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Female–female aggression : structure of interaction and outcome in loggerhead sea turtles

Schofield, Gail, Katselidis, Kostas A., Pantis, John D., Dimopoulos, Panayotis and Hays, Graeme C. 2007, Female–female aggression : structure of interaction and outcome in loggerhead sea turtles, Marine ecology progress series, vol. 336, pp. 267-274, doi: 10.3354/meps336267.

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Title Female–female aggression : structure of interaction and outcome in loggerhead sea turtles
Author(s) Schofield, Gail
Katselidis, Kostas A.
Pantis, John D.
Dimopoulos, Panayotis
Hays, Graeme C.ORCID iD for Hays, Graeme C. orcid.org/0000-0002-3314-8189
Journal name Marine ecology progress series
Volume number 336
Start page 267
End page 274
Total pages 8
Publisher Inter-Research
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publication date 2007
ISSN 0171-8630
1616-1599
Keyword(s) Caretta caretta
sequential assessment
evolutionary stable strategy
territory
marine
vertebrate
reptile
Summary Aggressive behaviour between females of the same species is not widely documented, particularly in marine vertebrates. During a 3 yr in-water survey at the temperate loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta breeding area of Zakynthos, Greece, female–female interactions comprised 4% of all female loggerhead sighting events (n = 60 out of 1449 events). Male–female interactions comprised an additional 4% of sighting events, while 92% were of solitary females. The structure of interactions was analysed for 58 of these sighting events, each lasting an average of 3.4 min (SD ± 1) and comprising a total of 3.1 h observation time. We found that interactions involved ritualized escalation in behaviour from passive threat displays (e.g. head–tail circling) to aggressive combat (e.g. sparring). We suggest that circling individuals evaluate opponent size, sparring individuals test opponent strength, and that the positioning of the prehensile tail signals motivational intent to either escalate or abort. The presence of intruder females triggered a passive response in 100% of events involving basking and swimming turtles (n = 19); although residents resting on the seabed only responded on 69% of occasions (n = 27), their response was almost 4 times more likely to escalate to one of aggression. Our results suggest that certain sites may be preferentially sought after and defended by sea turtles.
Language eng
DOI 10.3354/meps336267
Field of Research 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2007, Inter-Research
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30058367

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.