The ecology of the world's smallest tortoise, homopus signatus signatus: effects of rainfall
Loehr, Victor J.T.
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Tortoises appear to be successful in arid ecosystems, where they depend on primary production for their predominantly herbivorous diets. The low primary production of arid regions is exacerbated by priodic droughts, so that iteroparous species such as chelonians require mechanisms to overcome resource shortages. The smallest of all tortoises, Homopus signatus signatus, occurs in a dry winter rainfall area in northwestern South Africa that is threatened with aridification due to regional climate change. The overall aim of this study is to understand the ecology of H. s. signatus, particularly in reference to the importance of rainfall.