SREL Reprint #0793




Survivorship and Longevity of a Long-Lived Vertebrate Species: How Long Do Turtles Live?

J. Whitfield Gibbons and Raymond D. Semlitsch



(1)     A 13-year mark-release-recapture study on natural populations of freshwater turtles, Pseudemys scripta, of known age indicates that approximately 1% of the individuals can be expected to attain an age of 20 years.

(2)     Probable maximum longevity in natural populations is about 30 years, in contrast to published estimates of up to 75 years.

(3)     Adults follow a Type II survivorship curve with constant rates of mortality at all ages, as do many other long-lived species that have been studied.


SREL Reprint #0793

Gibbons, J.W. and R.D. Semlitsch. 1982. Survivorship and longevity of a long lived vertebrate species: How long do turtles live? Journal of Animal Ecology 51:523-527.

To request a reprint