Niche segregation between three species of freshwater turtle in a large billabong during flood
journal contributionposted on 2023-03-22, 14:53 authored by Catherine E Meathrel, Nada M Radford, Phillip J Suter
During the summer of 1996/97 habitat and dietary overlap of three species of freshwater turtle, Chelodina longicollis, C. expansa and Emydura macquarii in Lake Moodemere, a large billabong in north-east Victoria, were studied to assess their level of niche segregation. Lake Moodemere was inundated by flood waters and was connected to the Murray River for the first four weeks of the study. Five separate habitat types of varying complexity were identified within the billabong, ranging from open water to dense reed beds. All three species of turtle preferred the more complex habitats in which to forage, but very few turtles contained food. During times of flood, all turtles appeared to become opportunistic and consumed any food items available. Prey refugia were unimportant during times of flood.