Phenology and population structure of the Mediterranean stripe-necked terrapin <em>Mauremys leprosa</em> (Schweigger, 1812) in the Reghaïa Lake (northern Algeria)
The Mediterranean stripe-necked terrapin is a freshwater turtle widely distributed in southwestern Europe and northwestern Africa, but whose natural history is little known. In this study we investigated the ecology of a population in northern Algeria (Reghaïa Lake Ramsar Reserve), with special emphasis on its phenology, demographic structure and diet, based on capture and recapture methods. Our results indicated that there is a short inactivity period in January and possibly the activity is also reduced during the month of August. The best Jolly-Seber model indicated that the population within the survey station had a minimum size of 653 specimens. The population contained a higher proportion of males (0.68 - 0.76) and a proportion of juveniles between 0.02 - 0.16. Females were larger and relatively heavier than males. Analysis of stomach contents showed that M. leprosa feeds with high frequency on aquatic arthropods. Specifically, we found insects: Diptera (Chironomidae, Culicidae, Dixidae, Syrphidae), Heteroptera (Corixidae, Notonectidae) and Coleoptera (Dytiscidae), crustaceans (Branchiopoda, Ostracoda), plant matter (Typha angustifolia), fish (Gambusia holbrooki), and unidentified materials.