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Social behaviour in the context of a limited resource in juvenile tortoises (Manouria emys)

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Social structures and dominance hierarchies are well documented in various species of tortoises, typically in sexually mature adults. We used artificial shelters to assess the effect of social setting and other factors that might affect dominance in juvenile Burmese mountain tortoises (Manouria emys). We found that the presence of other tortoises significantly increased the occupancy in our shelters, and larger tortoises occupied the shelters significantly more than did the smaller tortoises. Our results indicate clear existence of social structure in juvenile tortoises and suggest that the value of resources, such as shelters, may change under differing social conditions.
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Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: July 1, 2013

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