • Pointy overbite
  • View Photographs
  1. 2020-06-12

008  Turtle Theta
First documented Friday, 12 June 2020
  • Skin mostly dark with lighter areas on head
  • Shell no damage noted; very pronounced spine lines
  • Pattern mostly dark with yellow areas; yellow spine lines
  • Small; shy
  • View Photographs
  1. 2020-06-12
  2. 2020-07-10
  3. 2020-07-28
  4. 2020-08-27
  5. 2020-09-03

009  Turtle Iota
First documented Tuesday, 28 July 2020
  • Skin dark with yellow spotting on head; white spot on top of head
  • Shell indentation near rear; pronounced spine lines
  • Pattern mostly dark with yellow areas; yellow spine lines
  • View Photographs
  1. 2020-07-28

010  Turtle Kappa
First documented Tuesday, 28 July 2020
  • Skin dark with light neck and mouth area; large spots behind eyes
  • Shell no damage noted; pronounced spine lines
  • Pattern mostly dark with yellow areas; yellow spine lines
  • View Photographs
  1. 2020-07-28

011  Turtle Lambda
First documented Friday, 28 August 2020
  • Skin dark with slightly lighter face
  • Shell indentations middle and rear; edges worn left front and rear
  • Pattern light yellow speckles on dark; rear faded; yellow spine lines
  • Curious; once buried rear in dirt
  • View Photographs
  1. 2020-08-28

012  Turtle Mu
First documented Monday, 31 August 2020
  • Skin dark with spots on head and legs; lighter chin
  • Shell no damage noted; leading edges ribbed
  • Pattern yellow handprint-style with dark spaces
  • View Photographs
  1. 2020-08-31

013  Turtle Nu
First documented Monday, 31 August 2020
  • Skin dark with some lighter spots
  • Shell no damage noted; pronounced spine lines
  • Pattern mostly dark with yellow areas; yellow spine lines
  • Shy
  • View Photographs
  1. 2020-08-31
  2. 2020-09-08

Florida Box Turtle Drawing by the Florida Park Service

The Thoughts Arrive Like Butterflies

A eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) extracting nectar from the purple flowers of my weeping butterfly bush (Buddleja lindleyana).

1915 Chuli Nene, Tallahassee, Florida: Tuesday, 14 July 2020

part of the Home Wildlife album


One of the benefits of working from home is the opportunity to notice and photograph more of the various creatures that visit during the day. Walking around the yard taking pictures is an ideal way to stretch, move around and mentally disconnect for a few minutes, something that I have found myself needing to remember to do without the urge to leave a windowless office.

Over the years I have found butterflies, who rarely sit still, generally difficult to photograph well. I have therefore enjoyed the chance to see and document many more specimen than I would typically encounter on a hike or camping trip. I have identified members from several species, all of which were attracted to the many flowering plants that live here.

Three such butterflies visiting on different days in early July 2020 were all of the genus Papilio in the family Papilionidae, or swallowtail butterfly. The first individual is a giant swallowtail butterfly (Papilio cresphontes) extracting nectar from the blue flowers of cape leadwort (Plumbago auriculata).

Next up is a spicebush swallowtail butterfly (Papilio troilus) also extracting nectar from a cape leadwort's blue flowers.

And finally, the same individual from the top of the article, an eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) extracting nectar from the purple flowers of a weeping butterfly bush (Buddleja lindleyana). You can see what looks like orange nectar dust on the body and leading edge of the left wing.