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Underwater nesting by the Australian freshwater turtle Chelodina rugosa: effect of prolonged immersion and eggshell thickness on incubation period, egg survivorship, and hatching size

Kennett, Rod M., Christian, Keith A. and Bedford, Gavin S. (1998). Underwater nesting by the Australian freshwater turtle Chelodina rugosa: effect of prolonged immersion and eggshell thickness on incubation period, egg survivorship, and hatching size. Canadian Journal of Zoology,76(6):1019-1023.

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Title Underwater nesting by the Australian freshwater turtle Chelodina rugosa: effect of prolonged immersion and eggshell thickness on incubation period, egg survivorship, and hatching size
Author Kennett, Rod M.
Christian, Keith A.
Bedford, Gavin S.
Journal Name Canadian Journal of Zoology
Publication Date 1998
Volume Number 76
Issue Number 6
ISSN 0008-4301   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 1019
End Page 1023
Place of Publication Ottawa, Canada
Publisher NRC Research Press
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract The northern long-necked turtle, Chelodina rugosa, occupies seasonally ephemeral freshwater wetlands in thewet–dry tropics of northern Australia. The species has a highly unusual nesting strategy in that nesting takes place under waterwhen wetland habitats are flooded. Embryonic development proceeds when floodwaters recede during the annual dry seasonand hatchling emergence coincides with the start of the following wet season. This study examined the influence of duration ofimmersion of eggs on hatchling size and hatching success under laboratory conditions. Prolonged immersion of eggs in waterresults in smaller hatchlings and shorter incubation times, but does not increase egg mortality during incubation. Leaching ofcalcium from the eggshell, resulting in reduced availability of calcium to the developing embryo, may explain the smallerhatchlings and shorter incubation period. Hatchlings from thin-shelled eggs, in which shell formation was incomplete, weresmaller and hatched sooner, indicating that the eggshell plays a role in determining hatchling size and incubation period.Thin-shelled and normal eggs had equivalent egg survivorship, indicating that the eggshell is unimportant in egg survivalduring immersion.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjz-76-6-1019   (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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