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Janzen FJ 1993 An Experimental Analysis of Natural Selection on Body Size of Hatchling Turtles Ecology 74 332-341 Purpose The purpose of the experiment was to evaluate the effects of natural selection on hatchling turtle size The author tested whether turtle hatchlings with bigger mass body size and plastron length would exhibit greater survivorship during movement from the nest to the water habitat Methods In conducting this experiment eggs from 17 different Chelydra serpentina clutches were collected from a National Wildlife Refuge area in Whiteside County Illinois in the month of June 1990 The collected eggs were then incubated in two different environments Either a dry -150kPa or a wet -950kPa environment both environments maintained a temperature of 275C The containers were rehydrated twice weekly and the eggs rotated daily Once the turtles hatched the date and body size of each individual was recorded Approximately three weeks after hatching the turtles were given a number and prepared for release and recapture The recapture process used a drift fence constructed of 50m of 15cm high aluminum flashing support eighteen lidless 25cm high plastic containers that were implanted into the sand at 3m intervals The turtles were then arranged randomly in a line facing the nest and released at sunset all were released together since C serpentina hatch synchronously The collection pits were checked at sunrise midday and sunset The experiment was terminated when two successive monitoring periods failed to produce a hatchling Findings The findings showed that the incubating conditions modified the phenotypes of hatchling snapping turtles Those incubated in the wet environment were larger and took longer to hatch than those incubated in the dry environment Nearly 60 of the 66 of 112 hatchlings were recaptured The use of normal distribution to calculate bypass rate indicated that approximately two hatchlings probably missed the fence There were no signs of predators around the collection pits so the turtles were not attacked after reaching the drift
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