The Florida red-bellied turtle, Pseudemys nelsoni (Family Emydidae), is a moderately large turtle (carapace length to 37.5 cm) that is relatively abundant in freshwater wetlands throughout peninsular Florida and extreme southeastern Georgia. The species is one of the largest emydids in North America, with females (to 37.5 cm) typically growing larger than males (to 30 cm). The post-hatchling diet consists almost entirely of aquatic plants. Mature females may lay up to five clutches of approximately 10 to 20 eggs each during May through August of each year. Direct human exploitation of the species seems to have been low in the past, but this threat may have increased in the previous decade in conjunction with growing demand by the Asian market for turtle meat. The pet trade market for hatchlings also expanded in the 1990s, with most of the demand met by take of natural nests. Recent regulations governing the harvest of turtles and eggs in Florida, however, should stem nearly all legal take in the future. The greatest potential threats to the species are pollution and drainage or alteration of wetland habitats. Although population status data are unavailable, there is no reason to believe that the species is unduly threatened.
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