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Northeastern Naturalist

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Basking is common in emydid turtles and is generally accepted to be in thermoregulatory behavior. In 2004, we quantified and described the basking behavior of turtles in the Central Canal of Indianapolis. This canal system runs through an urban landscape that is dominated by fragmented woodlots, residential areas. and commercial areas. We observed that basking turtles exhibited variable basking behavior. with spatial and temporal shins in basking behavior from east-facing banks in the morning to west-facing banks in the afternoon. Turtles in the Central Canal are subject to frequent disturbance, which altered basking behavior. Many turtles forewent aerial basking on emergent substrates for aquatic basking on vegetation mats. which maintained warmer and more consistent temperatures than either emergent substrates or the surrounding water. Living in an intensively managed urban habitat, turtles in the Central Canal are susceptible to frequent anthropogenic perturbations, and future management should consider the life history and ecology of urban turtle populations


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