Mycoplasma Detection and Prevalence in the Endangered Illinois Alligator Snapping Turtle

Samantha J. Johnson, Laura Adamovicz, Ethan J. Kessler, Matthew C. Allender

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


The alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) is one of the largest freshwater turtles in North America and is classified as state endangered in Illinois. Head start programs are under way to restore this species to its natural habitat. Ongoing investigations are, also, being conducted to assess the overall health and characterize disease prevalence within the population. Physical exams and oral/cloacal swabs were collected from 97 head start alligator snapping turtles pre and post release in 2014. Conventional PCR targeting the RNA polymerase beta subunit gene was performed on the pre and post release oral/cloacal swab DNA followed by gel electrophoresis to detect the presence of mycoplasma spp. Mycoplasma was positively detected in 1/122 samples and confirmed by sequencing a 324 base pair product. Mycoplasmosis has been characterized as a disease of conservation concern in tortoises and may represent a threat to small and fragmented chelonian populations. Findings of this pilot study indicate that mycoplasma is present in the alligator snapping turtle population. Future investigation into the impact of this disease will be important for conservation efforts.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2018
Event2018 Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference - Milwaukee, United States
Duration: Jan 28 2018Jan 31 2018
Conference number: 78


Conference2018 Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • INHS


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