Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-qsmjn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-19T07:04:37.768Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Bushes protect tortoises from lethal overheating in arid areas of Morocco

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 January 2012

F. LAGARDE
Affiliation:
CEBC CNRS, 79360 Villers en Bois, France
T. LOUZIZI
Affiliation:
CEBC CNRS, 79360 Villers en Bois, France Université Cadi Ayyad, Faculté des Sciences Semlalia, Laboratoire Biodiversité et dynamique des Ecosystèmes (BioDEcos), BP 2390, Marrakech 40000, Maroc
T. SLIMANI
Affiliation:
Université Cadi Ayyad, Faculté des Sciences Semlalia, Laboratoire Biodiversité et dynamique des Ecosystèmes (BioDEcos), BP 2390, Marrakech 40000, Maroc
H. EL MOUDEN
Affiliation:
Université Cadi Ayyad, Faculté des Sciences Semlalia, Laboratoire Biodiversité et dynamique des Ecosystèmes (BioDEcos), BP 2390, Marrakech 40000, Maroc
K. BEN KADDOUR
Affiliation:
Université Cadi Ayyad, Faculté des Sciences Semlalia, Laboratoire Biodiversité et dynamique des Ecosystèmes (BioDEcos), BP 2390, Marrakech 40000, Maroc
S. MOULHERAT
Affiliation:
SEE-CNRS Moulis, 09200, Moulis, France
X. BONNET*
Affiliation:
CEBC CNRS, 79360 Villers en Bois, France
*
*Correspondence: Dr Xavier Bonnet Tel: +33 5490 97879 Fax: +33 5490 96526 e-mail: bonnet@cebc.cnrs.fr

Summary

Arid Mediterranean regions that shelter unique biodiversity are threatened by increasing anthropogenic pressures, such as urbanization, overgrazing and climate change. In Morocco, one of the main bush species in arid areas, the jujube (Ziziphus lotus), suffers from officially promoted programmes of removal. The Moorish tortoise (Testudo graeca soussensis) is threatened by such habitat loss. Like most animals, the Moorish tortoise must navigate between microhabitats to find essential feeding resources and thermal refuges. This study combined radio-tracking of free-ranging individuals, microhabitat temperature monitoring and transects in a range of habitats. Tortoises were found to depend on the occurrence of large and relatively abundant bushes to escape lethal overheating. Thus, (1) current official encouragements for the destruction of the jujube bushes should be reappraised; (2) habitat restoration relying on replanting jujube bush should be encouraged; and (3) large-scale monitoring of critical bush densities should be used to better organize conservation plans (protection and/or restoration of areas) for the Moorish tortoise.

Type
Papers
Copyright
Copyright © Foundation for Environmental Conservation 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Bayley, J.R. & Highfield, A.C. (1996) Observations on ecological changes threatening a population of Testudo graeca graeca in the Souss Valley, Southern Morocco. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 2: 3642.Google Scholar
Bartholomew, G.A. (1982) Physiological control of body temperature. In: Biology of the Reptilia, Volume 12, ed. Gans, C. & Pough, F.H., pp. 167211. New York, NY, USA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
Beck, D.D. & Jennings, R.D. (2003) Habitat use by Gila monsters: the importance of shelters. Herpetological Monograph 17: 111129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ben Kaddour, K. (2005) Ecologie et traits d'histoire de vie de la tortue mauresque (Testudo graeca graeca L., 1758) dans un environnement aride et surpaturé au Maroc occidental: implications en terme de conservation. Thèse de Doctorat, Université Cadi Ayyad, Faculté des Sciences Semlalia, Marrakech, Maroc: 219 pp.Google Scholar
Bliege-Bird, R., Bird, D.W., Codding, B.F., Parker, C.H. & Jones, J.H. (2008) The ‘fire stick farming’ hypothesis: Australian aboriginal foraging strategies, biodiversity, and anthropogenic fire mosaics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105: 1479614801.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bonnet, X., Brischoux, F., Pearson, D. & Rivalan, P. (2009) Beach-rock as a keystone habitat for sea kraits. Environmental Conservation 36: 6270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bradshaw, S.D. (1997) Homeostasis in Desert Reptiles. Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany: Springer: 213 pp.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bulova, S.J. (2002). How temperature, humidity, and burrow selection affect evaporative water loss in desert tortoises. Journal of Thermal Biology 27: 175189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Castro, J., Zamora, R., Hodar, J.A., Gomez, J.M. & Gomez-Aparicio, L. (2004) Benefits of using shrubs as nurse plants for reforestation in Mediterranean mountains: a 4-year study. Restoration Ecology 12: 352358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cooper, S.M. & Owen-Smith, N. (1986) Effects of plant spinescence on large mammalian herbivores. Oecologia 68: 446455.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Depommier, D. (1988) Ziziphus mauritiana Lam. Culture et utilisation en pays Kapsiki (Nord Cameroun): Ziziphus mauritiana Lam. Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 218: 5762.Google Scholar
El Mouden, E.H., Lagarde, F., Ben Kaddour, K., Slimani, T., Guillon, M. & Bonnet, X. (2004) Le surpâturage. Un défit pour la tortue grecque? Le courrier de la nature 210: 2327.Google Scholar
El Mouden, E.H., Slimani, T., Ben Kaddour, K., Lagarde, F., Oouhammou, A. & Bonnet, X. (2006) Testudo graeca graeca feeding ecology in an arid and overgrazed zone in Morocco. Journal of Arid Environnements 64: 422435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fasulo, A., Follari, J. & Barral, J. (2001) Comparison between a simple solar collector accumulator and conventional accumulator. Solar Energy 71: 389401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fleischner, T.L. (1994) Ecological costs of livestock grazing in western North America. Conservation Biology 8: 629644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Galli, G., Taylor, E.W. & Wang, T. (2004) The cardiovascular responses of the fresh water turtle Trachemys scripta to warming and cooling. Journal of Experimental Biology 207: 14711478.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Geist, H.J. & Lambin, E.F. (2004) Dynamic causal patterns of desertification. Bioscience 54: 817829.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grillet, P., Cheylan, M., Thirion, J.M., Doré, F., Bonnet, X., Dauge, C., Chollet, S. & Marchand, M.A. (2010) Rabbit burrows or artificial refuges are a critical habitat component for the threatened lizard, Timon lepidus (Sauria, Lacertidae). Biodiversity and Conservation 19: 20392051.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hailey, A. & Coulson, I.A. (1996) Temperature and the tropical tortoise Kinixys spekii: tests of thermoregulation. Journal of Zoology London 240: 537549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hutchison, V.H., Vinegar, A. & Kosh, R.J. (1966) Critical thermal maxima in turtles. Herpetologica 22: 3241.Google Scholar
Kéfi, S., Rietkerk, M., Alados, C.L., Pueyo, Y., Papanastasis, V.P., ElAich, A. & de Ruiter, P.C. (2007) Spatial vegetation patterns and imminent desertification in Mediterranean arid ecosystems. Nature 449: 213217.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lagarde, F., Bonnet, X., Corbin, J., Henen, B., Nagy, K., Mardonov, B. & Naulleau, G. (2003 a) Foraging behaviour and diet of an ectothermic herbivore: Testudo horsfieldi. Ecography 26: 236242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lagarde, F., Bonnet, X., Henen, B., Nagy, K., Corbin, J., Lacroix, A. & Trouvé, C. (2003 b) Plasma steroid and nutrient levels during the active season in wild Testudo horsfieldi. General and Comparative Endocrinology 134: 139146.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lagarde, F., Guillon, M., Dubroca, L., Bonnet, X., Ben Kaddour, K., Slimani, T. & El Mouden, E.H. (2008) Slowness and acceleration: a new method to quantify the activity budget of chelonians. Animal Behaviour 75: 319329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lelièvre, H., Blouin-Demers, G., Bonnet, X. & Lourdais, O. (2010) Thermal benefits of artificial shelters in snakes: a radiotelemetric study of two sympatric colubrids. Journal of Thermal Biology 35: 324331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lillywhite, H.B. (1987) Temperature, energetics and physiological ecology. In: Snakes, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, ed. Seigel, R.A., Collins, J.T. & Novak, S.S., pp. 422477. New York, NY, USA: Macmillan.Google Scholar
Long, G. (1954) Contribution à l'étude de la végétation de la Tunisie centrale. Annales du Service de Botanique et d'Agriculture de Tunisie 27: 72176.Google Scholar
Louzizi, T. (2006) Organisation temporelle du comportement de thermorégulation chez la tortue mauresque (Testudo graeca graeca L. 1758) dans un milieu aride et dégradé: implication en terme de conservation. Mémoire du DESA, Université Cadi Ayyad, Faculté des Sciences Semlalia, Marrakech, Maroc: 60 pp.Google Scholar
Mader, , (2003) L'avocatier, le chérimolier, le kaki, le jujubier. Ministère de L'agriculture et du Développement Rural, transfert de technologie en agriculture, Bulletin mensuel d'information et de liaison du PNTTA 108, Rabat, Maroc: 4 pp.Google Scholar
Mamva, , (1996) Résultats de l'enquête nationale sur les terres agricoles soumises à l'érosion. Ministère de l'Agriculture et de la Mise en Valeur Agricole, Rabat, Maroc.Google Scholar
McGregor, H.V., Dupont, L., Stuut, J.B.W. & Kuhlmann, H. (2009) Vegetation change, goats, and religion: a 2000-year history of land use in southern Morocco. Quaternary Science Reviews 28: 14341448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McGinnis, S.M. & Voigt, W.G. (1971) Thermoregulation in the desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 40A: 199–126.Google Scholar
McMaster, M.K. & Downs, C.T. (2006) Do seasonal and behavioral differences in the use of refuges by the leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis) favor passive thermoregulation? Herpetologica 62: 3746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Médail, F. & Quézel, P. (1999) Biodiversity hotspots in the Mediterranean basin: setting global conservation priorities. Conservation Biology 13: 15101513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Milchunas, D.G. & Lauenroth, W.K. (1993) Quantitative effects of grazing on vegetation and soils over a global range of environments. Ecological Monograph 63: 327–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Myers, N., Mittermeier, R.A., Mittermeier, C.G., Da Fonseca, G.A.B. & Kent, J. (2000) Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403: 853858.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
O'Connor, M.P., Zimmerman, L.C., Ruby, D.E., Bulova, S. & Spotila, J.R. (1994) Home range size and movements of desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii). Herpetological Monographs 8: 6071.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Peterson, C.R., Gibson, A.R. & Dorcas, M.E. (1993) Snake thermal ecology: the causes and consequences of body-temperature variation. In: Snakes Ecology and Behavior, ed. Seigel, R.A. & Collins, J.T., pp. 241314. USA: McGraw-Hill, Inc.Google Scholar
Pimm, S.L. & Raven, P. (2000) Biodiversity: extinction by numbers. Nature 403: 843845.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pleguezuelos, J.M., Brito, J.C., Fahd, S., Feriche, M., Mateo, J.A., Moreno-Rueda, G., Reques, R. & Santos, X. (2010) Setting conservation priorities for the Moroccan herpetofauna: the utility of regional red lists. Oryx 44: 501508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Porter, W.P., Mitchell, J.W., Beckman, W.A. & DeWitt, C.B. (1973) Behavioral implications of mechanistic ecology: thermal and behavioral modeling of desert ectotherms and their microenvironments. Oecologia 13: 154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pringle, R.M., Syfert, M., Webb, J.K. & Shine, R. (2009) Quantifying historical changes in habitat availability for endangered species: use of pixel- and object-based remote sensing. Journal of Applied Ecology 46: 544553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
PNTTA (2002) La lutte chimique contre le jujubier. Bulletin Mensuel de Liaison et d'Information du PNTTA, MADREF/DERDlN 94, l Juillet 2002, Rabat, Maroc: 4 pp.Google Scholar
Regehr, D.L. & El Brahli, A. (1995) Wild jujube (Ziziphus lotus) control in Morocco. Weed Technology 9: 326330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rsaissi, N. & Bouhache, M. (2002) La lute chimique contre le jujubier. Ministère de L'agriculture et du Développement Rural, transfert de technologie en agriculture. Bulletin mensuel d'information et de liaison du PNTTA 94, Rabat, Maroc: 4 pp.Google Scholar
Sereau, M., Lagarde, F., Bonnet, X., El Mouden, E.H., Slimani, T., Dubroca, L., Trouvé, C., Dano, S. & Lacroix, A. (2010). Does testosterone influence activity budget in the male Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca graeca)? General and Comparative Endocrinology 167: 181189.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Scott, D.M., Brown, D., Mahood, S., Denton, B., Silburn, A. & Rakotondraparany, F. (2006) The impacts of forest clearance on lizard, small mammal and bird communities in the arid spiny forest, southern Madagascar. Biological Conservation 127: 7287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Slimani, T., Ben Kaddour, K. & Devaux, B. (2001) Situation de Testudo graeca au Maroc. La Tortue 53: 4647.Google Scholar
Slimani, T., El Mouden, E.H., Ben Kaddour, K., Lagarde, F. & Bonnet, X. (2006) Ecological characteristics and habitat status of the spur-thighed Testudo graeca graeca in an arid area of Morocco: implications for conservation. Chelonii 4: 8386.Google Scholar
Stevenson, R.D. (1985) The relative importance of behavioral and physiological adjustments controlling body temperature in terrestrial ectotherms. The American Naturalist 126: 362386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Taïbi, A.N. & El Hannani, M. (2004) Identification et suivi des processus de la dégradation du milieu dans le bassin de l'oued Dadès (Maroc) par télédétection satellitaire et aérienne. Télédétection 4: 6373.Google Scholar
Tripathi, G., Kumari, R. & Sharma, B.M. (2007) Mesofaunal biodiversity and its importance in Thar desert. Journal of Environmental Biology 28: 503515.Google ScholarPubMed
Vickers, M., Manicom, C. & Schwarzkopf, L. (2011) Extending of the cost-benefit model of thermoregulation: high temperature environments. The American Naturalist 177: 452461.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Webb, G.J. & Witten, G.J. (1973) Critical thermal maxima of turtles, validity of body temperature. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 45: 829832.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Webb, J.K. & Shine, R. (1997) Out on a limb: conservation implications of tree-hollow use by a threatened snake species (Hoplocephalus bungaroides: Serpentes, Elapidae). Biological Conservation 81: 2133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar