Effects of Bait Type and Conspecific Attraction in Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) Bycatch.


Carpenter, A. J., Thomas, M. A., and K.K. Cecala



Journal/Publisher Name: 

Journal of Young Investigators

Volume (Issue #): 


Contact information: 

Aren J. Carpenter Department of Biology, Davidson College, Davidson, NC 28035 arcarpenter18@alumni.davidson.edu

The attractiveness of nine “bait” types were assessed ex situ on twelve wild-captured male diamondback terrapins in a commercial blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) pot fishery : no bait, chicken, shrimp, freshwater fish, presence of one female terrapin, presence of two female terrapins, presence of one male terrapin, presence of two male terrapins, and presence of one male terrapin and one female terrapin. Diamondback terrapin entrapment events increased in frequency over the course of the study period, suggesting that repeated exposure to the crab pots increased an individual’s likelihood of entering a pot. Consumable baits had the greatest effect on terrapin entrapment, relative to the presence of conspecifics and non-baited crab pots. However, further study is needed to determine if there is a type of bait that is more attractive to crabs, but not to terrapins. Use of a combination of conservation measures, including BRDs, spatial and temporal crabbing closures, and changes in bait type, remain the most likely to be successful option in protecting terrapin populations.