Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Nesting of Phrynops geoffroanus (Testudines: Chelidae) on sandy beaches along the Upper Xingu River, Brazil

D. Ferreira Júnior, PauloA. M. Balestra, RafaelR. Moreira, Joséde O. Freitas, FábioP. G. Lustosa, AnaF. Jorge, RafaelJ. de M. Rosa, ArturA. Sampaio, AntônioS. Gomes, Aline

This work presents the first data on incubation temperature of Phrynops geoffroanus (Schweigger, 1812) in a natural environment, and provides information on nest predation, hatching success and size of offspring born in the nests on sandy beaches along the Upper Xingu River. Thirty-one P. geoffroanus nests were found, of which eleven were completely predated, mainly by Cerdocyon thous (Linnaeus, 1766). Incubation was completed in nine out of the 17 nests protected by netting. The nests presented an average of 13.1 eggs and were distributed over the various geomorphological sectors of the nine sampled beaches. The size and weight of the hatchlings varied significantly between nests, and the incubation period in protected nests lasted for 76.5 days, less than reported for controlled incubation in the laboratory. Daily variation in incubation temperature in the three nests monitored for temperature was lower in those situated in fine sand sediments. Incubation temperature varied from 22 to 39 C and may have affected hatching success, which reached 60.8% in protected nests. Nest distribution in different geomorphological sectors indicated the plasticity of P. geoffroanus in terms of variation in nesting environment, which partly explains the species' broad geographical distribution.

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