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Activity Pattern, Microhabitat Use and Home Range of the Yellow-Margined Box Turtle (Cuora flavomarginata) in Secondary Forest and Semi-natural Habitats.
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In recent years, the yellow-margined box turtles (Cuora flavomarginata) in Taiwan are threatened by illegal harvest and habitat destruction. In Yunlin Country, a new reservoir has been under construction since 2007, the project area is inhabited by this turtle. In 2008 and 2009, 168 turtles were collected from the project area and moved to a temporary enclosed area. Trappings were carried out every month in the enclosed area from September 2008 to December 2010. Radio-tracking was conducted on 14 radio-tagged turtles were tracked once every week from April 2009 to December 2010. Daily activity pattern and some environmental parameters were recorded using acceleration and temperature/light data loggers from October 2009 to December 2010. The active period of the turtles was from April to October, and the overwintering period from November to March. Mean capture rates in the enclosed area were 13.82% and 1.67%, in active and overwintering periods, respectively. Activities were peaked in two periods between April and October, one between 06 – 09 hr, and the other one between 15 – 19 hr. When the turtles were active, shell surface temperature was mainly ranged from 23 – 27℃ in the active period, and 18 – 21℃ in the overwintering period. Mean home range size of male turtles was 1.7 ha, and that of females was 6.33 ha. The average home range size reduced 89 % from the active to the overwintering period. Home ranges during the active and overwintering periods overlapped about 88 %. Ninety-five percent of the turtles were found resting under cover by herb or leaf litters during the tracking period. Turtles generally used the location with highest canopy tree cover (80%-100%). During overwintering periods, turtles were more likely to bury themselves in the soil (25%) than in the active periods (3.6%).
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