, Volume 13, Issue 13, pp 2511-2518

Impact of the introduction of the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) on survival rates of the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis)

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Abstract

Recent massive imports of slider turtles, (Trachemys scripta elegans) into Europe as pets have induced frequent release of these exotic turtles in natural habitats. As a consequence, T. s. elegans is now widely distributed in most wetlands. Moreover, reproduction of this species has been repeatedly observed in Europe under Mediterranean climatic conditions. In this context, we studied competition between this introduced species and the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) under experimental conditions. We compared weight variation and survival between control groups and mixed groups during three years of monitoring. We found both weight loss and high mortality in E. orbicularis of the mixed groups. This study argues for applying a precaution principle and stopping slider turtle introductions in all wetlands in Europe.