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Turning turtle: scaling relationships and self-righting ability in Chelydra serpentina / Ilan M. Ruhr, Kayleigh Rose, William I. Sellers, Dane A. Crossley, Jonathan R. Codd

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Volume: 288, Issue: 1946, Start page: 20210213

Swansea University Author: Kayleigh Rose

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DOI (Published version): 10.1098/rspb.2021.0213

Abstract

Testudines are susceptible to inversion and self-righting using their necks, limbs or both, to generate enough mechanical force to flip over. We investigated how shell morphology, neck length and self-righting biomechanics scale with body mass during ontogeny in Chelydra serpentina, which uses neck-...

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Published in: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
ISSN: 0962-8452 1471-2954
Published: The Royal Society 2021
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa56363
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Abstract: Testudines are susceptible to inversion and self-righting using their necks, limbs or both, to generate enough mechanical force to flip over. We investigated how shell morphology, neck length and self-righting biomechanics scale with body mass during ontogeny in Chelydra serpentina, which uses neck-powered self-righting. We found that younger turtles flipped over twice as fast as older individuals. A simple geometric model predicted the relationships of shell shape and self-righting time with body mass. Conversely, neck force, power output and kinetic energy increase with body mass at rates greater than predicted. These findings were correlated with relatively longer necks in younger turtles than would be predicted by geometric similarity. Therefore, younger turtles self-right with lower biomechanical costs than predicted by simple scaling theory. Considering younger turtles are more prone to inverting and their shells offer less protection, faster and less costly self-righting would be advantageous in overcoming the detriments of inversion.
College: College of Science
Issue: 1946
Start Page: 20210213