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Golubovíc, A., Arsovski, D., & Tomović, L. , Habitat configuration affects jumping behavior of the herman's tortoise (testudo hermanni). Unpublished paper presented at 4th Congress of the ecologists of Macedonia. 
Added by: Admin (06 Jan 2014 18:24:29 UTC)
Resource type: Conference Paper
BibTeX citation key: Golubovc2012
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Categories: General
Keywords: Schildkröten - turtles + tortoises, Testudinidae, Testudo hermanni, Verhalten - ethology
Creators: Arsovski, Golubovíc, Tomović
Collection: 4th Congress of the ecologists of Macedonia
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Testudinidae Studies that explore abilities of armoured animals (e.g. armadillos and chelonians) to overcome obstacles in complex environment of the microhabitats are generally lacking. Although recent researches have confirmed vast importance of visual perception for tortoises, cliff performances and depth perception have been rarely explored in this animal group. In our study of two populations of Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni) inhabiting different habitats (flat habitat at Konjsko village and habitat with high cliffs on the island of Golem Grad), we checked: how jumping willingness varies between populations from different habitats; does gender, age and body size affect jumping behaviour; how environmental parameters shape jumping performance? Results of this study showed substantial differences in jumping performances between animals inhabiting areas with high cliffs and the population from the flat habitat – individuals from the flat habitat were less willing to jump. There were no differences in jumping readiness in relation to sex and morphology in adult individuals. Immature individuals were less motivated to jump than adult animals. We presume that experience mainly contributes to observed behavioural differences. Animals with more jumping practice (at interpopulation level - animals from habitat with high cliffs; at intrapopulation level - older animals) are keener to step over height obstacle. Tortoise cliff performances may have significant interpopulation variability and important role in spatial ecology. Since the cliff performances are strongly associated with habitat structure and microhabitat complexity, abilities to face cliff obstacles may have an important survival value, and thus can be under strong selective pressure. It remains to check how precisely this behavioural trait is related to experience. Way in which habitat shapes mobility of tortoises should be an important factor in translocation planning and thus have conservational value.
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