|SREL Reprint #1893|
Seasonal Variation in Clutch Size of the Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea
ANTON D. TUCKER1,2 AND NAT B. FRAZER2,3
Clutch size in sea turtles is generally reported in one of three manners. It is most
often averaged over one or several nesting seasons (see Hirth, 1980 for review).
However, clutch sizes may vary appreciably for iteroparous species that can
deposit as many as 11 clutches a season, and patterns of variability are obscured
by reporting only seasonal means. Clutch size trends are also documented by
either following nesting histories of individual turtles or by comparing clutches
chronologically, irrespective of the individuals that laid them (Frazer and
Richardson, 1985a). Subsequent comparisons among studies are then
confounded by the different methods first employed to ascertain the patterns.
Thus, some authors report decreasing clutch sizes during the nesting season
(Caldwell, 1959; Carr and Hirth, 1962; LeBuff and Beatty, 1971, Pritchard,
1971; Davis and Whiting, 1977; Marquez et al., 1982; Frazer and Richardson,
1985a; Mortimer and Carr, 1987), others report an increase (Kaufman, 1975;
Bjorndal and Carr, 1989),while others report no significant change in either
direction (Ehrhart, 1982).
SREL Reprint #1893
Tucker, A.D. and N.B. Frazer. 1994. Seasonal variation in clutch size of the turtle, Dermochelys coriacea. Journal of Herpetology 28:102-109.