Faculty Publications

Home Range, Site Fidelity, And Movement Patterns Of The Wood Turtle (Glyptemys Insculpta) At The Southwestern Edge Of Its Range

Document Type



Emydidae, Glyptemys insculpta, home range, Iowa, Midwest, movement, Reptilia, site fidelity, stream home range, Testudines

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Chelonian Conservation and Biology





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Wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) are considered rare or threatened throughout their range. Populations in Iowa occur at the western periphery of the species' range and may be particularly vulnerable to extirpation due to low population density, geographic isolation with restricted opportunities for gene flow, a small range, and a high percentage of land that has been converted for agriculture. To improve our understanding of the ecological needs of the species and to provide targeted conservation of required habitat, determining home range size, site fidelity, and movement patterns is needed. We conducted a 2-yr radiotelemetry study on wood turtles in Iowa to provide baseline data on movement patterns (including estimated total distance moved in an active season and mean daily movement) and home range size and site fidelity between years of survey. Home range size of adult male and female wood turtles differed significantly for 100, 95, and 50 minimum convex polygon home range, with male mean home range being nearly 3 times the mean size of female home range. Stream home range length also differed significantly between males and females, with males utilizing a larger portion of lotic habitat. Both sexes showed a high degree of site fidelity to annual home ranges but not to specific overwintering locations. Our study provides important data on home range size, degree of site fidelity, and movement patterns of wood turtles from an isolated population in Iowa at the southwest periphery of the species' range. These data will inform conservation agencies on relevant habitat protection and management strategies of riparian areas that are necessary for the continued survival and protection of the species in the state.


Department of Biology

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