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TEMPERATURE SELECTION BY HATCHLING AND YEARLING FLORIDA RED-BELLIED TURTLES (PSEUDEMYS NELSONI) IN THERMAL GRADIENTS
Nebeker, A V. AND R. B. Bury. TEMPERATURE SELECTION BY HATCHLING AND YEARLING FLORIDA RED-BELLIED TURTLES (PSEUDEMYS NELSONI) IN THERMAL GRADIENTS. JOURNAL OF HERPETOLOGY. Society for the Study of Amphibians & Reptiles, Salt Lake City, UT, 34(3):465-469.
We tested hatchling and yearling Florida red-bellied turtles (Pseudemys nelsoni) in laboratory thermal gradient chambers to determine if they would prefer particular temperatures. Most 1995 hatchlings selected the highest temperature zone of 27degrees C (Test 1) and 30 degrees C (Test 2) in the gradient. Yearlings (1995 turtles one year later) had more turtles in the highest temperature zone of 33 degrees C. A second group of hatchlings (1996) a year later were tested in the square 6-channeled box used for the above tests, and a round 12-channeled (6 duplicate temperatures) chamber. Significantly higher numbers of turtles exposed in the square chamber selected 27 degrees and the highest temperature of 30 degrees C, a response similar to the 1995 hatchlings. Turtles in the round chamber also had significantly higher numbers at 30 degrees C, but most avoided the 33 degrees water temperature. There were no significant differences in the preferred temperatures between the 1995 and 1996 turtles. During control tests when the gradient channels in the square and round chambers were all at 18 degrees C (acclimation temperature), there was random distribution of animals. Clearly, young Pseudemys nelsoni select relatively high temperatures in laboratory gradients and behaviorly thermoregulate.
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