Temperament and sexual behaviour in the Furrowed Wood Turtle Rhinoclemmys areolata

Periodo de realización: 1900/01/01 al 2020/01/01

Tipo: Artículo científico

Lugar(es) de estudio: Chetumal, Q.R., México
Resumen: "The variation in temperament among animals has consequences for evolution and ecology. One of the primary effects of consistent behavioral differences is on reproduction. In chelonians some authors have focused on the study of temperament using different methods. In our research our first aim was i) establish a methodology to determine the degree of boldness among individuals Rhinoclemmys areolata. Our second aim was to ii) determine the role boldness plays during reproduction, with emphasis on courtship and copulation, considering a) the interactions between males and females, and b) competition between males. We used 16 sexually mature individuals of each sex. Males were observed in four different situations and 17 behavioral traits were recorded. We selected 12 traits that allowed us distinguish between the bolder and the shier individuals and found that five behavioral traits were specific for bolder individuals and five others for shier individuals. In a second step, we observed a male in presence of a female and recorded courtship behaviors and breeding attempts. Bolder individuals did not display courtship behaviors and just attempted to copulate. Shier individuals displayed courtship behaviors and copulation attempts were rarely observed. Finally, in the simulations that compared two males in the presence of a female we noticed that bolder individuals displayed courtship behaviors while the shier ones simply ignored the female. Our results first allowed us to determine which methodology is the best to determine temperament in turtles. Secondly, temperament seems to be an important factor in modulating interaction between males and females. Bolder individuals have an advantage during competition and display courtship behaviours only if other males are present. Shier males displayed courtship behaviors and only try to copulate when no competitors were present. These two different temperament-dependant strategies are discussed in terms of ecology, evolution and management."

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