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An analysis of courtship behaviour in the four-eyed spotted turtle, Sacalia quadriocellata (Reptilia: Testudines: Geoemydidae)

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A total of 168 courtship sequences from 12 male and 18 female adult captive Sacalia quadriocellata were recorded on video. Thirty male and four female discrete motor patterns were defined and described. The behavioural sequences were summarized in an intra-individual dyadic transition matrix and analyzed using chi-square and kappa analyses. Courtship behaviour models and a flow diagram were constructed for this species. The male display patterns involved tactical and visual signals to induce female receptivity to mating. In response, females may emit olfactory signals for gender recognition. Female rejection of male suitors resulted in a male success rate of 4.17%. Only seven copulations were observed. Copulation only occurred when a female became quiescent and relaxed her tail for coition.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Hainan Normal University, Haikou, 571158, P. R. China; 2: Department of Biology, Hainan Normal University, Haikou, 571158, P. R. China, Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 9 Section 4, Renmin Nan Road, 610041 Chengdu, Sichuan Province, P. R. China;, Email:; 3: Department of Biology, Hainan Normal University, Haikou, 571158, P. R. China, Department of Natural History, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen's Park, Toronto, ON Canada M5S 2C6;, Email:; 4: Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Department of Integrative Biology, 3060 Valley Life Sciences Bldg, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3140, USA


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