ISOMETRY OF EGG SIZE IN A TEXAS POPULATION OF THE TURTLE STERNOTHERUS ODORATUS THAT EXHIBITS A NEARLY FIXED CLUTCH SIZE
Keywords:Reproductive allometry, Reproductive output, Egg size, Optimal egg-size theory, South Llano River
In evaluating optimal egg-size theory and the effects of anatomical constraints on egg size in turtles, pivotal questions concern the significance of the relationship of egg size to female body size and whether the relationship is isometric or hypoallometric. In a central Texas population of the kinosternid turtle Sternotherus odoratus in which clutch size of a sample of turtles was nearly fixed (seven of eight females had two eggs while the largest female had three eggs), there was an isometric increase in egg width with body size among the females with two-egg clutches and significantly reduced egg width in the largest female’s three-egg clutch. Allometric analyses of populations that exhibit little variation in clutch size, as well as analysis of modal clutch sizes in populations with more variable clutch sizes, both have the potential to further illuminate the competing demands of increasing egg size vs. increasing clutch size as females grow larger, enabling them to optimize their reproductive output as it increases with body size.