SREL Reprint #0570




Selected Aspects of the Ecology of the Chicken Turtle, Deirochelys reticularia (Latreilla) (Reptilia, Testudines, Emydidae)

J. 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.

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