Turtle mating systems: behavior, sperm storage, and genetic paternity

J Hered. Mar-Apr 2001;92(2):206-11. doi: 10.1093/jhered/92.2.206.


As evidenced by the articles in this volume, a recent increase in interest in the mating systems of poikilothermic vertebrates has focused primarily on fishes, a few amphibians, and squamate reptiles. Turtles by contrast have received relatively little attention, yet they display a wide variety of mating behaviors and life-history characteristics that make them excellent candidates for addressing several aspects of genetic parentage that should contribute to a broader understanding of animal reproductive strategies. Here we focus on genetic studies of the mating systems and reproductive patterns of turtles, specifically with respect to multiple paternity and long-term sperm storage. These phenomena highlight the importance of a temporally extended perspective on patterns of individual reproductive success.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics*
  • Oviducts / anatomy & histology
  • Oviducts / physiology
  • Paternity
  • Phenotype
  • Reproduction / genetics
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Seasons
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal*
  • Social Behavior
  • Spermatozoa
  • Time Factors
  • Turtles / genetics
  • Turtles / physiology*