Incubation of northern snake-necked turtle ( Chelodina rugosa ) eggs and subsequent sale of hatchlings for the pet industry has the potential to provide culturally suitable employment for indigenous communities in northern Australia. Developmental arrest in response to egg inundation is unique to C. rugosa . Eggs can be stored under water for up to 10 weeks without appreciable impact on egg or embryo survival, allowing the transport and sale of eggs into niche markets without high levels of mortality, and permitting eggs to accumulate in diapause until there are sufficient numbers to incubate as batches. Eggs that are not inundated or inundated for short periods experience similar survival rates to eggs inundated for lengthy periods. Incubation temperature influences embryo survival and development period in C. rugosa . Embryonic survival is greatest at 26 °C, steadily declining as temperature increases to 32 °C. A similar increase in incubation temperature decreases incubation period by approximately 40 days, however almost half of this variation is attributed to the increase in incubation temperature from 26 to 28 °C. Hatchling growth in C. rugosa is characterized by two phases. There is an initial phase of relatively slow growth under the partial influence of initial egg size and incubation duration, followed by a second phase of relatively rapid growth under the partial influence of water temperature and mass at hatching. Post-hatching survival is negatively correlated with duration of egg inundation and water temperature. Evidence suggests that inundation of C. rugosa eggs for 6 weeks, incubation of embryos at 28 °C and raising hatchlings in 28 °C water will yield the best overall outcomes.
Aquaculture – Elsevier
Published: Sep 28, 2007
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