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Basking Site Selection and Usage Strategies of the European Pond Turtle, Emys orbicularis (Linnaeus, 1758) in Babat valley (Gödöllő, Hungary)

Gergő Erdélyi, Borbála Szabó, István Kiss

Abstract


Sun basking is the most common method for freshwater turtles, such as the European pond turtle, to maintain optimal body temperature. The attributes of the macro- and microhabitat features around the basking sites affect the basking site selection of the European pond turtle. To protect the European pond turtle, it is important to know the basking habits among the biological characteristics of the species, along with the effects of the habitat characteristics and the choice of the type of basking sites. The purpose of our research was to detect the effects of macro- and microhabitat features on the selection of basking sites. We wanted to determine basking site type selection according to the carapace length classes and if there is any difference in the choice of basking trunks and branches with different thicknesses. Turtles choose basking sites with less closed vegetation in their environment. We have detected seasonal differences in the microhabitat features. The closing reed and Typha sp. had a negative effect on the number of observed basking turtles. The most popular type of basking sites in the pond system was the commonly occurred fallen tree trunks and branches in the water, regardless of turtle body size. Most turtles used thinner tree trunks and branches for basking. In the meantime, we found differences in the choice of basking trunks between the turtles with different body sizes. Younger turtles with smaller bodies appeared in larger numbers on emergent branches with smaller diameters.

Keywords


freshwater turtle; habitat features; macro- and microhabitat; seasonal effects; visual observation

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30906/1026-2296-2021-28-4-175-184

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