NESTING ECOLOGY AND HATCHING SUCCESS OF THE WOOD TURTLE, GLYPTEMYS INSCULPTA, IN QUÉBEC
ANDREW D. WALDE1,2,*, J. ROGER BIDER1, DENIS MASSE3, RAYMOND A. SAUMURE2†, AND RODGER D. TITMAN2
1St. Lawrence Valley Natural History Society, 21125 chemin Ste.-Marie, Ste.-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec H9X 3Y7, Canada
2Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, 21111 Lakeshore Road, Ste.-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec H9X 3V9, Canada
3Parcs Canada, Parc national de la Mauricie, 2141 chemin Saint-Paul, Saint-Mathieu-du-Parc, Québec G0X 1N0, Canada
†Present Address: Research Division, The Springs Preserve, 1001 South Valley View Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89107, USA
*Corresponding author/Present address: 7686 SVL Box, Victorville, California 92395, USA, e-mail: [email protected]
Abstract.—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-five percent of the estimated female population was observed at this staging area. Wood Turtles exhibited strong nest site fidelity, with 95% of females observed to nest in two consecutive years returning to the same nest site. Nesting occurred for approximately two weeks during mid-June. Turtles were observed nesting during all daylight hours, with morning and evening 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. Nests constructed during the first half of the nesting season had significantly greater success, suggesting that northern Wood Turtle 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.
Key Words.—conservation, Glyptemys insculpta, movement, nesting, recruitment, reproduction, survivorship, Wood Turtle
Herpetological Conservation and Biology 2(1):49-60 Submitted: 18 August 2006; Accepted: 18 January 2007. Open Access Article.