The egg characteristics of natural spur-thighed tortoises (Testudo graeca) population in Cappadocia, Central Anatol

Gönül Arslan Akveran, Zafer Ayaş

Abstract


We investigated egg characteristics of natural Testudo graeca population in Nevsehir, Cappadocia in the Central Anatolia during 2013-2015 years. We selected a valley with 42 ha as the study area because of containing the convenient tortoise habitats. We observed tortoises in opportunistic encounters by walking through the habitat in line transects between March and November in study years. Nests were determined incidentally while females were laying eggs between May and July. We removed eggs from the nest carefully on condition putting back in the same place. The length and width of each egg were measured by a digital caliper and the mass of each egg was measured by an electronic balance. SCL (The Straight Carapace Length) and mass of egg-laying females were qualified, too. We calculated egg volume (cm3), relative egg mass (REM), relative clutch mass (RCM), relative egg width (REW), relative egg length (REL) and egg shape index. The clutch size was 2.33±0.49 (range 1-8) with elliptical, spherical or oval albescent eggs. The mean egg shape index and volume were 1.13±0.02 and 18.46±0.78 cm3, respectively. Mean female SCL and mass were 207.48 mm (range: 187.03-240.10 mm) and 1863.10 g (range: 1340-2601 g), respectively. The mean REM, RCM, REL, and REW were calculated as 1.04±0.05%, 2.42±0.74%, 17.24±1.76% and 15.18±0.84% respectively. There was a highly statistically significant positive correlation between female size, and egg width, egg volume, and egg mass. There was a highly statistically significant negative correlation between female size and clutch size. There was a highly statistically significant positive correlation between egg mass, and egg width and egg volume (p<0,001). The data described here extend our knowledge about egg characteristics and activity pattern of natural Testudo graeca population in a new area including convenient habitat for tortoises.


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