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Salinity of the coastal nesting environment and its association with body size in the estuarine pig-nosed turtle

Eisemberg, Carla C., Rose, M., Yaru, B., Amepou, Y. and Georges, Arthur (2015). Salinity of the coastal nesting environment and its association with body size in the estuarine pig-nosed turtle. Journal of Zoology,295(1):65-74.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 84376995xPUB91
Title Salinity of the coastal nesting environment and its association with body size in the estuarine pig-nosed turtle
Author Eisemberg, Carla C.
Rose, M.
Yaru, B.
Amepou, Y.
Georges, Arthur
Journal Name Journal of Zoology
Publication Date 2015
Volume Number 295
Issue Number 1
ISSN 0952-8369   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84921878607
Start Page 65
End Page 74
Total Pages 10
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Field of Research 0608 - Zoology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Extant estuarine and freshwater animals show a variety of adaptations to marine life, which could reflect transitional stages in a gradual evolution from freshwater to the sea. Our aim was to identify the temporal and spatial environment associated with pig-nosed turtles Carettochelys insculpta coastal nesting in the Kikori Region, Papua New Guinea (PNG). We also related the use of coastal areas with size within and among different populations of C. insculpta and species of the superfamily Trionychoidea. Throughout its range, C. insculpta nests during the drier months when suitable sandbanks are exposed. In PNG, rainfall in the drier season dilutes salinities and C. insculpta nests in coastal sandbanks. In Australia, high salinities prevail in the river mouths during the nesting season and no coastal use is observed. Trends toward a larger body size in coastal areas suggest that size is an important factor to explore coastal environments. It is unlikely that female C. insculpta with less than 50 cm (curve carapace length) would be able to cope with the Kikori coastal environment. Expanding this trend to its superfamily Trionychoidea, only species larger than 37 cm (leathery carapace length) explore coastal environments. As the Australian coast is not suitable for nesting, the selection for larger body sizes was probably relieved. Of course, the reverse could be true, but our study provides an example of the caution required when placing evolutionary interpretations on life-history traits whose manifestation is studied only within a restricted portion of a species range.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jzo.12179   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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