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Reproductive Energetics of the Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)

Justin D. Congdon and Donald W. Tinkle
Herpetologica
Vol. 38, No. 1, Reproductive Biology of Reptiles (Mar., 1982), pp. 228-237
Published by: Allen Press on behalf of the Herpetologists' League
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3892376
Page Count: 10
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Reproductive Energetics of the Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
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Abstract

Only 50-70% of the female Chrysemys picta in southern Michigan reproduce every year, and approximately 10% produce two clutches in a season. Energy allocation to the largest class of follicles begins at least 10 months prior to egg laying. The average female enters brumation with half of the 222 kJ of an average clutch already in follicles that are approximately 14 mm in diameter. Between emergence in the spring and egg laying, stored body lipids may supply the remaining 50% of the energy required to complete the clutch. The average clutch in the population is 7.6 eggs. Egg material of the painted turtle is high in energy ($26.43\ {\rm J}\ {\rm mg}^{-1}$ dry mass), and each egg contains 29.2 kJ. Egg lipids average 22.3% of the total dry mass and 28.2% of the dry mass of eggs without shells. Hatchlings are 20.7 percent lipid by mass. During development 38% of the total egg lipids are utilized while 62% remain in the hatchling to be utilized as fuel for maintenance and possibly for early growth. Egg size is positively related to body size of the female. Indirect evidence indicates that design constraints on the pelvic girdle may limit maximum egg size at a given body size. Levels of stored body lipids are more variable than reproductive output, indicating that painted turtles may fit the "bet hedging" reproductive tactic.

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