Turtles as many other reptiles are capable of orientating their bodies toward the sun. This conduct requires the presence of an internal biological chronometer in the organism that regulates this behavior. Thus, a description of the internal clock in these reptiles is of interest. The assessment of locomotor activity can be considered a reliable indicator of biological clock function. This study aimed to investigate the effect of different artificial photoperiod and ambient temperature schedules on total locomotor activity of female Chelonoidis chilensis and its rhythmicity. Six C. chilensis specimens were exposed to different artificial photoperiods and temperature regimes each fixed for seven days. It was observed that the activity period during the different experimental schedules was close to the 24 hours indicating a daily rhythmicity. Moreover, all tortoises showed a similar total locomotor activity pattern displaying the most of motion during light phase. Under the condition of constant light tortoises exhibited a self-sustaining rhythm not entrained to light and temperature zeitgebers, thus, suggesting its possible endogenous periodicity. Though this study deepens the knowledge on the rhythmic system of C. chilensis, further investigations are needed to achieve a more detailed understanding of tortoise biological clock.

Direct Link: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685381-bja10096

Journal: Amphibia-Reptilia. 2022 Jun 29;1(aop):1-9.

Keywords: ambient temperature, Behaviour, Chronobiology, daily rhythm, locomotor activity, tortoise, turtle,

Applications: Veterinary,

CamNtech Reference: AM22006

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