The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 02. Food habits, habitat use and density of Emys orbicularis persica from Jelilabad, Azerbaijan

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pp. 245-251

Authors: Luca Luiselli

Abstract: Emys orbicularis persica is one of the ecologically least known subspecies of the widespread European pond turtle. Populations of this subspecies were studied in springtime at two extended wetlands of Azerbaijan, and data on density, habitat use, and food habits were collected. These turtles exhibited a mono-peaked diel activity pattern, with peaks during midday hours.
Highest mean estimated densities were found in reed-bed habitat (9.51 individuals × ha-1) and in the open water habitat (lake)
(9.12 individuals × ha-1), with much lower values in seasonally inundated grasslands (6.0 individuals × ha-1) and no turtles
being found in temporary ponds. Density of reeds did not influence the selection of micro-habitat by turtles. Sex-ratio was
even, and females attained larger size than males. Diet was carnivorous and relatively specialised, with large larvae of aquatic
beetles (Hydrophilus piceus) accounting for by far the main prey item. In this regard, the food habits of the Azerbaijan turtles
appeared more specialised than those of other E. orbicularis populations from elsewhere.

Keywords: Azerbaijan, diet, habitat use, natural history, population density, turtle

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