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Nest predation of the yellow-spotted Amazon River turtle (Podocnemis unifilis, Troschel, 1848) by the fire ant (Solenopsis geminata, Fabricius, 1804) in the Brazilian Amazon

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We report the effect of predation by the fire ant Solenopsis geminata on nests of the turtle Podocnemis unifilis in the Piagaçu Purus Sustainable Development Reserve, Amazonas, Brazil. During three consecutive breeding seasons (between September and October of 2012, 2013 and 2014), 492 nests were monitored and 95 (19.3%) were predated. Solenopsis geminata was the main predator, accounting for 65.26% (n=62) of the losses. Nest predation by ants was not correlated with soil exposition time. However, all P. unifilis nests predated by S. geminata were entirely covered by vegetation, suggesting that ants may select nests at specific microhabitat conditions. Studies on larger scales, including areas where S. geminata is naturally absent, are needed to develop an adequate management of P. unifilis.
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Keywords: FIRE ANT; FLOODED FOREST; FRESHWATER TURTLE; OFFSPRING

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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