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10 March 2023 Do Home Range, Movement Patterns, and Habitat Use of Ornate Box Turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata) Differ Among Age Classes?
Neil P. Bernstein, Rachel H. Fendrich, S. Andy McCollum
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Abstract

Ornate Box Turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata) exist in few large, reproductive populations in Iowa. Little is known about the home range, movements, and habitat use of neonates and young turtles or how movements change during maturation. We tracked four age classes of turtles from 2011 to 2016 and calculated weekly minimum convex polygon home range, every-other-day linear distance moved, habitat, microhabitat, and vegetation cover. We divided the active season into three blocks of time based on established patterns of behavior in Ornate Box Turtles. Age was the only significant factor explaining larger home ranges in older turtles during May and June–July, but there were no significant differences during August–September. However, linear distance moved significantly increased with age during all time periods. Turtles were mainly found in prairie or shrub–prairie habitats, but older turtles were more likely to move farther away from the nesting/breeding/overwintering area. While often on the surface, all age groups were found primarily under vegetation, shrubs, or trees that provided >95% vegetation cover. We suggest that habitat management for this state-threatened species consider the diverse habitats and area needed by all age classes.

Copyright 2023 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
Neil P. Bernstein, Rachel H. Fendrich, and S. Andy McCollum "Do Home Range, Movement Patterns, and Habitat Use of Ornate Box Turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata) Differ Among Age Classes?," Journal of Herpetology 57(1), 1-10, (10 March 2023). https://doi.org/10.1670/21-005
Accepted: 30 November 2022; Published: 10 March 2023
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