Evaluation of maternal investment in eggs and hatchlings of the diamondback terrapin.
EVALUATION OF MATERNAL INVESTMENT IN EGGS AND HATCHLINGS OF THE DIAMONDBACK TERRAPIN. TANDY DOLIN, TAYLOR ROBERGE, ANDREW COLEMAN, KEN MARION, THANE WIBBELS, DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM, BIRMINGHAM, AL 35294.
Several theories have been proposed regarding strategies for maternal investment in offspring. In the case of oviparous reptiles, the number of eggs per clutch and egg size can vary to potentially maximize the mother's reproductive success and hatchling fitness. Many studies have suggested the "optimal egg size" theory in which the mother produces eggs that have the minimal amount of resources necessary to allow for survival of offspring, thus allowing her to produce a maximal number of eggs. As a female grows in size and has more resources available for egg production, she should produce more eggs per clutch, in contrast to bigger eggs. Other studies have suggested an alternative life history strategy, "developmental plasticity". This proposes that females could vary the size of their offspring (or eggs) depending on their specific status and environment conditions in an effort to maximize the number and survival of offspring. In the current study, these theories were examined relative to the reproductive biology of the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin pileata) inhabiting the salt marshes of Alabama. The number of eggs per clutch, size of eggs and hatchlings, and growth rates of hatchlings over a two year period were examined in approximately 10-15 clutches per nesting season over three years of study. The results provide insight on the strategy that the diamondback terrapin utilizes in an attempt to maximize reproductive fitness.
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|Title Annotation:||Biological Sciences Paper Abstracts|
|Publication:||Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science|
|Article Type:||Author abstract|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2014|
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