Heating and cooling rates in four species of turtles

David C. Spray, Michael L. May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


1. 1. Two basking turtles, Chrysemys picta and Pseudemys scripta, heat significantly faster than they cool. Two terrestrial species, Gopherus polyphemus and Terrapene carolina, cool significantly faster than they heat. 2. 2. Rate of heat exchange in dead basking turtles is the same as the cooling rate in living animals; dead terrestrial turtles have rates of heat exchange similar to their living heating rates. After section of the dorsal roots of the spinal nerves innervating its carapace, Chrysemys rate of heat exchange in both directions is similar to its rate of heating before section. 3. 3. These rates of heating and cooling have been compared with other rates in the literature and equations relating the rate of heat exchange to body weight of reptiles from different habitats have been calculated. 4. 4. We interpret our findings as suggestive of active control of conductance, utilized differently by turtles from two diverse habitats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-522
Number of pages16
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology -- Part A: Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 1972
Externally publishedYes


  • Chrysemys sp.
  • Gopherus sp.
  • Pseudemys sp.
  • Terrapene sp.
  • Testudinids
  • Thermoregulation
  • cooling rates
  • heat exchange
  • heating rates
  • reptiles
  • turtles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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