SREL Reprint #0805

 

 

 

Regional endothermy in the sea turtle, Chelonia mydas

 

Edward A. Standora*

and

James R. Spotila and Robert E. Foley

 

University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Aiken, SC 29801, U.S.A.

Department of Biology, State University College at Buffalo, 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222, U.S.A.

 


Abstract
1. The green turtle, Chelonia mydas, exhibits a unique combination of thermoregulatory adaptations. Temperature data obtained by mutlichannel telemetry indicate that it is a regional endotherm.

2. A turtle swimming vigorously had a body temperature (pectoral region) of 37.1°C in water at 29.1°C. Inactive adults are 1–2°C above water temperatures.

3. Temperatures telemetered from other parts of the body of swimming turtles and temperatures of resting individuals suggest that only the active tissues, and not the entire body, are at an elevated temperature.

4. Heat is retained in the active tissues due to large body size and insulatory properties of the shell.

5. Warm pectoral muscles (7°C above water temprature) probably increase this turtle's swimming ability and may facilitate its long-distance migrations.

 

Author Keywords: Chelonia mydas; thermoregulation; biotelemetry; regional endothermy; sea turtles

 

* Present address: Department of Biology, State University College at Buffalo, 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222, U.S.A.

 

SREL Reprint #0805 

 

Standora, E.A., J.R. Spotila, and R.E. Foley. 1982. Regional endothermy in the sea turtle, Chelonia mydas. Journal of Thermal Biology 7:159-165.

 

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