The Central American River Turtle (Dermatemys mawii) is an endangered species that has been poorly studied. There are no reports on their population status, habitat condition, and the species distribution area is still unknown. This study analyzes the seasonal and spatial variations of their habitat and the presence/absence of D. mawii in three rivers within the Pantanos de Centla Biosphere Reserve (Tabasco, Mexico). For habitat characterization, natural segmentation of rivers was used and three sites per segment were identified, 9 in each rivers (Grijalva and Usumacinta) and 6 in Tabasquillo. Additionally, the evaluation of 11 environmental variables such as water hydrological, physico-chemical characteristics and riparian and hydrophytic vegetation were carried out during two different seasons (dry and rainy). The presence/absence of species was assessed with eight fike nets that were set per segment, with a capture effort of 384 hours per trap. The capture per unit effort (CPUE) was used as an indicator of rela-tive abundance. The results indicated spatio-temporal variations in habitat characteristics and the presence of environmental gradients. The principal components analysis (PCA) applied allowed us to determine that the first three components explained 67.8% of the environmental variability. The species presence was confirmed in all rivers, however significant differences exists in their relative abundance: the highest was registered in the Tabasquillo River where the species was present in both seasons and in all segments. Of the 11 environmental variables analyzed, the gradient, shelter and depth were the most indicative of species presence. The obtained results evidenced the importance of riparian vegetation as habitat for Dermatemys. This represents the first approach towards an action plan for a species and its habitat protection within the Pantanos de Centla Biosphere Reserve.
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