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Reproductive Investment and Optimum Clutch Size of Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta)
Graeme C. Hays and John R. Speakman
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 60, No. 2 (Jun., 1991), pp. 455-462
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/5290
Page Count: 8
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(1) Data for loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta L.) nesting on the Greek island of Cephalonia were used to develop a model which predicted the optimum clutch size. (2) There was a positive linear relationship between the number of clutches into which eggs could be divided and the total time spent by a nesting turtle on the beach, and hence a negative relationship between the time invested on the beach per egg and clutch size. (3) A previous study indicated that energy expenditure for nesting turtles on land is very high, so there may be a selective pressure to maximize clutch size in order to minimize the energy expended per egg laid. As there appeared to be no counter-selective pressures favouring small clutches, clutch size should be constrained by a female's egg-carrying capacity, which in turn could be expected to be related to her body size. Hence, a positive relationship between clutch size and body size was predicted, and was found in the population under study.
Journal of Animal Ecology © 1991 British Ecological Society