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Site tenacity in European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) hatchlings in Northwestern Spain

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High fidelity of European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) hatchlings to optimal patches of habitat was observed for the first time in the most western population of Spain. To achieve this information we used a permanent marker to identify hatchlings, which allow us to follow the daily activity of the hatchlings without disturbing their behaviour. Hatchlings were observed associated with dense masses of Potamogeton sp., in areas with shallow water, up to 1.5 m, close to the shoreline. Our hypothesis is that hatchlings used these areas because there are no temporary ponds or streams that could be an optimal habitat. These preliminary data could be useful for planning management of protected wetlands.


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