Diet of radiotracked musk turtles, Sternotherus odoratus, in a small urban stream

Document Type


Publication Date



Corbicula, Diet, Invasive clams, Musk Turtle, Radiotelemetry, Sternotherus odoratus, Stream


We used radiotelemetry to assess the diet of Sternotherus odoratus in Gin Creek, Arkansas, USA. Gin Creek is a small, frequently disturbed, urban stream in which the invasive Asiatic Clam, Corbicula fluminea, has attained high densities. Turtles foraged in small, well-defined home ranges within which we sampled the substrate for potential food items. The diet of S. odoratus, as determined by analysis of fecal samples, compared favorably to prey availability in the creek. The diet was similar to that found in previous dietary studies of typically omnivorous S. odoratus except that clams were eaten much more frequently. An Index of Relative Importance (IRI) revealed the most important prey in both the fecal samples and substrate was C. fluminea. We suggest the diet of S. odoratus in Gin Creek has shifted toward molluscivory as the result of a probable 40-year presence of C. fluminea.

Recommended Citation

Wilhelm, Caitlin E., and Michael V. Plummer. "Diet of radiotracked Musk Turtles, Sternotherus odoratus, in a small urban stream." Herpetological Conservation and Biology 7, no. 2 (2012): 258-264.