Effect of shell type on the composition of chelonian eggs

Deeming, D. C. and Whitfeld, T. R. (2010) Effect of shell type on the composition of chelonian eggs. Herpetological Journal, 20 (3). pp. 165-171. ISSN 0268-0130

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


This study examined the hypothesis that composition of chelonian eggs, i.e. masses of shell, yolk and albumen, would be infuenced by the structure of the eggshell. In particular, because albumen is a store of water in an egg, it was predicted that rigid-shelled eggs would have more albumen than pliable-shelled eggs because they have less scope for absorbing water from the incubation environment. Data were collected from the published literature for 23 chelonian species that exhibited either pliable or rigid-shelled eggs (11 and 12 species in each category, respectively). Linear regression analysis was used to describe relationships between mass of the egg and the three different components. For any given egg mass a rigid shell was heavier than a pliable shell and the exponent for rigid-shelled eggs was signifcantly higher than that for pliable-shelled eggs. By contrast, there were no signifcant effects of shell type on the masses of yolk or albumen. The ability of turtle eggs to absorb water during incubation was not, therefore, refected in the mass of the albumen. Differences in shell structure in chelonians must have evolved for another reason that has yet to be investigated.

Keywords:Testudines, Albumen, Eggshell type, Yolk
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:10130
Deposited On:19 Sep 2013 12:13

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