The relationship between egg size and composition (relative amounts of lipid, protein, and water) can play an important role in determining neonate size, quality, or the amount of post-hatching care observed in many reptiles. We evaluated the relationship among egg wet mass, non-polar lipid mass, water content, shell dry mass, and lean dry mass within and among seven clutches of the Diamondback Terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin, from Chesapeake Bay. Egg size varied considerably among clutches, but was relatively uniform within clutches. Non-polar lipid mass, lean dry mass, and water content correlated positively with egg wet mass indicating that larger eggs contain a proportionally greater amount of these components. There was no relationship between egg wet mass and shell dry mass. Clutches had similar, positive slopes but different intercepts in the relationships between lean dry mass and lipid mass and between water content and total dry mass. Thus, clutches differed in the relative proportions of resources but had similar allocation patterns of egg components. Our data cannot resolve whether these effects are due to differences in resource availability or differences in the physiological mechanisms involved in egg provisioning.
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Vol. 2005 • No. 2