Phylogenetic patterns in turtle social behavior

Tracie Renae McLeod, Fayetteville State University


Phylogenetic analysis can be used to determine whether heritable behaviors are ancestral for a group. I mapped onto a cladogram 27 of these social behaviors from eight families: Trionychidae, Chelydridae, Dermochelyidae, Cheloniidae, Kinostemidae, Testudinidae, Platysternidae, and Emydidae. The social behaviors were sniffing, vocalization, circling, approach (chase), trailing, face-to-face, right-angle head, female positioned above male, male in forelimb reaction, shell drop, shell lift, biting, ramming (bumping), rubbing, pushing, neck extension, head bobs (swaying), titillation sequence, vibratory phase, tapping, shell scratch, tilting, lateral waggle, tail hook, tail drop (tail down), gulping, and snout-to-snout contact. The results indicate that the families have at least one behavior that is ancestral to each and convergent evolution occurs in some of the families. Several families and species were not included within this study because the behaviors were not recorded or there were not enough studies to support the information given for them.

Subject Area

Biology|Evolution and Development

Recommended Citation

McLeod, Tracie Renae, "Phylogenetic patterns in turtle social behavior" (2012). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI1525797.