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Analisi preliminari sulla divergenza genetica e filogeografia delle popolazioni Italiane della testuggine palustre Europea Emys orbicularis

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  • Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione dell'Ambiente Ligure
... These individuals are part of a conservation project, that began in 1999 and is still ongoing (Ficetola et al., 2013;Canessa et al., 2016). Restocked animals were born in an outdoor facility (i.e., the "Centro Emys" situated in Leca di Albenga, NW Italy) from local genetically screened adults (Manfredi et al., 2013). Turtles were bred in the facility for 2-5 years until restocking; they were fed with commercial pellets in the first year, then with frozen shrimps and fish. ...
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Recently several projects have been implemented for the conservation of the European turtle Emys orbicularis, but few aspects of the captive-bred animals released into the wild have been described. In this note we report about the trophic habits of a small restocked population of the endemic subspecies E. o. ingauna that is now reproducing in NW Italy. Faecal contents from 25 individuals (10 females, 11 males and 4 juveniles) were obtained in June 2016. Overall, 11 taxonomic categories of invertebrates were identified, together with seeds and plant remains. Plant material was present in 24 out of 25 turtle faecal contents, suggesting that ingestion was deliberate. There were no differences between the dietary habits of females and males, and the trophic strategy of adult individuals was characterised by a relatively high specializationon dragonfly nymphae. These findings suggest that captive bred turtles are adapting well to the wild and that restocked individuals assumed an omnivorous diet, a trophic behaviour typical of others wild turtle populations living in similar habitats.
... The Sicilian pond turtle, Emys trinacris, was described by Fritz et al. (2005), who separated it from the European pond turtle E. orbicularis (Linnaeus) on the basis of genetic differences. Since then, some studies on morphology and genetics (D'Angelo, 2006;Fritz et al., 2006Fritz et al., , 2007D'Angelo, Galia & Lo Valvo, 2008;Spadola & Insacco, 2009;Pedall et al., 2011;Manfredi et al., 2013;Vamberger et al., 2015) have been published, contributing to a better characterization of the taxonomy and phylogeography of this species. On the other hand, we have not yet got a complete autoecological profile of E. trinacris (Turrisi, 2008;Di Cerbo, 2011), although several of its phenological and ecological traits were described (Naselli-Flores et al., 2007;D'Angelo, Galia & Lo Valvo, 2008;D'Angelo et al., 2013;Lo Valvo et al., 2014). ...
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The pond turtle Emys trinacris is an endangered endemic species of Sicily showing a fragmented distribution throughout the main island. In this study, we applied "Ensemble Niche Modelling", combining more classical statistical techniques as Generalized Linear Models and Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines with machine-learning approaches as Boosted Regression Trees and Maxent, to model the potential distribution of the species under current and future climatic conditions. Moreover, a "gap analysis" performed on both the species' presence sites and the predictions from the Ensemble Models is proposed to integrate outputs from these models, in order to assess the conservation status of this threatened species in the context of biodiversity management. For this aim, four "Representative Concentration Pathways", corresponding to different greenhouse gases emissions trajectories were considered to project the obtained models to both 2050 and 2070. Areas lost, gained or remaining stable for the target species in the projected models were calculated. E. trinacris' potential distribution resulted to be significantly dependent upon precipitation-linked variables, mainly precipitation of wettest and coldest quarter. Future negative effects for the conservation of this species, because of more unstable precipitation patterns and extreme meteorological events, emerged from our analyses. Further, the sites currently inhabited by E. trinacris are, for more than a half, out of the Protected Areas network, highlighting an inadequate management of the species by the authorities responsible for its protection. Our results, therefore, suggest that in the next future the Sicilian pond turtle will need the utmost attention by the scientific community to avoid the imminent risk of extinction. Finally, the gap analysis performed in GIS environment resulted to be a very informative post-modeling technique, potentially applicable to the management of species at risk and to Protected Areas' planning in many contexts. How to cite this article Iannella et al. (2018), Coupling GIS spatial analysis and Ensemble Niche Modelling to investigate climate change-related threats to the Sicilian pond turtle Emys trinacris, an endangered species from the Mediterranean.
... The Sicilian Pond Turtle Emys trinacris Fritz, Fattizzo, Guicking, Tripepi, Pennisi, Lenk, Joger & Wink, 2005 (Testudines: Emydidae) has recently been distinguished from the European Pond Turtle Emys orbicularis (L., 1758) (Testudines: Emydidae) by genetic and morphological characters (Fritz et al. 2006). Although there are still doubts about its specific status (Speybroeck et al. 2010), several authors showed a clear differentiation at the genetic level (Pedall et al. 2011, Manfredi et al. 2013, Vamberger et al. 2015 and considered it a valid cryptic species (Fritz et al. 2006, Turtle Taxonomy Working Group 2014. Endemic to Sicily, E. trinacris is listed in Annexes II and IV of the 43/92/ CEE "Habitats" Directive and considered "Data Deficient" by IUCN (van Dijk 2009). ...
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The lack of data relating to basic life-history and population dynamics is one of the gaps to be filled in order to develop a proper strategy for the conservation of the Sicilian Pond Turtle (Emys trinacris). In this study, we present the results of the first year of a multi-annual monitoring program focusing on a specific wetland area, located within the “Lago Preola e Gorghi Tondi” Nature Reserve (Sicily, Italy). The sub- population size was estimated with capture-recapture method at 719 ± 47 turtles, with a mean density of 239.7 ± 15.7 ind./ha. The overall sex ratio of the captured individuals was males-biased (2.9 : 1) but also a significant differences between spring and summer was found. We discuss this finding in relation to differ- ential reproductive strategies of the sexes, with the support of data on movements and on body condition. The importance of a multi-year monitoring approach is underlined in order to get a better understanding of the factors that affect the population ecology.
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The Sicilian Pond Turtle, Emys trinacris (family Emydidae), is a small-sized freshwater turtle (straight midline carapace length to 172 mm in females, 156 mm in males), endemic to the island of Sicily in Italy. It appears to be more widespread in the northern and central-western parts of the island, with the exclusion of Monti Peloritani and most of the Madonie area and Monti di Termini Imerese. It is apparently rarer along the southeastern coastal areas, except for some coastal wetlands in the provinces of Trapani, Agrigento, Siracusa, and Ragusa. The species shows an altitudinal distribution range from sea level to about 1250 m a.s.l., with a higher prevalence in coastal and hilly territories, except for the Nebrodi area, where it is quite common in mountainous areas as well. Emys trinacris inhabits coastal and inland wetlands, mountain lakes and ponds, slow-moving river bends, and man-made aquatic environments, both in open areas and in woodlands. The few studied populations appear relatively robust at present, but others appear to be decreasing, and a lack of detailed recent field data prevents sound conclusions from being drawn about its overall status. Indeed, ongoing patterns of habitat loss and alteration, combined with climate change, release of non-native species in the wild, and poaching for the pet trade threaten this species.
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