Aspects of population ecology of Testudo hermanni hermanni from Asinara Island, NW Sardinia (Italy, Western Mediterranean Sea): preliminary data
Hermann's tortoise (Testudo hermanni Gmelin) of the Island of Asinara (NW Sardinia, Italy) has been studied during a period of four seasons. This population consisted of several individuals of large body size, some of them being amongst the largest known for this species. Bony shells of males were commonly found on this island, while the same was not true for female bony shells. Although wild boars (Sus scrofa) are potential large sized predators for tortoises, the analysis of carapace morphology did not reveal injuries signs due to bites. Male tortoises could die due to up-turning, as the result of male-male combats during the mating season, to possible hyperthermia when upturned, and to predation carried out by birds particularly when upturned. Estimated density was 4.88 individuals ha-1, which was similar to that of conspecifics from other areas studied so far.