Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Understanding reproductive allometry in turtles: A slippery “slope”

October 2, 2019

Measures of reproductive output in turtles are generally positively correlated with female body size. However, a full understanding of reproductive allometry in turtles requires logarithmic transformation of reproductive and body size variables prior to regression analyses. This allows for slope comparisons with expected linear or cubic relationships for linear to linear and linear to volumetric variables, respectively. We compiled scaling data using this approach from published and unpublished turtle studies (46 populations of 25 species from eight families) to quantify patterns among taxa. Our results suggest that for log–log comparisons of clutch size, egg width, egg mass, clutch mass, and pelvic aperture width to shell length, all scale hypoallometrically despite theoretical predictions of isometry. Clutch size generally scaled at ~1.7 to 2.0 (compared to an isometric expectation of 3.0), egg width at ~0.5 (compared to an expectation of 1.0), egg mass at ~1.1 to 1.3 (3.0), clutch mass at ~2.5 to 2.8 (3.0), and pelvic aperture width at 0.8–0.9 (1.0). We also found preliminary evidence that scaling may differ across years and clutches even in the same population, as well as across populations of the same species. Future investigators should aspire to collect data on all these reproductive parameters and to report log–log allometric analyses to test our preliminary conclusions regarding reproductive allometry in turtles.

Publication Year 2019
Title Understanding reproductive allometry in turtles: A slippery “slope”
DOI 10.1002/ece3.5697
Authors John B. Iverson, Peter V. Lindeman, Jeffrey E. Lovich
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecology and Evolution
Index ID 70207487
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center