Author(s): Freedberg S, Ewert MA, Ridenhour BJ, Neiman M, Nelson CE
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Abstract Numerous studies of sea turtle nesting ecology have revealed that females exhibit natal homing, whereby they imprint on the nesting area from which they hatch and subsequently return there to nest as adults. Because freshwater turtles comprise the majority of reptiles known to display environmental sex determination (ESD), the study of natal homing in this group may shed light on recent evolutionary models of sex allocation that are predicated on natal homing in reptiles with ESD. We examined natal homing in Graptemys kohnii, a freshwater turtle with ESD, using mitochondrial sequencing, microsatellite genotyping and mark and recapture of 290 nesting females. Females showed high fidelity to nesting areas, even after being transplanted several kilometres away. A Mantel test revealed significant genetic isolation by distance with respect to nesting locations (r=0.147; p<0.05), suggesting that related females nest in close proximity to one another. The patterns of fidelity and genotype distributions are consistent with homing at a scale that may affect population sex ratios.
This article was published in Proc Biol Sci
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development