Reproductive aspects of the Chocoan River turtle (Rhinoclemmys nasuta, Geoemydidae) along the Colombian Pacific coast

in Amphibia-Reptilia
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


We collected data on several aspects of the reproductive biology of the Chocoan River Turtle (Rhinoclemmys nasuta) as part of a long-term demographic study (2005-2015), along the Pacific coast of the department of Valle del Cauca in Colombia. We palpated 659 females and found 77 gravid, with two peaks in the proportion of females gravid, one between May and June, and another from October to December; there was a significant correlation between the monthly proportion gravid and the monthly amount of precipitation (Spearman rank correlation rs=0.60, P<0.05). We obtained 13 eggs (mean length = 63.8 mm, mean width = 35.4 mm, mean weight = 45.8 g). Using egg volume as a general indicator of size, there was no significant relationship with female size. To induce oviposition, oxytocin, prostaglandin, or a combination of the two was injected into 37 gravid females with a success rate of 48.6%. We determined the duration of incubation for two individuals as 133 and 135 days. With this information, we fill some gaps in the knowledge of reproductive ecology of this species; however, the sample size is very low and primarily comes from a single insular population and therefore it is important to continue studies on aspects of reproductive ecology such as those evaluated in this study and other topics like sex determination.

Reproductive aspects of the Chocoan River turtle (Rhinoclemmys nasuta, Geoemydidae) along the Colombian Pacific coast

in Amphibia-Reptilia



AndreuA.C.VillamorC. (1989): Calendario reproductivo y tamaño de puesta en el galápago leproso, Mauremys leprosa (Schweigger, 1812) en Doñana, Huelva. Doñana Acta Vertebrata 16: 167-172.

ArescoM.J. (2004): Reproductive ecology of Pseudemys floridana and Trachemys scripta (Testudines: Emydidae) in northwestern Florida. J. Herpetol. 38: 249-256.

ArtnerH. (2009): Field observations and captive breeding of the Furrowed Wood Turtle Rhinoclemmys areolata (Duméril and Bibron, 1851). Emys 16 (3): 4-19.

BoothD. (2002): Incubation of rigid-shelled turtle eggs: do hydric conditions matter? J. Comp. Physiol. B 172: 627-633.

BowenK.D.SpencerR.J.JanzenF.J. (2005): A comparative study of environmental factors that affect nesting in Australian and North American freshwater turtles. J. Zool. 267: 397-404.

BurkeV.J.GibbonsJ.W.GreeneJ.L. (1994): Prolonged nesting forays by common mud turtles (Kinosternon subrubrum). Am. Midl. Nat. 131: 190-195.

CagleF.R. (1939): A system for marking turtles for future identification. Copeia 1939: 170-173.

CarrJ.L.AlmendárizA. (1990): Contribución al conocimiento de la distribución geográfica de los quelonios del Ecuador occidental. Politécnica 14 (3): 75-103.

CarrJ.L.GiraldoA. (2009): Rhinoclemmys nasuta (Boulenger 1902), large-nosed wood turtle, chocoan river turtle. Chelonian Res. Monogr. 5: 034.1-034.6.

CarrJ.L.GiraldoA.Garcés-RestrepoM.F. (2012): Rhinoclemmys nasuta (Boulenger 1902). In: Biología y Conservación de las Tortugas Continentales de Colombia p.  315-322. PáezV.Morales-BetancourtM.A.LassoC.A.Castaño-MoraO.V.BockB. Eds Instituto de Investigación de los Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt (IAvH)Bogotá, Colombia.

CarrJ.L.MessingerM.A.PattonG.M. (2008): Nesting behavior in three-toed box turtles (Terrapene carolina triunguis) following oxytocin-induced oviposition. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 7: 124-128.

CarrJ.L.AlmendárizA.SimmonsJ.E.NielsenM.T. (2014): Subsistence hunting for turtles in northwestern Ecuador. Acta Biol. Colomb. 19: 401-413.

CarrilloE.AldásS.AltamiranoM.Ayala-VarelaF.Cisneros-HerediaD.EndaraA.MárquezC.MoralesM.Nogales-SornosaF.SalvadorP. (2005): Lista Roja de los Reptiles del Ecuador. Quito Ecuador Fundación Novum Milenium UICN-Sur UICN-Comité Ecuatoriano Ministerio de Educación y Cultura Serie Proyecto Peepe.

Castaño-MoraO.MedemF. (1983): Datos preliminares sobre la reproducción de Rhinoclemmys melanosterna Gray (Reptilia: Quelonia: Emydidae). Lozania: Acta Zool. Colomb. 47: 1-6.

Castillo-CentenoV.E. (1986): Factores ecológicos y de mercado de la reproducción de Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima y Kinosternon scorpioides (Testudines: Emydidae y Kinosternidae) en Costa Rica. Licenture Thesis Ciudad Universitaria “Rodrigo Facio” San José Costa Rica 160 pp.

CongdonJ.D.GibbonsJ.W. (1990): Turtle eggs: their ecology and evolution. In: Life History and Ecology of the Slider Turtle p.  109-123. GibbonsJ.W. Ed. Smithsonian Institution PressWashington, D.C., USA.

CongdonJ.D.TinkleD.W. (1982): Reproductive energetics of the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta). Herpetologica 38: 228-237.

CongdonJ.D.DunhamA.E.Van Loben SelsR.C. (1994): Demographics of common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina): implications for conservation and management of long-lived organisms. Amer. Zool. 34: 397-408.

CongdonJ.D.GibbonsJ.W.GreeneJ.L. (1983): Parental investment in the chicken turtle (Deirochelys reticularia). Ecology 64: 420-425.

CongdonJ.D.BreitenbachG.L.Van Loben SelsR.C.TinkleD.W. (1987): Reproduction and nesting ecology of snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) in southeastern Michigan. Herpetologica 43: 39-54.

Corredor-LondoñoG.KattanG.Galvis-RizoC.A.AmorochoD. (2007): Tortugas del Valle del Cauca. Santiago de Cali Colombia Corporación Autónoma Regional del Valle del Cauca (CVC).

DazaJ.M.PáezV.P. (2007): Morphometric variation and its effect on reproductive potential in female Colombian slider turtles (Trachemys callirostris callirostris). Herpetologica 63: 125-134.

DoddC.K.Jr. (1997): Clutch size and frequency in Florida box turtles (Terrapene carolina bauri): implications for conservation. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 2: 370-377.

DunhamA.E.MorinP.J.WilburH.M. (1988): Methods for the study of reptile populations. In: Biology of the Reptilia vol. 16: Ecology B: Defense and Life History p.  331-386. GansC.HueyR.B. Eds Alan R. Liss, Inc.New York, USA.

EwertM.A. (1979): The embryo and its egg: development and natural history. In: Turtles: Perspectives and Research p.  333-413. HarlessM.MorlockH. Eds John Wiley and SonsNew York, USA.

EwertM.A. (1985): Embryology of turtles. In: Biology of the Reptilia vol. 14: Development A p.  75-267. GansC.BillettF.MadersonP.F.A. Eds John Wiley and SonsNew York, USA.

EwertM.A.LeglerJ.M. (1978): Hormonal induction of oviposition in turtles. Herpetologica 34: 314-318.

FeldmanM.L. (2007): Some options to induce oviposition in turtles. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 6: 313-320.

FeldmanM.L. (2014): Developing new methods to induce egg laying in turtles. Turtle Survival Mag. 2014: 15-17.

Forero-MedinaG.PáezV.Garcés-RestrepoM.F.CarrJ.L.GiraldoA.Vargas-RamírezM. (2016): Research and conservation priorities for tortoises and freshwater turtles of Colombia. Trop. Conserv. Sci. 9 (4): 1-14.

Garcés-RestrepoM.F.GiraldoA.CarrJ.L. (2013): Population ecology and morphometric variation of the Chocoan river turtle (Rhinoclemmys nasuta) from two localities on the Colombian Pacific coast. Bol. Cient. Mus. Hist. Nat. 17: 160-171.

GibbonsJ.W.CokerJ.W. (1977): Ecological and life history aspects of the cooter, Chrysemys floridana (Le Conte). Herpetologica 33: 29-33.

GibbonsJ.W.GreeneJ.L. (1990): Reproduction in the slider and other species of turtles. In: Life History and Ecology of the Slider Turtle p.  124-134. GibbonsJ.W. Ed. Smithsonian Institution PressWashington, D.C., USA.

GiraldoA.Garcés-RestrepoM.F.BolívarW.CarrJ.L. (2013): First report of hatching of the Chocoan river turtle Rhinoclemmys nasuta (Boulenger 1902) (Testudines: Geoemydidae). Bol. Cient. Mus. Hist. Nat. 17: 154-159.

HeppellS.S. (1998): Application of life-history theory and population model analysis to turtle conservation. Copeia 1998: 367-375.

HidalgoH. (1982): Courtship and mating behavior in Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima incisa (Testudines: Emydidae: Batagurinae). Trans. Kans. Acad. Sci. 85: 82-95.

HorneB.D.BraumanR.J.MooreM.J.SeigelR.A. (2003): Reproductive and nesting ecology of the yellow-blotched map turtle, Graptemys flavimaculata: implications for conservation and management. Copeia 2003: 729-738.

IhlowF.DambachJ.EnglerJ.O.FlecksM.HartmannT.NekumS.RajaeiH.RödderD. (2012): On the brink of extinction? How climate change may affect global chelonian species richness and distribution. Global Change Biol. 18: 1520-1530.

IversonJ.B. (1975): Notes on courtship in Rhinoclemys funerea. J. Herpetol. 9: 249-250.

IversonJ.B. (1992): Correlates of reproductive output in turtles. Herpetol. Monogr. 6: 25-42.

IversonJ.B.EwertM.A. (1991): Physical characteristics of reptilian eggs and a comparison with avian eggs. In: Egg Incubation: Its Effects on Embryonic Development in Birds and Reptiles p.  87-100. DeemingD.C.FergusonM.W.J. Eds Cambridge University PressCambridge, United Kingdom.

IversonJ.B.SmithG.R. (1993): Reproductive ecology of the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) in the Nebraska Sandhills and across its range. Copeia 1993: 1-21.

KellerC. (1998): Assessment of reproductive state in the turtle Mauremys leprosa: a comparison between inguinal palpation and radiography. Wildlife Res. 25: 527-531.

KottekM.GrieserJ.BeckC.RudolfB.RubelF. (2006): World map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated. Meteor. Z. 15: 259-263.

LeadleyP.PereiraH.M.AlkemadeR.Fernandez-ManjarrésJ.F.ProençaV.ScharlemannJ.P.W.WalpoleM.J. (2010): Biodiversity Scenarios: Projections of 21st Century Change in Biodiversity and Associated Ecosystem Services. Technical SeriesNo. 50. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological DiversityMontreal, Canada.

LeglerJ.M.VogtR.C. (2013): The Turtles of Mexico: Land and Freshwater Forms. University of California PressBerkeley, California, USA.

Le GratietG.MétraillerS. (1996): Contribution à la connaissance de Rhinoclemmys punctularia punctularia (Daudin, 1801). C.I.T.S. Bull. 6: 19-31.

LiuJ. (2012): Rhinoclemmys rubida rubida at the Behler Chelonian Center. The Tortoise 1 (1): 59.

LiuY.-x.DavyC.M.ShiH.-T.MurphyR.W. (2013): Sex in the half-shell: a review of the functions and evolution of courtship behavior in freshwater turtles. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 12: 84-100.

Macip-RíosR.Brauer-RobledaP.Casas-AndreuG.Arias-CisnerosM.D.L.Sustaita-RodríguezV.H. (2012): Evidence for the morphological constraint hypothesis and optimal offspring size theory in the Mexican mud turtle (Kinosternon integrum). Zool. Sci. 29: 60-65.

McCoskerJ.R. (2002): Chelodina expansa (Broad Shell River Turtle) and Emydura signata (Brisbane Shortneck Turtle) reproduction. Herpetol. Rev. 33: 189-199.

MedemF. (1962): La distribución geográfica y ecología de los Crocodylia y Testudinata en el Departamento del Chocó. Rev. Acad. Colomb. Cienc. Exactas. Fis. Nat. 11: 279-303.

MerchánM. (2003): Contribución al conocimiento de la biología de la tortuga negra (Rhinoclemmys funerea) y la tortuga roja (R. pulcherrima manni) en Costa Rica. Doctoral Dissertation Universidad Complutense de Madrid Madrid Spain 306 pp.

MollE.O. (1979): Reproductive cycles and adaptations. In: Turtles: Perspectives and Research p.  305-331. HarlessM.MorlockH. Eds John Wiley and SonsNew York, USA.

MollE.O.LeglerJ.M. (1971): The life history of a Neotropical slider turtle, Pseudemys scripta (Schoepff), in Panama. Bull. Los Angeles Co. Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. 11: 1-102.

Monge-NájeraJ.MoreraB.ChávezM. (1988): Nesting behaviour of Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima in Costa Rica (Testudines: Emydidae). Herpetol. J. 1: 308.

Morales-BetancourtM.A.LassoC.A.PáezV.P.BockB.C. Eds (2015 [2016]): Libro Rojo de Reptiles de Colombia (2015) Bogotá Colombia Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt (IAvH) and Universidad de Antioquia.

Nicéforo MaríaH. (1958): Contribución al estudio de los testudineos de Colombia. I. Familia Emydidae: Geoemyda punctularia diademata Mertens. Boletín Cultural 23: 31-37.

OlsonD.M.DinersteinE. (2002): The Global 200: priority ecoregions for global conservation. Ann. Mo. Bot. Gard. 89: 199-224.

PackardG.C.RubleK.A.PackardM.J. (1993): Hatchling snapping turtles overwintering in natural nests are inoculated by ice in frozen soil. J. Therm. Biol. 18: 185-188.

PáezV.P. (2012): Historias de vida en tortugas. In: Biología y Conservación de las Tortugas Continentales de Colombia p.  189-203. PáezV.P.Morales-BetancourtM.A.LassoC.A.Castaño-MoraO.V.BockB. Eds Instituto de Investigación de los Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt (IAvH)Bogotá, Colombia.

PassmoreH.L.BrooksR.J. (1997): Effects of geographic origin and incubation temperature on hatchling snapping turtles Chelydra serpentina: implications for turtle conservation practice across the species range. In: Proceedings: Conservation Restoration and Management of Tortoises and Turtles. An International Conference p. 195-202. Van Abbema J. Ed. New York Turtle and Tortoise Society New York USA.

PeelM.C.FinlaysonB.L.McMahonT.A. (2007): Updated world map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 11: 1633-1644.

PoughF.H.AndrewsR.M.CrumpM.L.SavitzkyA.H.WellsK.D.BrandleyM.C. (2016): Herpetology4th Edition. Sinauer Associates, Inc.Sunderland, Massachusetts, USA.

PritchardP.C.H.TrebbauP. (1984): The Turtles of Venezuela. Society for the Study of Amphibians and ReptilesOxford, Ohio, USA.

Ramírez-PerillaJ. (2005): Ciclos de postura anual ex situ de Rhinoclemmys melanosterna, R. diademata y de sus híbridos (Reptilia: Testudines: Emydidae: Batagurinae). Acta Biol. Colomb. 10: 113-121.

Rangel-Ch.J.O.Arellano-P.H. (2004): El Chocó Biogeográfico: ambiente físico. In: Colombia Diversidad Biótica IV: El Chocó Biogeográfico/Costa Pacífica p.  39-82. Rangel-Ch.J.O. Ed. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de ColombiaBogotá, Colombia.

RivasG.A.BarrosT.R. (2016a): Ingüensa, galápago, galápago de Maracaibo, galápago negro, Daksú (Barí) Rhinoclemmys diademata (Mertens 1954). In: Venezuela y sus Tortugas p.  93-97. TrebbauP.PritchardP.C.H. Eds Oscar Todtmann editoresCaracas, Venezuela.

RivasG.A.BarrosT.R. (2016b): Morrocoy negro, nolamé-chuá (Maco) Rhinoclemmys punctularia punctularia (Daudin 1801) Rhinoclemmys punctularia flammigera Paolillo 1985. In: Venezuela y sus Tortugas p.  98-101. TrebbauP.PritchardP.C.H. Eds Oscar Todtmann editoresCaracas, Venezuela.

Rodríguez-MahechaJ.V.SalamanP.JørgensenP.ConsiglioT.SuárezL.ArjonaF.Bensted-SmithR. (2004): Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena. In: Hotspots Revisited: Earth’s Biologically Richest and Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions p.  80-84. MittermeierR.A.GilP.R.HoffmanM.PilgrimJ.BrooksT.MittermeierC.G.LamoreuxJ.FonsecaG.A.B. Eds CemexMexico City, Mexico.

Rueda-AlmonacidJ.V.CarrJ.L.MittermeierR.A.Rodrí la Ossa-VelásquezJ.RuedaJ.N.MittermeierC.G. (2007): Las Tortugas y los Cocodrilianos de los Países Andinos del Trópico. Conservación InternacionalBogotá, Colombia.

RyanK.M.LindemanP.V. (2007): Reproductive allometry in the common map turtle, Graptemys geographica. Am. Midl. Nat. 158: 49-59.

SeabrookW. (1989): The seasonal pattern and distribution of green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nesting activity on Aldabra Atoll, Indian Ocean. J. Zool. 219: 71-81.

SokalR.R.RohlfF.J. (1995): Biometry: the Principles and Practice of Statistics in Biological Research3rd Edition. W. H. Freeman and Co.New York, USA.

StearnsS.C. (1992): The Evolution of Life Histories. Oxford University PressNew York, USA.

TTWG (Turtle Taxonomy Working Group [Van Dijk P.P. Iverson J.B. Rhodin A.G.J. Shaffer H.B. Bour R.]) (2014): Turtles of the world: annotated checklist of taxonomy synonymy distribution with maps and conservation status 7th Edition. Chelonian Res. Monogr. 5: 000.329-000.479.

TuckerJ.K.MollD. (1997): Growth, reproduction, and survivorship in the red-eared turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans, in Illinois, with conservation implications. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 2: 352-357.

TuckerJ.K.PaukstisG.L. (2000): Hatching success of turtle eggs exposed to dry incubation environment. J. Herpetol. 34: 529-534.

VogtR.C.PlattS.G.RainwaterT.R. (2009): Rhinoclemmys areolata (Duméril and Bibron 1851), Furrowed Wood Turtle, Black-bellied Turtle, Mojena. Chelonian Res. Monogr. 5: 022.021-022.027.

WilburH.M. (1975): A growth model for the turtle Chrysemys picta. Copeia 1975: 337-343.

WilkinsonL.R.GibbonsJ.W. (2005): Patterns of reproductive allocation: clutch and egg size variation in three freshwater turtles. Copeia 2005: 868-879.

WilsonD.S.MushinskyH.R.McCoyE.D. (1999): Nesting behavior of the striped mud turtle, Kinosternon baurii (Testudines: Kinosternidae). Copeia 1999: 958-968.


  • View in gallery

    Map of the study sites along the Pacific coast of the department of Valle del Cauca, Colombia.

  • View in gallery

    (A) The linear relationship of estimated egg volume (cm3) and female carapace length (mm) for R. nasuta. (B) The linear relationship between relative egg mass (REM) and female carapace length (mm) for R. nasuta.

  • View in gallery

    Monthly distribution of the proportion of adult female R. nasuta that were gravid as determined by inguinal palpation compared to the average monthly rainfall.


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 25 25 14
Full Text Views 87 87 56
PDF Downloads 7 7 3
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0