SREL Reprint #2321




Water Transport by Nesting Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta marginate) in Michigan


1Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, South Carolina 29802 USA;
2Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia , 30602 USA [E-mail:];
3Juniata College, Huntington, Pennsylvania 16652 USA


ABSTRACT.- Gravid female midland painted turtles (Chrysemys picta marginate) transport water to nests and void the water during nest construction and oviposition. We estimated water transported by subtracting clutch mass from the difference of gravid and spent body masses of individual females. Clutch mass was calculated by multiplying clutch size by egg mass estimates derived from the relationship between egg width (measured from X-rays) and egg mass. Females exiting marshes to nest transported an average of 44.7 g (range 24.4-79.1) of water to nests, corresponding to 14% of spent body mass, 11 % of gravid body mass, and exceeding mean clutch mass (x = 37.7 g; range 21.5-61.2). The amount of water transported was positively correlated with female carapace length (r 2 = 0.36, p < 0.001). Females producing two clutches in one year had similar body masses prior to depositing each clutch, and clutch mass was not different between clutches, suggesting that more water is transported with second clutches than with first clutches.

KEY WORDS. - Reptilia; Testudines; Emydidae; Chrysemys picta marginate; turtle; eggs; nesting; reproduction; behavior; water transport; water storage; radiography; Michigan; USA

SREL Reprint #2321

Kinney, O.M., R.D. Nagle, and J.D. Congdon. 1998. Water transport by nesting painted turtles (Chrysemys picta marginata) in Michigan. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3:71-76.

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