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Effect of Water Temperature and Oxygen Levels on the Diving Behavior of Two Freshwater Turtles: Rheodytes leukops and Emydura macquarii

Toni E. Priest and Craig E. Franklin
Journal of Herpetology
Vol. 36, No. 4 (Dec., 2002), pp. 555-561
DOI: 10.2307/1565924
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1565924
Page Count: 7
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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.
Effect of Water Temperature and Oxygen Levels on the Diving Behavior of Two Freshwater Turtles: Rheodytes leukops and Emydura macquarii
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Abstract

Rheodytes leukops is a bimodally respiring turtle that extracts oxygen from the water chiefly via two enlarged cloacal bursae that are lined with multi-branching papillae. The diving performance of R. leukops was compared to that of Emydura macquarii, a turtle with a limited ability to acquire aquatic oxygen. The diving performance of the turtles was compared under aquatic anoxia (0 mmHg), hypoxia (80 mmHg) and normoxia (155 mmHg) at 15, 23, and 30°C. When averaged across all temperatures the dive duration of R. leukops more than doubled from 22.4 ± 7.65 min under anoxia to 49.8 ± 19.29 min under normoxic conditions. In contrast, aquatic oxygen level had no effect on the dive duration of E. macquarii. Dive times for both species were significantly longer at the cooler temperature, and the longest dive recorded for each species was 538 min and 166 min for R. leukops and E. macquarii, respectively. Both species displayed a pattern of many short dives punctuated by occasional long dives irrespective of temperature or oxygen regime. Rheodytes leukops, on average, spent significantly less time (42 ± 2 sec) at the surface per surfacing event than did E. macquarii (106 ± 20 sec); however, surface times for both species were not related to either water temperature or oxygen level.

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