Changes In Habitat with Subsequent Changes In Diet of the Texas River Cooter in Spring Lake, Hays County, Texas
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A fall-winter food habit study of Texas river cooters (Pseudemys texana) was conducted at Spring Lake, Hays County, Texas, from January 2010 to March 2011. My objectives were to determine current diets of Texas river cooters and the composition of the vegetative community in Spring Lake. I quantified aquatic vegetation in Spring Lake using Daubenmire frames along 26 transects placed across the lake. I captured 45 turtles using dipnets and basking traps and collected 32 stomach contents from flushed and fecal samples. I identified food items in the samples to the lowest possible taxon. To evaluate selective foraging, I compared the availability of aquatic vegetation in Spring Lake to the proportion of each taxon found in the diet in a log-likelihood chi-square analysis with confidence intervals. I calculated Manly’s alpha indices to determine if the turtles foraged selectively. Ninety percent of the diet was composed of four plant taxons including filamentous algae, Cabomba caroliniana, Ceratophyllum demersum, and Myriophyllum spp. Only filamentous algae, C. caroliniana, and watermilfoil species were selected for during the 2011 fall-winter diet. I compared my results to the results of a similar study conducted during October 1996 to March 1997. There was a change in P. texana food habits and availability of food resources since the Seaman et al. (1997) study in Spring Lake.