Ecology of the Tropical Freshwater Turtle Rhinoclemmy's Funerea in Caribbean Costa Rica
Date of Graduation
Master of Science in Biology
The black river turtle, Rhinoclemmys funerea, has a small, strictly neotropical distribution from the Isthmus of Panama northward along the Caribbean drainage to southern Honduras. Ecological studies of this species were conducted at Tortuguero, Costa Rica from 1990 to 1992. Adult R. funerea were the dominant aquatic turtle and occupied lotic habitats ranging from clearcut areas with abundant aquatic vegetation to primary rainforest devoid of aquatic vegetation, while juveniles were terrestrial forest dwellers. Food habits were almost totally herbivorous and included both aquatic and terrestrial plants. Observational and biotelemetry data indicated frequent migrations to land in late afternoon and evening to forage for terrestrial vegetation and fallen fruits. Reproductive data suggested one nesting season from May through at least June. Eggs per clutch ranged from two to four and has an average measurement of 68.8 X 32.6 mm. The population at Tortuguero was characterized by males outnumbering females (1.87:1) and males being the larger sex.
© Kevin P Jansen
Jansen, Kevin P., "Ecology of the Tropical Freshwater Turtle Rhinoclemmy's Funerea in Caribbean Costa Rica" (1993). MSU Graduate Theses. 56.