Florida softshell turtles play a role in the aquatic ecosystem both as predators and as scavengers, and in turn provide food (as eggs and post-hatching turtles) for other predators.
Young Apalone ferox are prone to bacterial and fungal skin problems; these problems occur in both wild and captive animals and populations. Little is known about parasites in Apalone ferox; they can harbor leeches, and Foster et al. (1998) found eight helminth species in Florida softshell turtle obtained from a commercial processor. The most prevalent helminths were Spiroxys amydae (80%), Cephalogonimus vesicaudus (80%), Vasotrema robustum (76%) and Proteocephalus (63%). (Bartlett and Earle-Bridges, 1996; Ernst, Lovich, and Barbour, 1994; Foster et al., 1998)
- Bartlett, P., M. Earle-Bridges. 1996. Turtles and Tortoises: Everything about Selection, Care, Nutrition, Breeding, and Behavior. Hong Kong: Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
- Ernst, C., J. Lovich, R. Barbour. 1994. Turtles of the United States and Canada. Washington: Smithsonsian Institution Press.
- Foster, G., J. Kinsella, P. Moler, L. Johnson, D. Forrester. 1998. Parasites of Florida Softshell Turtles (Apalone ferox) from Southeastern Florida. Journal of the Helminthological Society of Washington, 65 (1): 62-64.