Record longevity of a Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)


  • David Seburn Seburn Ecological Services (Ottawa, ON)



Spotted Turtle, Clemmys guttata, longevity


Turtles are known for their longevity, but the maximum life span for many species remains unknown. Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) can live for more than 30 years in the wild, but typical or maximum longevity has not been confirmed. As part of a long-term mark–recapture project in Ottawa, Ontario, near the species’ northern limit, an adult female was captured on 27 April 2017. It had first been marked on 11 June 1983, when it was an adult with 17 growth rings on its plastron. Based on the number of growth rings at first capture, and the intervening time, this turtle is a minimum of 51 years old, setting a longevity record for the species. Ten individuals in this population were at least 30 years old when last captured, including a male at least 41 years old. Few of these turtles have grown measurably since being marked in 1983, and it is likely that these minimum ages are underestimates of actual ages.

Author Biography

David Seburn, Seburn Ecological Services (Ottawa, ON)

Expertise: Reptiles, amphibians, cartography.