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Reproductive aspects of the Chocoan River turtle (Rhinoclemmys nasuta, Geoemydidae) along the Colombian Pacific coast

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We collected data on several aspects of the reproductive biology of the Chocoan River Turtle (Rhinoclemmys nasuta) as part of a long-term demographic study (2005-2015), along the Pacific coast of the department of Valle del Cauca in Colombia. We palpated 659 females and found 77 gravid, with two peaks in the proportion of females gravid, one between May and June, and another from October to December; there was a significant correlation between the monthly proportion gravid and the monthly amount of precipitation (Spearman rank correlation rs=0.60, P<0.05). We obtained 13 eggs (mean length = 63.8 mm, mean width = 35.4 mm, mean weight = 45.8 g). Using egg volume as a general indicator of size, there was no significant relationship with female size. To induce oviposition, oxytocin, prostaglandin, or a combination of the two was injected into 37 gravid females with a success rate of 48.6%. We determined the duration of incubation for two individuals as 133 and 135 days. With this information, we fill some gaps in the knowledge of reproductive ecology of this species; however, the sample size is very low and primarily comes from a single insular population and therefore it is important to continue studies on aspects of reproductive ecology such as those evaluated in this study and other topics like sex determination.

Affiliations: 1: 1Universidad del Valle, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Exactas, Departamento de Biología, Sección de Zoología, Grupo de Investigación en Ecología Animal. A.A. 25360 Cali, Colombia ; 2: 2Department of Biology and Museum of Natural History, University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, Louisiana, 71209-0520, USA

*Corresponding author; e-mail: carr@ulm.edu
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2017-10-23

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