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Geographic variation in body size among French populations of the European pond turtle

In: Amphibia-Reptilia
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  • 1 Naturalia-Environnement, Site Agroparc, 20 rue Lawrence Durrell, BP 31285, 84911 Avignon Cedex 9, France
  • | 2 Centre d’Écologie Fonctionnelle et Évolutive – UMR 5175 CEFE, PSL Research University, University of Montpellier, CNRS, EPHE, SupAgro, IND, INRA, 1919 route de Mende, Montpellier, France
  • | 3 Nature En Occitanie, 14 rue de Tivoli, 31000 Toulouse, France
  • | 4 Associació Ornitològica Picampall de les Terres de l’Ebre, Amposta, Catalonia, Spain
  • | 5 Conservatoire d’espaces naturels de Corse, Maison Andreani, 871 avenue de Borgo, 20290 Borgo, France
  • | 6 Syndicat mixte pour la protection et la gestion de la Camargue Gardoise, route des iscles, Gallician, 30600 Vauvert, France
  • | 7 Société pour l’Etude, la Protection et l’Aménagement de la Nature en Lot-et-Garonne, RNN de l’étang de la Mazière, 47400 Villeton, France
  • | 8 Société d’Histoire Naturelle d’Autun, Maison du Parc naturel regional du Morvan, 58230 Saint-Brisson, France
  • | 9 Les Marais du Vigueirat – Chemin de l’Etourneau, 13104 Mas-Thibert, France
  • | 10 Tour du Valat, Research Institute for the conservation of Mediterranean Wetlands, Le Sambuc, 13200 Arles, France
  • | 11 Réserve Naturelle de Chérine, Maison de la nature, 36290 Saint Michel en Brenne, France
  • | 12 3, Rue de la mairie, 89480 Lucy-sur-Yonne, France
  • | 13 Syndicat mixte de Camargue gardoise, Centre de Scamandre, route des Iscles, 30600 Vauvert, France
  • | 14 Parc naturel régional de Camargue, Mas du Pont de Rousty, 13200 Arles, France
  • | 15 StatiPOP, 4 av de Nîmes 34190 Ganges, France
  • | 16 Agir Ecologique, 147 ancienne Route d’Esparron, 83470 Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, France
  • | 17 Conservatoire d’espaces naturels Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur - appart n°5, 95 rue Droite, 04200 Sisteron, France
  • | 18 Conservatoire d’espaces naturels du Languedoc-Roussillon, Immeuble “le Thèbes”, 26 allées de Mycènes, 34000 Montpellier, France
  • | 19 A Rocha France, Domaine des Courmettes, Route de Courmettes, 06140 Tourrettes sur Loup, France
  • | 20 Société Herpétologique de France, MNHN – CP41 57, rue Cuvier 75005 Paris, France
  • | 21 OBIOS – Objectifs Biodiversités, 22 rue du Docteur Gilbert, 17250 Pont-l’Abbé-d’Arnoult, France
  • | 22 Les Amis du Parc Ornithologique de Pont de Gau, RD 570, 13460 Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France
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Abstract

The processes underlying macroecological gradients in body size are widely debated, in part because their intraspecific variability remains poorly described even in well-studied taxa such as vertebrates. In this study, we investigated how climate, habitat, genetic lineage and sex explain body size variations in French populations of the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis). We measured 7016 adult individuals captured in 41 populations, covering most of the species’ distribution in metropolitan France, including Corsica. Body size variation in our sample was wide and comparable to that found across the species’ worldwide range. Variation was similar in magnitude at regional and local levels, suggesting that body size is influenced by local factors as much as by regional factors such as climate or genetic lineage. Smaller sizes were associated with Mediterranean or altered oceanic climates, and with two lineages (E. o. galloitalica and E. o. galloitalica/E. o. orbicularis), while larger sizes were associated with northern environments and the orbicularis lineage. Body size variations recorded at local level reflect an adaptive response to environmental constraints, suggesting that habitat is also an important factor in understanding size variation.

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