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Gopherus Polyphemus

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Mexi Joe

on 20 October 2013

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Transcript of Gopherus Polyphemus

Gopherus Polyphemus
Gopher Tortoise
Gopher Tortoise's make their homes in the southeastern United States, especially Florida.
In the undegrowth of mesic flatwoods in Florida, beneath the canopy of tall pines, the Gopher Tortoise walks as he searches for food and mates.
In their habitat, the Gopher Tortoise digs burrows where he sleeps, hides and defecates.
Foraging
This is a short video of a Gopher Tortoise out foraging. He takes a few nibbles of a plant and continues on his way.
Gopher Tortoises primarily feed on grasses.
Legumes make up a significant part of the diet as well.
They are also known to eat fruits that hang from low-lying vegetation.
Reproduction
Here, we see a mating display of the gopher tortoise. Notice how the male begins nibbling on the limbs and chin of the female. The video runs a little long, but provides a good demonstration of typical courtship for this species.
Chin Glands
Gopher Tortoise chin glands are thought to play a role in breeding due to heightened reaction to stimuli when glands are active.
Additionally, females with inactive chin glands had great difficulty differing between sexes.
The end result of Gopher Tortoise courtship is mating.
Reproduction is achieved through the standard method of sexual reproduction with the male mounting the female and inserting his penis to achieve fertilization.
Nesting
Female gopher tortoises lay their eggs in the sand, often very close to their burrows.
The environment that surrounds the eggs can influence the development of the tortoise.
Most notably, the temperature affects the sex of the tortoise.
Female gopher tortoises lay one clutch per year. The size of the clutch is known to vary with location.
Gopher tortoises have a very high mortality rate when they are young, mainly because they are extremely vulnerable to predators.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Gopher
Tortoise is his burrowing habit.
As we can see from the pictures above, the burrows made by the Gopher Tortoises end up providing homes for many other animals in the area including snakes and rabbits.
(Gopher Tortoise Services, Inc., 2013)
(U.S. Forest Service, 2013)
(Landers, Garner & McRae, 1980)
(Landers, Garner & McRae, 1980)
(Mader, 2011)
(Demuth, 2009)
(Gopher Tortoise Services, Inc. 2013)
References
Ashleyae11 (December 9, 2012) Gopher Tortoise Porn. Video. Retrieved October 18, 2013 from: Youtube
Browning, Randy (n.d.) Fact Sheet on Gopher Tortoise, a dry land turtle Retrieved October 17, 2013 from: http://www.fws.gov/northflorida/GopherTortoise/Gopher_Tortoise_Fact_Sheet.html
Demuth, J. P. (2001). The effects of constant and fluctuating incubation temperatures on sex determination, growth, and performance in the tortoise Gopherus polyphemus. Canadian Journal Of Zoology, 79(9), 1609.
Edover60 (June 9, 2013) Gopher Tortoise foraging 2. Photo. Retrieved October 19, 2013 from: Youtube
Gopher Tortoise Burrow (April 23, 2012) Photo. Retrieved October 18, 2013 from: http://naturetime.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/florida-gopher-tortoise/gopher-tortoise-burrows/
Gopher Hatchling (n.d.) Bald Point State Park. Photo. Retrieved October 18, 2013 from: http://www.floridastateparks.org/baldpoint/photogallery.cfm?pagenum=4&viewphoto=248
Gopher Hatchling (n.d.) Wildlife Extra News Retrieved October 17, 2013 from: http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/gopher-tortoise.html
Gopher Tortoise Services, Inc. (2013, September 6) Gopher Tortoise Facts Retrieved from: http://www.gophertortoise.org/tortoise/facts.htm
Jennings, Steve. (n.d.) Longleaf Pine Forest Revival – National Wildlife Federation. Photo. Retrieved October 18, 2013 from: https://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Gardening/Archives/2012/Longleaf-Pine-Revival.aspx
Jones, Joseph W. (n.d.) Longleaf Pine Forest Revival – National Wildlife Federation. Photo. Retrieved October 18, 2013 from: https://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Gardening/Archives/2012/Longleaf-Pine-Revival.aspx


Karr, Tammy (2013) I Heart Florida Birds. Photo. Retrieved October 19, 2013 from: http://iheartfloridabirds.blogspot.com/2013/01/ponce-inlet-smyrna-dunes-park-1213.html
Landers, J. Larry, James A. Garner, & W. Alan McRae (1980) Reproduction of Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus Polyphemus) in Southwestern Georgia. Herpetologica vol. 36, No. 4 p. 353-361
Mader, Sylvia S. (2011). Concepts of Biology, 2nd ed. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies
Norton, John (2004) Gopher Tortoise Burrow Ecology. Photo. Retrieved October 18, 2013 from: http://www.science-art.com/image/?id=4150#.UmPinPmsim5
Ntbirdman (February 22, 2009) Gopher Tortoise Love. Video. Retrieved October 18, 2013 from: Youtube
Smith, Audrey (October 1, 2008) Gopher Tortoise foragin. Photo. Retrieved October 18, 2013 from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/audreysmithnaturequest/2993703001/
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (n.d.) Fact Sheet on Gopher Tortoise, a dry land turtle Retrieved October 17, 2013 from: http://www.fws.gov/northflorida/GopherTortoise/Gopher_Tortoise_Fact_Sheet.html
U.S. Forest Service (2013, October 3) Gopherus Polyphemus Retrieved from: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/animals/reptile/gopo/all.html
Vinson, Darlene (n.d.) Gopher Tortoise Emerging From Nest Retrieved October 19, 2013 from: http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/wildlife/gophertortoisenest.htm
Warren, Charles (n.d.) A gopher tortoise in Naples, Florida. Photo. Retrieved October 19, 2013 from: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/animals/reptile/gopo/all.html
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