|SREL Reprint #0570|
Aspects of the Ecology of the Chicken Turtle, Deirochelys reticularia
(Latreilla) (Reptilia, Testudines, Emydidae)
Whitfield Gibbons and Judith L. Greene
Mark-release-recapture data were collected over a
9-year period on a population of the chicken turtle (Deirochelys reticularia)
in South Carolina. The capture of
more than 350 individuals provided data on growth rates, reproduction, size
structure, and terrestrial activity. Juveniles
grew more rapidly than adults, as expected, and adult growth rate appeared to
diminish at larger sizes. Some
individuals did not grow for periods of 1 to 2 years.
Females with eggs were captured in early spring each year as soon as
temperatures were consistently warm. None
of the few captured during the summer had oviducal eggs; however, nine females
with eggs left the aquatic area in early fall.
The population size structure of adult females in 1967-70 was not
appreciably different from that in 1975-76.
The only consistent pattern in terrestrial activity between years was
that females emerged for egg-laying in spring and fall and hatchlings entered
the water in the spring. Inconsistencies
between the present terrestrial activity data and those of a previous study are
attributed to habitat features which vary annually.
SREL Reprint #0570
Gibbons, J.W. and J.L. Greene. 1978. Selected aspects of the ecology of the chicken turtle, Deirochelys reticularia (Latreille) (Reptilia, Testudines, Emydidae). Journal of Herpetology 12:237-241.