A micro-environmental study of the effect of temperature on the sex ratios of the loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta, from Tongaland, Natal

  • J.A. Maxwell
  • M.A. Motara
  • G.H. Frank


Sex determination in C. caretta is, under natural conditions, dependent on incubation temperature. In general, below 27°C all hatchlings are male while above 29,3°C 80% or more are females. The sex ratios of the nests were also dependent on the time of season which is directly related to temperature. Metabolic heating of the nest was evident only towards the end of the critical period i.e. post-sexual differentiation. There was no correlation between sex ratios and the physical characteristics of the beach. The implications of temperature sex determination on the limitation of geographical populations are also discussed.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-073X
print ISSN: 1562-7020