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The Niches of Two Sympatric Softshell Turtles, Trionyx muticus and Trionyx spiniferus, in Iowa

Thomas A. Williams and James L. Christiansen
Journal of Herpetology
Vol. 15, No. 3 (Jul. 31, 1981), pp. 303-308
DOI: 10.2307/1563433
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1563433
Page Count: 6
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The Niches of Two Sympatric Softshell Turtles, Trionyx muticus and Trionyx spiniferus, in Iowa
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Abstract

Basking, food habits, habitats, and other features of the niches of smooth (Trionyx muticus) and spiny (T. spiniferus) softshell turtles were studied in Iowa from 1969 through 1975. Spiny softshells are more versatile than smooth softshells in basking site selection and toleration of aquatic habitats. Although the same kinds of food are eaten, spiny softshells are primarily benthic feeders and scavengers, whereas smooth softshells feed more in the water column. Niches of the two species differ fundamentally in Iowa yet show considerable overlap.

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