Abstract

Turtle carapaces clearly function as antipredator adaptations, but their varied structure has rarely been matched to differential predation pressure in nature. In addition, the role of antipredator behaviors, and how they interact with morphological defenses in turtles, is poorly understood. Here we show that a small turtle, Pelusios subniger, is found predominately in pools and watercourses where the Nile crocodile, Crocodylus niloticus, a species that imposes intense predation pressure on them, is absent. Our ecological data are consistent with the interpretation that P. subniger can share the same ecological landscape with C. niloticus through behavioral avoidance.

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