Use of Terrestrial Habitat
by Western Pond Turtles, Clemmys marmorata:
Implications for Management

Ten-gram radio transmitter with whip antenna attached
with epoxy cement.  (Photo by Douglas Welsh.)


1 USDA Forest Service, PSW Redwood Science Laboratory, Arcata, CA 95521, USA
2 Current Address: USAID/G/ENV, The Ronald Reagan Building, Rm. 3.08-036B, Washington, D.C. 20523-3800, USA

        ABSTRACT:  Despite its extensive range, the western pond turtle, Clemmys marmorata, is currently a candidate for federal listing.  Understanding its use of the landscape has become increasingly important to the development of appropriate management plans.  Using radiotelemetry, we examined movements of turtles in a two-mile stretch of the Trinity River (Trinity County, California).  We observed frequent and prolonged use of terrestrial habitat for both nesting and overwintering activities; the turtles travelled into upland areas as far as 500 m from the river.  Males utilized terrestrial habitat in at least ten months of the year, and females were on land every month as a result of their additional terrestrial behavior while gravid.  Hatchlings overwintered in the nest.  These observations suggest that the terrestrial habitat is as important as the aquatic habitat to the viability of western pond turtle populations.  The implications for management are significant, considering the variety of development pressures on lands adjacent to waterways.

  Reserves and Programs

  Contents Summary
  Author Index and Citations

  Home Page