The relationship of clutch size and frequency to body size in loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta

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Journal of Herpetology

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There is a positive correlation between clutch size and adult female body size reported for most turtle species, although the relationship may be rather weak in species that typically lay only a few eggs per clutch (Moll, 1979). Sea turtles typically lay larger clutches than other turtles (Moll, 1979) and positive correlations between clutch size and carapace length have been reported for Chelonia mydas (Ehrhart 1982; Hirth, 1980). There are conflicting reports as to whether such a relationship exists for loggerhead turtles, Caretta caretta. Hirth (1980) found no significant linear relationship between carapace length and clutch size for loggerheads nesting at Masirah Island, Oman. Caldwell et al. (1959a) reported that no correlation was evident at Jekyll Island, Georgia. On the other hand, Ehrhart (1980) reported a significant positive relationship between clutch size and carapace length for loggerheads nesting at Merritt Island, Florida. Moll (1979) suggests that clutch frequency also increases with body size in turtles, but this has yet to be demonstrated in sea turtles, perhaps due to the difficulty of intercepting a turtle each time she nests.

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