Chemical signals reveal information such as sender identity and receptivity to mating that benefit both the sender and the receiver. Although the use of chemical signals seems probable for chelonians, few studies have focused on this form of communication in turtles, and only in a limited number of species. We tested the response of male Painted Turtles Chrysemys picta to chemical signals exuded by conspecifics by examining whether male Painted Turtles spent more time near female or male Painted Turtles or a control (empty) section of a pool, based solely on chemical signals exuded by the stimulus animals. We completed 27 trials and recorded the time male turtles spent in each section of the pool (male, female or control). Male Painted Turtles spent the most time in the section of the pool that housed the female Painted Turtle and spent the least amount of time in the control section. A one-way ANOVA and Tukey's test showed a statistically significant difference between the time test males spent in the female section and control section. The time male Painted Turtles spent in the female and male sections did not differ significantly and no significant difference was found in the amount of time the test male spent in the male section and the control section. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that male Painted Turtles respond to chemical signals exuded by female Painted Turtles, potentially, to find mates. With many turtle populations declining, it is important to study aspects of their reproduction, including communication.
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