Understanding why turtles select specific localities to nest over others is important for management and conservation. For some species of freshwater turtle, the same localities are selected year upon year, but it is uncertain whether these localities are selected due to favored environmental conditions, or natal-site homing. The Mary River Turtle (Elusor macrurus) is an endangered freshwater species from Australia, and nesting data gathered between 2004 and 2011 demonstrated that female E. macrurus select to nest in specific localities along the Mary River. Here, we used time-lapse infrared photography and image-identification analysis to assess whether the same individuals returned to the same nesting banks over three consecutive years (nest-site fidelity), and we compared the physical and soil characteristics of nesting areas against other localities along the river where the turtles were not recorded to nest. The photography study illustrated that some females returned to nest at the same locality over consecutive years, whereas others did not; therefore, it is still inconclusive whether E. macrurus exhibits true nest-site fidelity. Preferred nesting areas were all northerly facing and thus exposed to higher levels of solar radiation than nonpreferred areas with similar soil and physical characteristics. Consequently, the preferred nesting areas exhibited significantly greater mean and daily fluctuations in the nest temperature compared with other areas with dummy nests. We suggest that the warmer nest temperature would speed up embryo development; therefore, female E. macrurus select to nest on northerly facing banks in an attempt to reduce the embryo incubation period. A possible reason for this behavior may be to reduce their exposure to nest-raiding predators. The study highlights importance of key nesting areas along the Mary River for the conservation of E. macrurus.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 69 • No. 4