Nesting Habits and Breeding of Invasive Pond Turtles in Urban Areas

Jim Crocker
28th May, 2024

Nesting Habits and Breeding of Invasive Pond Turtles in Urban Areas

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Romania, pond sliders are widespread in urban wetlands, particularly in major cities
  • The study found that 18.6% of pond slider hatchlings in an urban wetland in Constanţa were viable
  • Despite some nests failing or being predated, pond sliders can still reproduce successfully in the invaded region
The pond slider (Trachemys scripta) has become a significant invasive species in freshwater habitats worldwide. This issue has been exacerbated by the illegal release of pet turtles into the wild. Recently, researchers have focused on the species' ability to reproduce successfully in new environments, which is crucial for managing its spread. A recent study conducted by Ovidius University[1] sheds light on this issue in Romania, where the species has been found in urban wetland environments. In Romania, the pond slider is widespread in urban wetlands, particularly in major cities. However, information about its nesting habits and reproductive success has been limited. The study by Ovidius University aimed to fill this gap by surveying a large population of pond sliders at an artificial urban wetland site in Constanţa, located in southeastern Romania. The researchers described the turtles' nesting ecology and reproductive output. The findings revealed that while some nests failed to hatch or were predated upon, limiting reproductive success, the pond sliders were still able to breed successfully at the site. Specifically, 18.6% of the hatchlings recorded were viable. This indicates that despite some challenges, the species is capable of reproducing in the invaded region. These results highlight the need for active and effective management to prevent further spread, especially considering that the importation, trading, and breeding of this species are prohibited by EU legislation. The study's findings are consistent with earlier research on the pond slider's invasive potential. For example, the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), a subspecies of T. scripta, is known to be highly invasive and has established populations in various regions outside its native range[2]. This earlier study also found evidence of genetic admixture between T. scripta elegans and other subspecies, further complicating management efforts. The presence of hybrids deep within the natural range of other subspecies, such as T. s. scripta, underscores the threat of genetic pollution[2]. The current study in Romania builds on these findings by providing concrete data on the reproductive success of pond sliders in an urban wetland environment. It also emphasizes the importance of understanding the species' nesting ecology to develop effective management strategies. The researchers recommend that their study serve as a baseline for additional targeted surveys and inform decision-making for managing this invasive species. In conclusion, the study by Ovidius University highlights the reproductive success of pond sliders in an urban wetland in Romania, despite some challenges. This underscores the need for active management to prevent further spread and protect native species. The findings also align with earlier research on the invasive potential and genetic admixture of the pond slider[2], providing a comprehensive understanding of the species' impact and the urgent need for effective management strategies.



Main Study

1) Nesting ecology and confirmed breeding of the invasive pond slider Trachemys scripta in an urban environment, Romania

Published 27th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Genetic variation and admixture of red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) in the USA.

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