Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

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

Version 1 : Received: 17 December 2020 / Approved: 18 December 2020 / Online: 18 December 2020 (11:56:04 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Duro, S.; Sönmez, B.; Gündemir, O.; Jashari, T.; Szara, T. Morphological Divergence of Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni boettgeri Mojsisovits, 1889) in Albania. Animals 2021, 11, 134. Duro, S.; Sönmez, B.; Gündemir, O.; Jashari, T.; Szara, T. Morphological Divergence of Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni boettgeri Mojsisovits, 1889) in Albania. Animals 2021, 11, 134.

Journal reference: Animals 2021, 11, 134
DOI: 10.3390/ani11010134

Abstract

Testudines show phenotypic plasticity, and variation among specific populations within a species is widespread. Morphological differences between populations reflect ecological factors that drive adaptation to local conditions. In this context, gathered basic data on morphology of the Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni boettgeri) 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=.0001) and heavier (P=.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 overall Albanian T. h. boettgeri population were regionally diverged into 3 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 degree, in accordance with Bergmann's rule. However, there was no correlation between body size and degrees north latitude in males. These striking regional differences among Albanian T. h. boettgeri strongly suggest that further study of molecular variations in and reproductive output of Hermann’s tortoises is warranted.

Subject Areas

Bergmann’s rule; carapace morphometry; plastron scutes; Hermann’s tortoises; Testudo hermanni boettgeri

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