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1 November 2018 Characterizing Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) Populations at the Northwestern Periphery of the Species' Range in Canada
Jennifer Cross, Robert Cross, Derek Chartrand, Dean G. Thompson
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We report morphometric and demographic characteristics of 2 distinct populations of Glyptemys insculpta (Wood Turtle), at the northwestern periphery of the range in Canada, where they are designated as a species at risk. Our surveys of the 2 study watersheds (2012–2015) were assisted by a trained canine unit which was demonstrably more efficient than human crews in detecting Wood Turtles. We observed that both populations were large—214 and 114 uniquely marked individuals documented over time. We found no significant differences (P ≥ 0.05) in age structure, sex ratios, sexual size-dimorphism, body condition, number of observed mating attempts, or frequency and type of injuries between populations. We observed female-biased sex ratios in both populations (1:1.47 and 1:1.84, respectively) that were not attributable to sampling bias. Our data generally support the postulate of an inverse relationship between Wood Turtle body size and number of frost-free days or latitude. The general health of the 2 study populations was evidenced by the numerous large and reproductively mature individuals of both sexes, relatively high percentage of juveniles observed (average = 26%), and size-class frequency distributions that indicated sustained juvenile recruitment over several years in both watersheds. Our data suggest that high-quality forested watershed habitats, even at the northwestern extreme of the species range in Canada, can and do support large, healthy populations of Wood Turtles.
Jennifer Cross, Robert Cross, Derek Chartrand, and Dean G. Thompson "Characterizing Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) Populations at the Northwestern Periphery of the Species' Range in Canada," Northeastern Naturalist 25(4), 571-586, (1 November 2018).
Published: 1 November 2018

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