Abstract

From 2000 to 2002, the reproductive ecology of the endangered Hainan four eye-spotted turtle (Sacalia insulensis) was studied on Hainan Island, China. A total of 147 adult females were captured, and their reproductive status was evaluated by palpation, X-ray imaging, and ultrasound. Twenty-two gravid females were under observation when they laid their eggs. We observed gravid females and nesting behavior along stream banks between December and April. Nest dimensions ranged from 5 to 6 cm in diameter and from 2 to 3 cm in depth. No females in our study produced more than 1 clutch per season. Clutch size average was 1.9 eggs (range = 1–3 eggs, SD = 0.56, n = 22) with an average egg mass of 16.05 g (range = 11.8–21.0 g, SD = 2.417, n = 21), an average egg width of 2.36 cm (range = 2.1–2.7 cm, SD = 0.135, n = 21), and an average length of 4.65 cm (range = 3.9–5.3 cm, SD = 0.400, n = 21). Hatching success rate was 53%, and hatchlings emerged after an average of 120.9 d (range = 98–148 d, SD = 14.94, n = 21) in late June to early July. The mean nesting site ground temperature was 24.43°C (range = 15.0°C–30.2°C, SD = 2.712, n = 7).

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