Thesis Title

Habitat Use and Spatial Ecology of Blanding's Turtle, Emydoidea Blandingii, on Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City, Missouri


Lisa Lehnhoff

Date of Graduation

Spring 2004


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Brian Greene


Information on movements and home range size of endangered vertebrates is essential to conservation planning. I studied the habitat use and spatial ecology of Blanding's turtle Emydoidea blandingii at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Missouri at the southwestern limit of the species range. In Missouri, E. blandingii is known to occur in only three counties and is recognized as endangered. My capture efforts yielded only nine adult turtles and no juveniles, suggesting a small population size. I radio-tracked eight turtles (4 males, 4 females) during 2001-2003, including four individuals tracked in successive seasons. Mean movement rates were higher for males (mean = 107 m/d) than females (mean = 58 m/d). Home range sizes, estimated by 95% fixed kernel and minimum convex polygon methods, were considerably larger for males (890 ha) than for females (94.9 ha) and for other populations of this species. Overland movements were minimal compared to previous studies and were mainly limited to nesting forays. All monitored individuals exhibited a preference for wetlands dominated by cattail (Typha spp.), arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) and lotus (Nelumbo lutea). Turtles became dormant in October and hibernated within their summer activity areas.


Blanding's turtle, Emydoidea blandingii, habitat use, spatial ecology, home range, fixed kernal, minimum convex polygon, conservation

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© Lisa Lehnhoff