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Population size and density in two European pond turtle populations of central Italy

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posted on 2020-05-15, 09:37 authored by Marco A.L. Zuffi, Alice Spinelli, Vuk Ikovic, Marco Mangiacotti, Roberto Sacchi, Stefano Scali
Two populations of the European pond turtle were studied employing capture, marking and recapture (CMR) techniques to determine population density and abundance in natural and protected areas within the Regional Natural park Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli in north western Tuscany, Italy. The results indicated strong sexual size dimorphism in both populations, with males smaller than females. In one area Emys orbicularis was in general smaller in size with a very low reproductive rate (three out of 25 adult females were gravid), which contrasted with a second population where 20 out of 42 females were gravid. Population estimates indicated 79 turtles were present in the first area (0.34 ha) and 61 turtles in the second area (0.58 ha), giving an overall density estimate of 183.6 turtles/ha and 146.7 turtles/ha respectively. Whilst our results are similar to those found in other areas of Europe, they diverge from other regions, suggesting that sampling and monitoring techniques should be standardized to obtain comparable data that will enable conservation and protection measures to be recommended.