Although some studies investigated lateralization in reptiles, little research has been done on chelonians, focusing only on few behaviours such as righting response and escape preference. The aim of this study was to investigate lateralization in Aldabra giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea), focusing on asymmetrical positioning of the limbs and the head during resting behaviour, called sleep-like behaviour, involving both wild tortoises and individuals under human care. Subjects of the study were 67 adult Aldabra tortoises (54 free ranging on Curieuse, 13 under human care in Mahè Botanical Garden). For each tortoise observed during sleep-like behaviour, we recorded the position of the head (on the left, on the right or in line with the body midline) and we collected which forelimb and hindlimb were kept forward. Moreover, the number of subjects in which limbs were in a symmetrical position during the sleep-like behaviour was recorded. Based on our results, the number of tortoises with asymmetrical position of head and limb was higher (head: 63%; forelimbs: 88%; hindlimbs: 70%) than the number of tortoises with symmetrical position of the head and the limb. Regarding the head, throughout the subjects found with the asymmetrical position of the head during sleep-like behaviour, tortoises positioning the head on the right (42%) were more than those sleeping with the head on the left (21%). We found a relationship between the position of the forelimbs and hindlimbs during sleep-like behaviour. We reported no differences between Mahè (under human care) and Curieuse (wild) tortoises. Findings of this preliminary study underlined traces of group-level lateralization in head positioning during the sleep-like behaviour, possibly due to a left-eye/right-hemisphere involvement in anti-predatory responses and threatening stimuli as reported in reptiles and other vertebrates. This study aims at adding data on brain lateralization, often linked to lateralized behaviours, in reptiles, especially in chelonians.

Spiezio, C., Sandri, C., Joubert, F., Muzungaile, M., Remy, S., Mattarelli, P., et al. (2022). The "right" side of sleeping: laterality in resting behaviour of Aldabra giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea). ANIMAL COGNITION, 25(1), 195-203 [10.1007/s10071-021-01542-z].

The "right" side of sleeping: laterality in resting behaviour of Aldabra giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea)

Sandri, Camillo
;
Mattarelli, Paola;
2022

Abstract

Although some studies investigated lateralization in reptiles, little research has been done on chelonians, focusing only on few behaviours such as righting response and escape preference. The aim of this study was to investigate lateralization in Aldabra giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea), focusing on asymmetrical positioning of the limbs and the head during resting behaviour, called sleep-like behaviour, involving both wild tortoises and individuals under human care. Subjects of the study were 67 adult Aldabra tortoises (54 free ranging on Curieuse, 13 under human care in Mahè Botanical Garden). For each tortoise observed during sleep-like behaviour, we recorded the position of the head (on the left, on the right or in line with the body midline) and we collected which forelimb and hindlimb were kept forward. Moreover, the number of subjects in which limbs were in a symmetrical position during the sleep-like behaviour was recorded. Based on our results, the number of tortoises with asymmetrical position of head and limb was higher (head: 63%; forelimbs: 88%; hindlimbs: 70%) than the number of tortoises with symmetrical position of the head and the limb. Regarding the head, throughout the subjects found with the asymmetrical position of the head during sleep-like behaviour, tortoises positioning the head on the right (42%) were more than those sleeping with the head on the left (21%). We found a relationship between the position of the forelimbs and hindlimbs during sleep-like behaviour. We reported no differences between Mahè (under human care) and Curieuse (wild) tortoises. Findings of this preliminary study underlined traces of group-level lateralization in head positioning during the sleep-like behaviour, possibly due to a left-eye/right-hemisphere involvement in anti-predatory responses and threatening stimuli as reported in reptiles and other vertebrates. This study aims at adding data on brain lateralization, often linked to lateralized behaviours, in reptiles, especially in chelonians.
2022
Spiezio, C., Sandri, C., Joubert, F., Muzungaile, M., Remy, S., Mattarelli, P., et al. (2022). The "right" side of sleeping: laterality in resting behaviour of Aldabra giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea). ANIMAL COGNITION, 25(1), 195-203 [10.1007/s10071-021-01542-z].
Spiezio, Caterina; Sandri, Camillo; Joubert, Flavien; Muzungaile, Marie-May; Remy, Selby; Mattarelli, Paola; Regaiolli, Barbara
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/829672
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