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Sexual dimorphism, deformations, and epibionts of Phrynops tuberosus(Testudines, Chelidae)

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For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Netherlands Journal of Zoology (Vol 18-52).

Studies focusing on the natural history of species are essential for developing effective conservation measures and evaluating ecological hypotheses. To this end, we describe natural history data of the Cotinga River toadhead turtle, Phrynops tuberosus, in the Banabuiú River in Ceará, Brazil, and evaluated sexual dimorphism, epibionts, and mutilation effects. We hand-captured 134 individuals by snorkeling, over a period of one year, resulting in the capture of 94 males, 24 females, and 16 juveniles. Females had larger head width and body mass than males, while males had longer tail length. One quarter of the turtles captured had some sort of injury or deformation, most common injuries being missing claws, mutilations, and shell deformations. We found no difference in body condition index between mutilated and non-mutilated animals. Mollusks, insects, and leeches were found as epibionts on P. tuberosusand most of the captured turtles had extensive algal cover. Future studies should focus on understanding the effect of mutilations on animal fitness and reproductive success.

10.1163/15707563-00002480
/content/journals/10.1163/15707563-00002480
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2015-11-23
2017-11-24

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