The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

The 2017/18  impact factor of the Herpetological Journal is 1.268

pdf 03. Habitat association of the tortoises Geochelone pardalis and Kinixys spekii in the Sengwa wildlife research area, Zimbabwe


Open Access


Authors: Adrian Hailey And Ian M. Coulson

Abstract: There have been few studies of the mechanism of niche separation in sympatric tortoises. This paper examines the habitat association of Geochelone pardalis and Kinixys spekii at the Sengwa Wildlife Research Area, using data on 460 tortoises marked from 1 982 to 1 992. Tortoises were found in most of the vegetation types present. Habitat niche breadth was slightly greater in G. pardalis (B=0.48) than in K. spekii (B=0.36). There was considerable niche overlap between the two species (0=0.76), the only major difference being the greater use of riverine grassland by G. pardalis. Home range areas of individuals recaptured in several years were significantly larger in G. pardalis (mean 26 ha) than in K. spekii (mean 3.1 ha). The pattern of refuge use differed between the two species; K. spekii used burrows, and G. pardalis used thickets and felled trees.

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