Diet of a restocked population of the European pond turtle Emys orbicularis in NW Italy

Dario Ottonello, Fabrizio Oneto, Monica Vignone, Anita Rizzo, Sebastiano Salvidio


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 specialization on 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 other wild turtle populations living in similar habitats.

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