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Nesting ecology and hatching success of the Wood Turtle, Glyptemys insculpta in Quebec

Keywords: conservation , Glyptemys insculpta , movement , nesting , recruitment , reproduction , survivorship , Wood Turtle

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The nesting ecology of Wood Turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) was studied in Québec, Canada during 1996 and 1997.Females made long-distance migrations to nesting grounds, where they staged for up to nine days before nesting. Fifty-fivepercent of the estimated female population was observed at this staging area. Wood Turtles exhibited strong nest sitefidelity, with 95% of females observed to nest in two consecutive years returning to the same nest site. Nesting occurred forapproximately two weeks during mid-June. Turtles were observed nesting during all daylight hours, with morning andevening peaks in activity. Clutch size was positively correlated to female size with larger females having larger clutches.Mean clutch sizes were significantly different between years. Nest success was 74% in 1996 and 65% in 1997. Nestsconstructed during the first half of the nesting season had significantly greater success, suggesting that northern WoodTurtle populations may be delimited by insufficient degree days for the completion of incubation. Staging, nest-site fidelity,and a short nesting season make them vulnerable to anthropogenic disturbances.


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