Growth, Diet, and Reproduction of the Red-Eared Slider (Trachemys Scripta) Inhabiting a Reservoir Receiving a Cold Effluent

Date of Graduation

Fall 1993


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Don Moll


Red eared sliders, Trachemys scripta, were collected from two habitats at Lake Taneycomo from April 1992 to July 1993. One site was a hypothermic cove near Rockaway Beach, Missouri, and the second site was a normothermic cove in a tributary of Lake Taneycomo known as Bull Creek. The diets of adult sliders were similar and primarily consisted of green algae (Spirogyra sp.). Using plastral annuli, juvenile growth rates were modeled with regression analysis. Analysis of covariance showed that the juvenile growth rates for the two areas were significantly different (P < .0001). In the normothermic area, plastron length ranged from 102.4mm to 210.0mm (mean = 166.8) for mature males and from 174.0mm to 239.8mm (mean = 204.3) for adult females. In the hypothermic area plastron length ranged from 102.3 to 225.4 (mean = 163.2) for adult males and from 177.6 to 240.1 (mean = 207.0) for mature females. No significant differences in mean adult body sizes between the two habitats were found (P > 0.05). Sliders in both habitats matured at similar sizes, but at different ages. Age at maturity in the hypothermic area was 13-14 years for females and 7-8 years for males. Age at maturity in the normothermic area was 7-8 years for females and 4-5 years for males. The mean annual reproductive potential was 22.18 for sliders inhabiting the normothermic area and 27.39 for the hypothermic area. The estimated mean clutch size was 14.7 for sliders in the hypothermic area and 13.8 for the normothermic area. The mean egg mass index was 0.725 for sliders inhabiting the hypothermic area and 0.761 in the normothermic habitat. The mean relative clutch mass (RCM) was 0.096 for sliders inhabiting the normothermic site and 0.091 for sliders inhabiting the hypothermic area. No significant differences in annual reproduction potential, relative clutch mass, or egg mass index were found between the two sites (P .> 0.05).

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© R. Brent Thomas