Animal Biology 61 (2011) 249–261 brill.nl/ab The turtle is in the details: microhabitat choice by Testudo hermanni is based on microscale plant distribution Silvia Del Vecchio 1 , Russell L. Burke 2 , Lorenzo Rugiero 3 , Massimo Capula 4 and Luca Luiselli 3 , ∗ 1 Dipartimento di Biologia Ambientale, Università Roma Tre, Roma, Italia 2 Department of Biology, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549, USA 3 Centro di Studi Ambientali Demetra s.r.l., Roma, Italia 4 Museo Civico di Zoologia, Roma, Italia Abstract Although research on habitat use and habitat selection is essential for understanding population ecol- ogy and behavior, most such zoological studies have used only general habitat categories describing main habitat features instead of using modern plant ecological approaches. Here, we analyze Tes- tudo hermanni microhabitat use at a coastal Mediterranean site in central Italy by modeling tortoise presence/absence at three spatial scales, using a logistic regression design and quantitative vegetation and plant community analysis to reveal correlates of tortoise habitat use on a fine scale. Our analyses showed that only a few plant species among the many present, and these on a very small spatial scale, are important determinants of tortoise presence and site selection.
Animal Biology – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2011
Keywords: SPATIAL SCALE; TORTOISES; HABITAT SELECTION; CENTRAL ITALY; ECOLOGY; PHYTOCOENOSIS
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