Fanrong XIAO,Zhen HONG,Jichao WANG,et al.The Relationship between Shell Morphology and Crevice Size Affecting Retreat Selection of the Keeled Box Turtle (Cuora mouhotii)[J].Asian Herpetological Research(AHR),2020,11(4):342-349.[doi:10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.200029]
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The Relationship between Shell Morphology and Crevice Size Affecting Retreat Selection of the Keeled Box Turtle (Cuora mouhotii)
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Asian Herpetological Research[ISSN:2095-0357/CN:51-1735/Q]

2020 VoI.11 No.4
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The Relationship between Shell Morphology and Crevice Size Affecting Retreat Selection of the Keeled Box Turtle (Cuora mouhotii)
Fanrong XIAO1# Zhen HONG1# Jichao WANG1 Taggert BUTTERFIELD2 and Haitao SHI1*
1 Key Laboratory for Ecology of Tropical Islands of Ministry of Education; Key Laboratory of Tropical Animal and Plant Ecology of Hainan Province; College of Life Sciences, Hainan Normal University, Haikou 571158, Hainan, China2 Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores Unidad Morelia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Morelia 58190, México
antipredation burrow microhabitat rock crevice shelter
Rock crevices are important retreat sites for many reptiles. Unlike lizards and snakes, crevice-dwelling turtles have rigid shells which severely limit the size and shape of crevices they are able to use. Few studies have addressed the relationship between turtle’s shell morphology, behavior, and crevice size. Here, we investigate the relationship between morphology and crevice size selection in the Keeled box turtle (Cuora mouhotii). We radio tracked turtles in the field to crevice dimensions and turtle behavior associated with crevices, and we conducted a controlled experiment in the lab to understand how a turtle’s morphology influences its decision to select crevices with different dimensions. Both laboratory and field experiments demonstrate that turtles select deep and moderately wide crevices that are low enough to barely accommodate the carapace. Crevices used by turtles tend to be about 2 times as wide, 1.2 times as high, and 3 times longer than the turtle’s shell. Moreover, turtles tended to prefer crevices with horizontal openings in the field and position themselves head first in the crevice. We conclude that morphology, especially carapace height, influences the Keeled box turtles’ decision to select specific sizes of crevice. We argue that the tendency for turtles to select crevices that come into contact with their carapace contributes to successful defense against predators, as it would be more difficult for a predator to remove a turtle when the crevice is nearly touching the turtles shell.


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Last Update: 2020-12-25