• Bulté, Grégory
  • Gravel, Marie-Ange
  • Blouin-Demers, Gabriel


Sexual dimorphism in body size and in trophic morphology are common in animals and are often concordant with patterns of habitat use and diet. Proximate factors leading to intersexual differences in habitat use, however, are challenging to unravel because these differences may stem from sexual dimorphism or may be caused by intersexual competition. Intersexual differences in diet and habitat use are common in size dimorphic reptiles. In this study, we investigated factors contributing to intersexual differences in diet and habitat use in a population of northern map turtles (Graptemys geographica (Le Sueur, 1817)) from Ontario, Canada. Using radiotelemetry, we showed that in a lake map turtles do not exhibit intersexual differences in habitat use, in contrast to river populations. Patterns of habitat use were also inconsistent with prey distribution. The lack of intersexual habitat use differences in our lake population, despite marked differences in prey distribution, also indicated that intersexual habitat use differences documented in river populations are a consequence of sexual dimorphism in swimming capacity. Using stable isotope analysis and fecal analysis, we found a large dietary overlap between males and females, indicating no intersexual competition for food. Patterns of prey selection in females, however, were concordant with the reproductive role hypothesis.