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Influence of nest location and yolkless eggs on the hatching success of leatherback turtle clutches in French Guiana

Abstract : The hatching success of leatherback turtles, Dermochelys coriacea (Vandelli, 1761), is influenced by heterogeneously distributed ecological factors. However, the hatching success according to nest-site selection has rarely been studied and little is known about the role of nest-site selection and infertile (yolkless) egg production on the predation rate and development of fertile eggs in leatherback turtle nests laid in French Guiana. A field study of 99 leatherback turtle nests was conducted to quantify the relationships between hatching success and (i) the nest-site selection (i.e., vegetation line, sea tide line) and (ii) the infertile eggs, especially their state after incubation (i.e., hydrated or dehydrated) and their effects on predation rate. We found that hatching success on this beach was very low (38.2%). This study illustrates that nest-site selection influences the predation rate and the dehydration of yolkless eggs, while the production of yolkless eggs by leatherback turtles has consequences on nest success. The proportion of yolkless eggs in the clutch, as well as their status at the end of incubation (hydrated or not, preyed upon), correlates with predation rate, development of yolked eggs, and hatching success. There was a significant relationship between nest location (relative to high tide line and vegetation line) and both the predation rates of eggs and the percentage of dehydrated yolkless eggs within a clutch. The production of yolkless eggs was related to hatching success and supports the hypothesis that yolkless eggs have a positive effect on the future of the clutch.
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https://hal-bioemco.ccsd.cnrs.fr/bioemco-00396330
Contributor : Pascal Jouquet <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - 4:06:05 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, May 31, 2020 - 7:03:53 AM

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Stephane Caut, Elodie Guirlet, Pascal Jouquet, Marc Girondot. Influence of nest location and yolkless eggs on the hatching success of leatherback turtle clutches in French Guiana. Canadian Journal of Zoology, NRC Research Press, 2006, 84 (6), pp.908-915. ⟨10.1139/Z06-063⟩. ⟨bioemco-00396330⟩

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