Predator-prey interactions between a recent invader, the Chinese sleeper (Perccottus glenii) and the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis): a case study from Lithuania

Vytautas Rakauskas, Rūta Masiulytė, Alma Pikūnienė

Abstract


The European pond turtle, Emys orbicularis, is a critically endangered species in most European countries. Habitat degradation and fragmentation are considered the main reasons for the decline of E. orbicularis. However, the spread of invasive species may also contribute to the disappearance of E. orbicularis populations. We examined the range overlap and predator-prey interactions between the invasive Chinese sleeper, Perccottus glenii, and E. orbicularis through controlled experiments and in field studies. Field surveys showed that both species occupied similar habitats. Predator-prey experiments suggested that newly hatched turtles are resistant to P. glenii predation. Conversely, adults of E. orbicularis consumed juvenile P. glenii even when other food sources were available. Overall, these findings suggested that E. orbicularis is not among the potential prey organisms in the diet of the invasive P. glenii, and that this fish does not directly contribute to the decline of E. orbicularis in Europe.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/Acta_Herpetol-18261




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