Morphological Divergence of Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni boettgeri Mojsisovits, 1889) in Albania


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Duro S., Sönmez B., Gündemir O. , Jashari T., Szara T.

ANIMALS, cilt.11, sa.1, ss.1-15, 2021 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)

  • Cilt numarası: 11 Konu: 1
  • Basım Tarihi: 2021
  • Doi Numarası: 10.3390/ani11010134
  • Dergi Adı: ANIMALS
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.1-15

Özet

Testudines show phenotypic plasticity, and variation among specific populations within a species is widespread. Morphological differences between populations may reflect ecological factors that drive adaptation to local conditions. In this context, we gathered basic data on the morphology of the Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni boettgeri Mojsisovits, 1889) to document their variation across different geographical regions. We surveyed Hermann’s tortoises in five different locales within Albania during April and May 2020 and measured 20 morphological characteristics, including carapace and plastron dimensions. We measured 188 tortoises (81 males, 107 females) in this study, and females were larger (p = 0.0001) and heavier (p = 0.0001) than males. Mean straight carapace length (SCL) and body mass were 172.4 mm and 1128.8 g, respectively, for females, and 151.3 mm and 735 g, respectively, for males. The Albanian T. h. boettgeri were regionally diverged into three different populations that were situated in northern (Shkodra), central (Tirana, Berati, and Ballshi), and southern (Saranda) Albania. The body size (curved carapace length (CCL)) of females was positively correlated (r = 0.216; p = 0.025) with the latitude, in accordance with Bergmann’s rule. However, there was no correlation between body size and latitude in males. These striking regional differences among Albanian T. h. boettgeri strongly suggest that further study of molecular variations and reproductive output of Hermann’s tortoises is warranted.