by Barbara Brennessel
foreword by Bob Prescott
Brandeis University Press, 2021
Paper: 978-1-68458-080-4 | eISBN: 978-1-68458-081-1
Library of Congress Classification QL666.C547B74 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 597.9259

A new edition of a classic on a beloved turtle species.
She’s the mascot for the University of Maryland’s sports teams and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate and named for the beautiful concentric rings on her shell, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports—until this book.
Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin and urges continued study of this marvelous creature. Updated with a new introduction by Brennessel, and with a foreword by Bob Prescott, former executive director of Massachusett’s Audubon Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary, Diamonds of the Marsh is perfect for those interested in the conservation of a species. 

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