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Journal Article

Food Habits of an Assemblage of Five Species of Turtles in the Rio Guapore, Rondonia, Brazil

Augusto Fachin Teran, Richard C. Vogt and Maria de Fatima Soares Gomez
Journal of Herpetology
Vol. 29, No. 4 (Dec., 1995), pp. 536-547
DOI: 10.2307/1564736
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1564736
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Food Habits of an Assemblage of Five Species of Turtles in the Rio Guapore, Rondonia, Brazil
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Abstract

The feeding habits of five species of turtles were studied from June-November 1989 and March-June 1990 in the Guapore River and its tributaries (San Domingos and San Miguel) in Costa Marques, Rondonia, Brazil. Turtles were captured using unbaited fyke nets. Stomach contents were flushed from Podocnemis unifilis (N = 351), Podocnemis expansa (N = 3), Phrynops geoffroanus (N = 31), Phrynops raniceps (N = 5), and Chelus fimbriatus (N = 5). We found no seasonal differences in food consumed by P. unifilis; however, differences were found between the sexes. Females consumed more seeds and fruits, whereas males consumed more shoots and stems. Consumption of seeds and fruits increased linearly as a function of the mean carapace length of P. unifilis, whereas the consumption of fish eaten decreased with increase in mean CL. Seeds and fruits were consumed at higher frequency and volume in flooded forest than in lakes and rivers. We found no difference in types of food consumed between habitats or sexes in P. geoffroanus. Adult Gerridae, Libellulidae larvae, and crustaceans of the family Palaemonidae occurred in high numbers in the stomach contents of P. geoffroanus when water levels were falling, whereas only fruits of Myrtaceae and Sapotaceae were found during the season of rising water levels. Podocnemis expansa consumed primarily plant material, and P. raniceps fed predominantly on Gastropods. Chelus fed on the fish Crenicichla (Cichlidae) and Triportheus (Characidae). /// La alimentacion de cinco especies de quelonios fue estudiada de Junio-Noviembre de 1989 y de Marzo-Junio de 1990, en el Rio Guapore y sus tributarios San Domingos y San Miguel, en Costa Marques, Rondonia, Brasil. Las tortugas fueron capturadas con trampas sin cebo. Los contenidos estomacales fueron obtenidos mediante lavado con agua en Podocnemis unifilis (N = 351), Podocnemis expansa (N = 3), Phrynops geoffroanus (N = 31), Phrynops raniceps (N = 5), y Chelus fimbriatus (N = 5). No se encontraron variaciones estacionales en la alimentacion de P. unifilis, pero si se encontraron diferencias en la alimentacion entre los machos y las hembras. Las semillas y frutos fueron consumidos mas por las hembras, mientras que los tallos y los brotes mas por los machos. Se observo un aumento en el consumo de las semillas y los fruitos en funcion del tamano de las tortugas. El volumen de peces consumidos diminuyo con el tamano de las tortugas. Las semillas y los frutas fueron consumidas mas en la selva inundada que en los lagos o en el rio. No se encontraron diferencias en la alimentacion entre los sexos o entre los tipos de habitats en P. geoffroanus. Los adultos de Gerridae, las larvae de Libellulidae, y los crustaceos (Palaemonidae) se encontraron en altos numeros en los contenidos estomacales de P. geoffroanus durante la epoca seca, sin embargo en la epoca lluviosa, solamente encontramos semillas y frutos de Myrtaceae y Sapotaceae. Podocnemis expansa se alimento principalmente de materia vegetal, mientras que P. raniceps consumio predominantemente Gastropodos. Chelus alimento de peces del genero Crenicichla (Cichlidae) y Triportheus (Characidae).

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