Title

The Spring-Summer Nesting and Activity Patterns of the Western Chicken Turtle (Deirochelys reticularia miaria)

Abstract

The Eastern and Florida Chicken Turtle subspecies (Deirochelys reticularia reticularia and D. r. chrysea) exhibit nesting cycles that are atypical for aquatic North American turtles, with nesting occurring in the fall, winter, and early spring. The reproductive cycles of the western subspecies (D. r. miaria), however, have not been studied. Therefore, we monitored the reproductive status of female D. r. miaria in 2012 and 2013. In our populations, both male and female D. r. miaria were inactive on land from mid-July to mid-March. This differs from the activity patterns of the other subspecies in which females typically remain active into the fall and sometimes winter. Also, in contrast to the nesting patterns of D. r. reticularia and D. r. chrysea, female D. r. miaria developed follicles in the spring and summer (March-July) and contained eggs in the summer (May-July). Therefore, we conclude that the Western Chicken Turtle exhibits a nesting pattern that is more similar to that of other sympatric species in the family Emydidae than it is to other subspecies of D. reticularia.

Department(s)

Biology

Document Type

Article

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1643/CE-15-262

Publication Date

12-1-2015

Journal Title

Copeia

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