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Sample records for turtle shell tortoise

  1. 42 CFR 71.52 - Turtles, tortoises, and terrapins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... 42 Public Health 1 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. 71.52 Section 71..., INSPECTION, LICENSING FOREIGN QUARANTINE Importations § 71.52 Turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. (a) Definitions. As used in this section the term: Turtles includes all animals commonly known as turtles...

  2. Patterning of the turtle shell.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moustakas-Verho, Jacqueline E; Cebra-Thomas, Judith; Gilbert, Scott F

    2017-08-01

    Interest in the origin and evolution of the turtle shell has resulted in a most unlikely clade becoming an important research group for investigating morphological diversity in developmental biology. Many turtles generate a two-component shell that nearly surrounds the body in a bony exoskeleton. The ectoderm covering the shell produces epidermal scutes that form a phylogenetically stable pattern. In some lineages, the bones of the shell and their ectodermal covering become reduced or lost, and this is generally associated with different ecological habits. The similarity and diversity of turtles allows research into how changes in development create evolutionary novelty, interacting modules, and adaptive physiology and anatomy. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Genetic studies of freshwater turtle and tortoises: a review of the past 70 years

    Science.gov (United States)

    FitzSimmons, Nancy N.; Hart, Kristen M.

    2007-01-01

    Powerful molecular techniques have been developed over many decades for resolving genetic relationships, population genetic structure, patterns of gene flow, mating systems, and the amount of genetic diversity in animals. Genetic studies of turtles were among the earliest and the rapid application of new genetic tools and analytical techniques is still apparent in the literature on turtles. At present, of the 198 freshwater turtles and tortoises that are listed as not extinct by the IUCN Red List, 69 species worldwide are listed as endangered or critically endangered, and an additional 56 species are listed as vulnerable. Of the ca. 300 species of the freshwater turtles and tortoises in the world, ca. 42% are considered to be facing a high risk extinction, and there is a need to focus intense conservation attention on these species. This includes a need to (i) assess our current state of knowledge regarding the application of genetics to studies of freshwater turtles and tortoises and (ii) determine future research directions. Here, we review all available published studies for the past 70 years that were written in English and used genetic markers (e.g. karyotypes, allozymes, DNA loci) to better understand the biology of freshwater turtles and tortoises. We review the types of studies conducted in relation to the species studied and quantify the countries where the studies were performed. We rack the changing use of different genetic markers through time and report on studies focused on aspects of molecular evolution within turtle genomes. We address the usefulness of particular genetic markers to answer phylogenetic questions and present data comparing population genetic structure and mating systems across species. We draw specific attention to whether authors have considered issues to turtle conservation in their research or provided new insights that have been translated into recommendations for conservation management.

  4. Giant fossil tortoise and freshwater chelid turtle remains from the middle Miocene, Quebrada Honda, Bolivia: Evidence for lower paleoelevations for the southern Altiplano

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cadena, Edwin A.; Anaya, Federico; Croft, Darin A.

    2015-12-01

    We describe the first Miocene turtle remains from Bolivia, which were collected from the late middle Miocene (13.18-13.03 Ma) of Quebrada Honda, southern Bolivia. This material includes a large scapula-acromion and fragmentary shell elements conferred to the genus Chelonoidis (Testudinidae), and a left xiphiplastron from a pleurodire or side-necked turtle, conferred to Acanthochelys (Chelidae). The occurrence of a giant tortoise and a freshwater turtle suggests that the paleoelevation of the region when the fossils were deposited was lower than has been estimated by stable isotope proxies, with a maximum elevation probably less than 1000 m. At a greater elevation, cool temperatures would have been beyond the tolerable physiological limits for these turtles and other giant ectotherm reptiles.

  5. Free-living and captive turtles and tortoises as carriers of new Chlamydia spp.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitura, Agata; Niemczuk, Krzysztof; Zaręba, Kinga; Zając, Magdalena; Laroucau, Karine; Szymańska-Czerwińska, Monika

    2017-01-01

    A variety of Chlamydia species belonging to the Chlamydiaceae family have been reported in reptilian hosts but scarce data about their occurrence in turtles and tortoises are available. In this study, research was conducted to acquire information on invasive alien species (IAS) of turtles and indigenous turtles and tortoises, living both free and in captivity, as possible reservoirs of Chlamydiaceae. Analysis of specimens (pharyngeal and cloacal swabs and tissues) from 204 turtles and tortoises revealed an overall Chlamydiaceae prevalence of 18.3% and 28.6% among free-living and captive animals respectively, with variable levels of shedding. Further testing conducted with a species-specific real-time PCR and microarray test was unsuccessful. Subsequently sequencing was applied to genotype the Chlamydiaceae-positive samples. Almost the full lengths of the 16S rRNA and ompA genes as well as the 16S-23S intergenic spacer (IGS) and 23S rRNA domain I were obtained for 14, 20 and 8 specimens respectively. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA amplicons revealed two distinct branches. Group 1 (10 specimens), specific to freshwater turtles and reported here for the first time, was most closely related to Chlamydia (C.) pneumoniae strains and the newly described Candidatus C. sanzinia. Group 2 (four specimens), detected in Testudo spp. samples, showed highest homology to C. pecorum strains but formed a separate sub-branch. Finally, molecular analysis conducted on positive samples together with their geographical distribution in places distant from each other strongly suggest that Group 1 specimens correspond to a new species in the Chlamydiaceae family. In-depth studies of Chlamydia spp. from turtles and tortoises are needed to further characterise these atypical strains and address arising questions about their pathogenicity and zoonotic potential.

  6. Free-living and captive turtles and tortoises as carriers of new Chlamydia spp.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Agata Mitura

    Full Text Available A variety of Chlamydia species belonging to the Chlamydiaceae family have been reported in reptilian hosts but scarce data about their occurrence in turtles and tortoises are available. In this study, research was conducted to acquire information on invasive alien species (IAS of turtles and indigenous turtles and tortoises, living both free and in captivity, as possible reservoirs of Chlamydiaceae. Analysis of specimens (pharyngeal and cloacal swabs and tissues from 204 turtles and tortoises revealed an overall Chlamydiaceae prevalence of 18.3% and 28.6% among free-living and captive animals respectively, with variable levels of shedding. Further testing conducted with a species-specific real-time PCR and microarray test was unsuccessful. Subsequently sequencing was applied to genotype the Chlamydiaceae-positive samples. Almost the full lengths of the 16S rRNA and ompA genes as well as the 16S-23S intergenic spacer (IGS and 23S rRNA domain I were obtained for 14, 20 and 8 specimens respectively. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA amplicons revealed two distinct branches. Group 1 (10 specimens, specific to freshwater turtles and reported here for the first time, was most closely related to Chlamydia (C. pneumoniae strains and the newly described Candidatus C. sanzinia. Group 2 (four specimens, detected in Testudo spp. samples, showed highest homology to C. pecorum strains but formed a separate sub-branch. Finally, molecular analysis conducted on positive samples together with their geographical distribution in places distant from each other strongly suggest that Group 1 specimens correspond to a new species in the Chlamydiaceae family. In-depth studies of Chlamydia spp. from turtles and tortoises are needed to further characterise these atypical strains and address arising questions about their pathogenicity and zoonotic potential.

  7. Turtles and culverts, and alternative energy development: an unreported but potentially significant mortality threat to the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, J.E.; Ennen, J.R.; Madrak, S.; Grover, B.

    2011-01-01

    Culverts are often used to increase the permeability of roaded landscapes for wildlife, including turtles. Although the benefits of culverts as safe passages for turtles are well documented, under some conditions culverts can entrap them and cause mortality. Here we report a culvert-related mortality in the federally threatened desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) at a wind energy facility in California and offer simple recommendations to mitigate the negative effects of culverts for wildlife in general.

  8. Evolutionary origin of the turtle shell.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyson, Tyler R; Bever, Gabe S; Scheyer, Torsten M; Hsiang, Allison Y; Gauthier, Jacques A

    2013-06-17

    The origin of the turtle shell has perplexed biologists for more than two centuries. It was not until Odontochelys semitestacea was discovered, however, that the fossil and developmental data could be synthesized into a model of shell assembly that makes predictions for the as-yet unestablished history of the turtle stem group. We build on this model by integrating novel data for Eunotosaurus africanus-a Late Guadalupian (∼260 mya) Permian reptile inferred to be an early stem turtle. Eunotosaurus expresses a number of relevant characters, including a reduced number of elongate trunk vertebrae (nine), nine pairs of T-shaped ribs, inferred loss of intercostal muscles, reorganization of respiratory muscles to the ventral side of the ribs, (sub)dermal outgrowth of bone from the developing perichondral collar of the ribs, and paired gastralia that lack both lateral and median elements. These features conform to the predicted sequence of character acquisition and provide further support that E. africanus, O. semitestacea, and Proganochelys quenstedti represent successive divergences from the turtle stem lineage. The initial transformations of the model thus occurred by the Middle Permian, which is congruent with molecular-based divergence estimates for the lineage, and remain viable whether turtles originated inside or outside crown Diapsida. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Shell bone histology indicates terrestrial palaeoecology of basal turtles

    OpenAIRE

    Scheyer, Torsten; Sander, P. Martin

    2009-01-01

    The palaeoecology of basal turtles from the Late Triassic was classically viewed as being semi-aquatic, similar to the lifestyle of modern snapping turtles. Lately, this view was questioned based on limb bone proportions, and a terrestrial palaeoecology was suggested for the turtle stem. Here, we present independent shell bone microstructural evidence for a terrestrial habitat of the oldest and basal most well-known turtles, i.e. the Upper Triassic Proterochersis robusta and Proganochelys que...

  10. Vibrio cholerae Colonization of Soft-Shelled Turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Jiazheng; Yan, Meiying; Gao, He; Lu, Xin; Kan, Biao

    2017-07-15

    Vibrio cholerae is an important human pathogen and environmental microflora species that can both propagate in the human intestine and proliferate in zooplankton and aquatic organisms. Cholera is transmitted through food and water. In recent years, outbreaks caused by V. cholerae -contaminated soft-shelled turtles, contaminated mainly with toxigenic serogroup O139, have been frequently reported, posing a new foodborne disease public health problem. In this study, the colonization by toxigenic V. cholerae on the body surfaces and intestines of soft-shelled turtles was explored. Preferred colonization sites on the turtle body surfaces, mainly the carapace and calipash of the dorsal side, were observed for the O139 and O1 strains. Intestinal colonization was also found. The colonization factors of V. cholerae played different roles in the colonization of the soft-shelled turtle's body surface and intestine. Mannose-sensitive hemagglutinin (MSHA) of V. cholerae was necessary for body surface colonization, but no roles were found for toxin-coregulated pili (TCP) or N -acetylglucosamine-binding protein A (GBPA). Both TCP and GBPA play important roles for colonization in the intestine, whereas the deletion of MSHA revealed only a minor colonization-promoting role for this factor. Our study demonstrated that V. cholerae can colonize the surfaces and the intestines of soft-shelled turtles and indicated that the soft-shelled turtles played a role in the transmission of cholera. In addition, this study showed that the soft-shelled turtle has potential value as an animal model in studies of the colonization and environmental adaption mechanisms of V. cholerae in aquatic organisms. IMPORTANCE Cholera is transmitted through water and food. Soft-shelled turtles contaminated with Vibrio cholerae (commonly the serogroup O139 strains) have caused many foodborne infections and outbreaks in recent years, and they have become a foodborne disease problem. Except for epidemiological

  11. Shell bone histology indicates terrestrial palaeoecology of basal turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scheyer, Torsten M; Sander, P Martin

    2007-08-07

    The palaeoecology of basal turtles from the Late Triassic was classically viewed as being semi-aquatic, similar to the lifestyle of modern snapping turtles. Lately, this view was questioned based on limb bone proportions, and a terrestrial palaeoecology was suggested for the turtle stem. Here, we present independent shell bone microstructural evidence for a terrestrial habitat of the oldest and basal most well-known turtles, i.e. the Upper Triassic Proterochersis robusta and Proganochelys quenstedti. Comparison of their shell bone histology with that of extant turtles preferring either aquatic habitats or terrestrial habitats clearly reveals congruence with terrestrial turtle taxa. Similarities in the shell bones of these turtles are a diploe structure with well-developed external and internal cortices, weak vascularization of the compact bone layers and a dense nature of the interior cancellous bone with overall short trabeculae. On the other hand, 'aquatic' turtles tend to reduce cortical bone layers, while increasing overall vascularization of the bone tissue. In contrast to the study of limb bone proportions, the present study is independent from the uncommon preservation of appendicular skeletal elements in fossil turtles, enabling the palaeoecological study of a much broader range of incompletely known turtle taxa in the fossil record.

  12. Trade in non-native, CITES-listed, wildlife in Asia, as exemplified by the trade in freshwater turtles and tortoises (Chelonidae) in Thailand

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nijman, V.; Shepherd, C.R.

    2007-01-01

    In 1973 the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was called to life as to regulate the international wildlife trade, and to prevent species becoming (economically and biologically) extinct. The trade in freshwater turtles and tortoises in Asia is so

  13. Meta-analysis of the history of the study of the freshwater turtle and tortoise fauna of Colombia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brian C. Bock

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available The citations contained in a recent literature review on the freshwater turtle and tortoise species of Colombia were analyzed. Publishing rates on these species have been increasing exponentially since the 1950s, although many of the publications would not be detected using internet-based literature searches. The most common topics of publications were systematics and phylogeography, nesting ecology, and management. In the 1970s and 1980s, the rate of publishing on the ecology and genetics of Colombian populations lagged behind the rate of publishing on these topics for populations of Colombian freshwater turtle and tortoise species located in other countries, but currently the production of the two regions is comparable. Also, in other countries there were trends towards publishing more over time in English and in journals with higher impact factors, but these trends were not significant for publications on Colombian populations. In Colombia, a disproportionate number of studies have been published on large-bodied species that face conservation problems. We argue that future studies of already well-studied Colombian species should focus on evaluating the effectiveness of management programs, and priority also should be given to increasing our knowledge of the many poorly-studied species in the country, especially those currently classified by the IUCN as data deficient (DD.

  14. Studies on bioactive peptide from Chinese soft-shelled turtle ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    This paper dealt with a novel anti-hypertensive collagen peptide from Chinese soft-shelled turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis), which was an efficient inhibitor of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE, EC 3.4.15.1). ACE plays an important physiological role in the regulation of blood pressure by virtue of the rennin angiotensin ...

  15. Feeding behaviour in a ‘basal’ tortoise provides insights on the transitional feeding mode at the dawn of modern land turtle evolution

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nikolay Natchev

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available Almost all extant testudinids are highly associated with terrestrial habitats and the few tortoises with high affinity to aquatic environments are found within the genus Manouria. Manouria belongs to a clade which forms a sister taxon to all remaining tortoises and is suitable as a model for studying evolutionary transitions within modern turtles. We analysed the feeding behaviour of Manouria emys and due to its phylogenetic position, we hypothesise that the species might have retained some ancestral features associated with an aquatic lifestyle. We tested whether M. emys is able to feed both in aquatic and terrestrial environments. In fact, M. emys repetitively tried to reach submerged food items in water, but always failed to grasp them—no suction feeding mechanism was applied. When feeding on land, M. emys showed another peculiar behaviour; it grasped food items by its jaws—a behaviour typical for aquatic or semiaquatic turtles—and not by the tongue as generally accepted as the typical feeding mode in all tortoises studied so far. In M. emys, the hyolingual complex remained retracted during all food uptake sequences, but the food transport was entirely lingual based. The kinematical profiles significantly differed from those described for other tortoises and from those proposed from the general models on the function of the feeding systems in lower tetrapods. We conclude that the feeding behaviour of M. emys might reflect a remnant of the primordial condition expected in the aquatic ancestor of the tortoises.

  16. A potential predator-prey interaction of an American badger and an Agassiz's desert tortoise with a review of badger predation on turtles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Amanda L.; Puffer, Shellie R.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Tennant, Laura A.; Arundel, Terry; Vamstad, Michael S.; Brundige, Kathleen D.

    2016-01-01

    The federally threatened Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) was listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1990, but thus far, recovery efforts have been unsuccessful (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS] 2015). Predation has been identified as a contributing factor to declining G. agassizii populations range-wide (e.g., Esque et al. 2010, Lovich et al. 2014). Understanding and managing for predator-prey dynamics is thus an important part of the recovery and conservation of this threatened species (USFWS 2011). Desert tortoises have a host of predators at all stages of their life cycle. Over 20 species of birds, mammals, and reptiles have been recorded as known or suspected predators (Woodbury and Hardy 1948, Luckenbach 1982, Ernst and Lovich 2009). American badgers (Taxidea taxus, family: Mustelidae) are confirmed excavators of desert tortoise nests (Turner and Berry 1984). They are also suspected predators of adult desert tortoises, a possibility which has been presented in some studies but without empirical verification (Luckenbach 1982, Turner and Berry 1984). Active mostly at night, badgers are solitary, secretive predators (Lindzey 1978, 1982; Armitage 2004) that are extremely difficult to observe in predatory encounters. Recently, strong circumstantial evidence presented by Emblidge et al. (2015) suggests that badgers do prey on adult Agassiz’s desert tortoises based on observations of more than two dozen dead tortoises in the Western Mojave Desert of California. In this note, we present another case of potential badger predation on a large adult desert tortoise in the Sonoran Desert of California. Collectively, these recent two cases potentially indicate that badger predation may be more common and widespread than previously thought. In addition, we review the worldwide literature of badger predation on turtles in general and summarize reported badger observations in Joshua Tree National Park, where our observation occurred, over a

  17. Skeletal remodelling suggests the turtle's shell is not an evolutionary straitjacket

    OpenAIRE

    Cordero, Gerardo Antonio; Quinteros, Kevin

    2015-01-01

    Recent efforts to decipher the enigma of the turtle's shell revealed that distantly related turtle species deploy diverse processes during shell development. Even so, extant species share in common a shoulder blade (scapula) that is encapsulated within the shell. Thus, evolutionary change in the correlated development of the shell and scapula probably underpins the evolution of highly derived shell morphologies. To address this expectation, we conducted one of the most phylogenetically compre...

  18. The draft genomes of soft-shell turtle and green sea turtle yield insights into the development and evolution of the turtle-specific body plan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Zhuo; Pascual-Anaya, Juan; Zadissa, Amonida; Li, Wenqi; Niimura, Yoshihito; Huang, Zhiyong; Li, Chunyi; White, Simon; Xiong, Zhiqiang; Fang, Dongming; Wang, Bo; Ming, Yao; Chen, Yan; Zheng, Yuan; Kuraku, Shigehiro; Pignatelli, Miguel; Herrero, Javier; Beal, Kathryn; Nozawa, Masafumi; Li, Qiye; Wang, Juan; Zhang, Hongyan; Yu, Lili; Shigenobu, Shuji; Wang, Junyi; Liu, Jiannan; Flicek, Paul; Searle, Steve; Wang, Jun; Kuratani, Shigeru; Yin, Ye; Aken, Bronwen; Zhang, Guojie; Irie, Naoki

    2013-06-01

    The unique anatomical features of turtles have raised unanswered questions about the origin of their unique body plan. We generated and analyzed draft genomes of the soft-shell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) and the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas); our results indicated the close relationship of the turtles to the bird-crocodilian lineage, from which they split ∼267.9-248.3 million years ago (Upper Permian to Triassic). We also found extensive expansion of olfactory receptor genes in these turtles. Embryonic gene expression analysis identified an hourglass-like divergence of turtle and chicken embryogenesis, with maximal conservation around the vertebrate phylotypic period, rather than at later stages that show the amniote-common pattern. Wnt5a expression was found in the growth zone of the dorsal shell, supporting the possible co-option of limb-associated Wnt signaling in the acquisition of this turtle-specific novelty. Our results suggest that turtle evolution was accompanied by an unexpectedly conservative vertebrate phylotypic period, followed by turtle-specific repatterning of development to yield the novel structure of the shell.

  19. Geographic distribution of the tortoises and freshwater turtles of Colombia and their representation in the protected area network

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Forero Medina, German; Yusti Munoz, Ana Paola; Castano Mora, Olga V

    2014-01-01

    Colombia has a remarkable diversity of tortoises and freshwater turtles. However, a considerable portion of these species is threatened, and for others there is not enough information to make an adequate evaluation of their conservation status. This study is a first approximation to the quantitative evaluation of the geographic distribution of Colombia's non-marine chelonians. Based on records of occurrence for each species, we evaluated the geographic distribution using statistical models (maxent), hydrological basins, and the extent of occurrence and area of occupancy. Based on the presence data and the models, we studied the representation of each species in national natural parks (NNP), which correspond to the most rigorous conservation category of IUCN classification in Colombia, and other types of protected areas such as private reserves. We generated distribution models and estimated the area (km"2) for 25 out of 27 species in the country. This information will be valuable for updating and evaluating the threat categories at the national level. The areas with the highest species richness correspond to the riverine ecosystems of the Amazon and Orinoco River Basins and the Caribbean Region, particularly the Western Caribbean. This region is a top priority not only because of its richness but also because of the presence of endemics and its high level of threat. Only 56 % of the species have confirmed records within national parks. A greater portion could be present in these areas according to the statistical models, but only ten of those species would have more than 10 % of their ranges within a park's boundary. Although the resulting models have certain limitations due to the nature of the data and analyses, they can be a starting point for research on the occurrence of turtles in NNP. Endemic species are poorly represented in protected areas, both in NNP and in other categories. Thus, protected areas that can assure the persistence of their populations are

  20. Skeletal remodelling suggests the turtle's shell is not an evolutionary straitjacket.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cordero, Gerardo Antonio; Quinteros, Kevin

    2015-04-01

    Recent efforts to decipher the enigma of the turtle's shell revealed that distantly related turtle species deploy diverse processes during shell development. Even so, extant species share in common a shoulder blade (scapula) that is encapsulated within the shell. Thus, evolutionary change in the correlated development of the shell and scapula probably underpins the evolution of highly derived shell morphologies. To address this expectation, we conducted one of the most phylogenetically comprehensive surveys of turtle development, focusing on scapula growth and differentiation in embryos, hatchlings and adults of 13 species. We report, to our knowledge, the first description of secondary differentiation owing to skeletal remodelling of the tetrapod scapula in turtles with the most structurally derived shell phenotypes. Remodelling and secondary differentiation late in embryogenesis of box turtles (Emys and Terrapene) yielded a novel skeletal segment (i.e. the suprascapula) of high functional value to their complex shell-closing system. Remarkably, our analyses suggest that, in soft-shelled turtles (Trionychidae) with extremely flattened shells, a similar transformation is linked to truncated scapula growth. Skeletal remodelling, as a form of developmental plasticity, might enable the seemingly constrained turtle body plan to diversify, suggesting the shell is not an evolutionary straitjacket. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  1. The integumental appendages of the turtle shell: an evo-devo perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moustakas-Verho, Jacqueline E; Cherepanov, Gennadii O

    2015-05-01

    The turtle shell is composed of dorsal armor (carapace) and ventral armor (plastron) covered by a keratinized epithelium. There are two epithelial appendages of the turtle shell: scutes (large epidermal shields separated by furrows and forming a unique mosaic) and tubercles (numerous small epidermal bumps located on the carapaces of some species). In our perspective, we take a synthetic, comparative approach to consider the homology and evolution of these integumental appendages. Scutes have been more intensively studied, as they are autapomorphic for turtles and can be diagnostic taxonomically. Their pattern of tessellation is stable phylogenetically, but labile in the individual. We discuss the history of developmental investigations of these structures and hypotheses of evolutionary and anomalous variation. In our estimation, the scutes of the turtle shell are an evolutionary novelty, whereas the tubercles found on the shells of some turtles are homologous to reptilian scales. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  2. Morphometrics parallel genetics in a newly discovered and endangered taxon of Galápagos tortoise.

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    Ylenia Chiari

    2009-07-01

    Full Text Available Galápagos tortoises represent the only surviving lineage of giant tortoises that exhibit two different types of shell morphology. The taxonomy of Galápagos tortoises was initially based mainly on diagnostic morphological characters of the shell, but has been clarified by molecular studies indicating that most islands harbor monophyletic lineages, with the exception of Isabela and Santa Cruz. On Santa Cruz there is strong genetic differentiation between the two tortoise populations (Cerro Fatal and La Reserva exhibiting domed shell morphology. Here we integrate nuclear microsatellite and mitochondrial data with statistical analyses of shell shape morphology to evaluate whether the genetic distinction and variability of the two domed tortoise populations is paralleled by differences in shell shape. Based on our results, morphometric analyses support the genetic distinction of the two populations and also reveal that the level of genetic variation is associated with morphological shell shape variation in both populations. The Cerro Fatal population possesses lower levels of morphological and genetic variation compared to the La Reserva population. Because the turtle shell is a complex heritable trait, our results suggest that, for the Cerro Fatal population, non-neutral loci have probably experienced a parallel decrease in variability as that observed for the genetic data.

  3. The origin and loss of periodic patterning in the turtle shell.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moustakas-Verho, Jacqueline E; Zimm, Roland; Cebra-Thomas, Judith; Lempiäinen, Netta K; Kallonen, Aki; Mitchell, Katherine L; Hämäläinen, Keijo; Salazar-Ciudad, Isaac; Jernvall, Jukka; Gilbert, Scott F

    2014-08-01

    The origin of the turtle shell over 200 million years ago greatly modified the amniote body plan, and the morphological plasticity of the shell has promoted the adaptive radiation of turtles. The shell, comprising a dorsal carapace and a ventral plastron, is a layered structure formed by basal endochondral axial skeletal elements (ribs, vertebrae) and plates of bone, which are overlain by keratinous ectodermal scutes. Studies of turtle development have mostly focused on the bones of the shell; however, the genetic regulation of the epidermal scutes has not been investigated. Here, we show that scutes develop from an array of patterned placodes and that these placodes are absent from a soft-shelled turtle in which scutes were lost secondarily. Experimentally inhibiting Shh, Bmp or Fgf signaling results in the disruption of the placodal pattern. Finally, a computational model is used to show how two coupled reaction-diffusion systems reproduce both natural and abnormal variation in turtle scutes. Taken together, these placodal signaling centers are likely to represent developmental modules that are responsible for the evolution of scutes in turtles, and the regulation of these centers has allowed for the diversification of the turtle shell. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  4. The shell vasculature of Trachemys turtles investigated by modern 3D imaging techniques

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hansen, Kasper; Thygesen, Jesper; Nielsen, Tobias Wang

    Many freshwater turtles are extremely tolerant to the lack of oxygen and can survive the winter submerged in anoxic mud in ice-covered lakes. The pronounced anoxia-tolerance resides with a considerable depression of cellular metabolism and the ability to use the shell to buffer the acidosis arising...... from anaerobic metabolism (1). Infusion of microspheres has shown that the shell receives almost half of the cardiac output in turtles made anoxic at low temperatures (2). However, the vasculature of the turtle shell remains to be described. To visualise the vasculature within the carapace and plastron...... of the turtle Trachemys scripta, we perfused terminally anaesthetised turtles with different contrast enhancing agents (Microfil [lead n/a]), barium sulphate [250 mg/kg], and iodine [15-250 mg/kg]), and the animals were then scanned by both single source as well as dual energy Computed Tomographic systems...

  5. A thin-shelled reptile from the Late Triassic of North America and the origin of the turtle shell.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joyce, Walter G; Lucas, Spencer G; Scheyer, Torsten M; Heckert, Andrew B; Hunt, Adrian P

    2009-02-07

    A new, thin-shelled fossil from the Upper Triassic (Revueltian: Norian) Chinle Group of New Mexico, Chinlechelys tenertesta, is one of the most primitive known unambiguous members of the turtle stem lineage. The thin-shelled nature of the new turtle combined with its likely terrestrial habitat preference hint at taphonomic filters that basal turtles had to overcome before entering the fossil record. Chinlechelys tenertesta possesses neck spines formed by multiple osteoderms, indicating that the earliest known turtles were covered with rows of dermal armour. More importantly, the primitive, vertically oriented dorsal ribs of the new turtle are only poorly associated with the overlying costal bones, indicating that these two structures are independent ossifications in basal turtles. These novel observations lend support to the hypothesis that the turtle shell was originally a complex composite in which dermal armour fused with the endoskeletal ribs and vertebrae of an ancestral lineage instead of forming de novo. The critical shell elements (i.e. costals and neurals) are thus not simple outgrowths of the bone of the endoskeletal elements as has been hypothesized from some embryological observations.

  6. Hox code in embryos of Chinese soft-shelled turtle Pelodiscus sinensis correlates with the evolutionary innovation in the turtle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ohya, Yoshie Kawashima; Kuraku, Shigehiro; Kuratani, Shigeru

    2005-03-15

    Turtles have the most unusual body plan of the amniotes, with a dorsal shell consisting of modified ribs. Because this morphological change in the ribs can be described as an axial-level specific alteration, the evolution of the turtle carapace should depend on changes in the Hox code. To identify turtle-specific changes in developmental patterns, we cloned several Hox genes from the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis, examined their expression patterns during embryogenesis, and compared them with those of chicken and mouse embryos. We detected possibly turtle-specific derived traits in Hoxc-6 expression, which is restricted to the paraxial part of the embryo; in the expression of Hoxa-5 and Hoxb-5, the transcripts of which were detected only at the cervical level; and in Hoxc-8 and Hoxa-7 expression, which is shifted anteriorly relative to that of the other two amniote groups. From the known functions of the Hox orthologs in model animals, these P. sinensis-specific changes apparently correlate with specializations in the turtle-specific body plan. Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  7. The integumental appendages of the turtle shell: An evo-devo perspective

    OpenAIRE

    Moustakas-Verho, Jacqueline; Cherepanov, Gennadii

    2015-01-01

    The turtle shell is composed of dorsal armor (carapace) and ventral armor (plastron) covered by a keratinized epithelium. There are two epithelial appendages of the turtle shell: scutes (large epidermal shields separated by furrows and forming a unique mosaic) and tubercles (numerous small epidermal bumps located on the carapaces of some species). In our perspective, we take a synthetic, comparative approach to consider the homology and evolution of these integumental appendages. Scutes have ...

  8. GOPHERUS AGASSIZII (Desert Tortoise)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    JAMES L. BOONE, DANNY L. RAKESTRAW, AND KURT R. RAUTENSTRAUCH

    1997-01-01

    GOPHERLTS AGAISSIZII (Desert Tortoise). Predation. A variety of predators, most notably coyotes (Canis Iatrans) and Common Ravens (Corvis corau) have been reported to prey on hatchling desert tortoises (Emst et al. 1994). Turtles of the United States and Canada (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 578 pp.). Here, we report an observation of a hatchling tortoise, fitted with a radiotransmitter, that was preyed upon by native fire ants (Solenopsis sp.) in the eastern Mojave Desert at Yucca Mountain, Nevada (36 degrees 50 minutes N, 116 degree 25 minutes E). On 8/27/94, tortoise No.9315 (carapace length = 45 mm, age = 5 d) was found alive with eyes, chin, and parts of the head and legs being eaten by ants. The tortoise was alive, but lethargic, and responded little when touched. Eight of 74 other radiomarked hatchlings monitored at Yucca Mountain during 1992-1994 were found dead with fire ants on their carcass 3-7 days after the hatchlings emerged from their nests. It is not known whether those tortoises were killed by ants or were being scavenged when found. While imported fire ants (S. invicta) have long been known to kill hatchling gopher tortoises (G. polyphemus; Mount 1981. J. Alabama Acad. Sci. 52: 71-78), native fire ants have previously not been implicated as predators of desert tortoises. However, only 1 of 75 (or at worst 9 of 75) was killed by fire ants, suggesting that although fire ants do kill hatchlings, they were not important predators on desert tortoises during this study. Tortoise specimens were deposited at the University of California at Berkeley

  9. Development of the carapacial ridge: implications for the evolution of genetic networks in turtle shell development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moustakas, Jacqueline E

    2008-01-01

    Paleontologists and neontologists have long looked to development to understand the homologies of the dermal bones that form the "armor" of turtles, crocodiles, armadillos, and other vertebrates. This study shows molecular evidence supporting a dermomyotomal identity for the mesenchyme of the turtle carapacial ridge. The mesenchyme of the carapace primordium expresses Pax3, Twist1, Dermo1, En1, Sim1, and Gremlin at early stages and before overt ossification expresses Pax1. A hypothesis is proposed that this mesenchyme forms dermal bone in the turtle carapace. A comparison of regulatory gene expression in the primordia of the turtle carapace, the vertebrate limb, and the vertebral column implies the exaptation of key genetic networks in the development of the turtle shell. This work establishes a new role for this mesodermal compartment and highlights the importance of changes in genetic regulation in the evolution of morphology.

  10. The draft genomes of soft–shell turtle and green sea turtle yield insights into the development and evolution of the turtle–specific body plan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Niimura, Yoshihito; Huang, Zhiyong; Li, Chunyi; White, Simon; Xiong, Zhiqiang; Fang, Dongming; Wang, Bo; Ming, Yao; Chen, Yan; Zheng, Yuan; Kuraku, Shigehiro; Pignatelli, Miguel; Herrero, Javier; Beal, Kathryn; Nozawa, Masafumi; Li, Qiye; Wang, Juan; Zhang, Hongyan; Yu, Lili; Shigenobu, Shuji; Wang, Junyi; Liu, Jiannan; Flicek, Paul; Searle, Steve; Wang, Jun; Kuratani, Shigeru; Yin, Ye; Aken, Bronwen; Zhang, Guojie; Irie, Naoki

    2014-01-01

    The unique anatomical features of turtles have raised unanswered questions about the origin of their unique body plan. We generated and analyzed draft genomes of the soft-shell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) and the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas); our results indicated the close relationship of the turtles to the bird-crocodilian lineage, from which they split ~267.9–248.3 million years ago (Upper Permian to Triassic). We also found extensive expansion of olfactory receptor genes in these turtles. Embryonic gene expression analysis identified an hourglass-like divergence of turtle and chicken embryogenesis, with maximal conservation around the vertebrate phylotypic period, rather than at later stages that show the amniote-common pattern. Wnt5a expression was found in the growth zone of the dorsal shell, supporting the possible co-option of limb-associated Wnt signaling in the acquisition of this turtle-specific novelty. Our results suggest that turtle evolution was accompanied by an unexpectedly conservative vertebrate phylotypic period, followed by turtle-specific repatterning of development to yield the novel structure of the shell. PMID:23624526

  11. Msx genes are expressed in the carapacial ridge of turtle shell: a study of the European pond turtle, Emys orbicularis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vincent, Christine; Bontoux, Martine; Le Douarin, Nicole M; Pieau, Claude; Monsoro-Burq, Anne-Hélène

    2003-09-01

    The turtle shell forms by extensive ossification of dermis ventrally and dorsally. The carapacial ridge (CR) controls early dorsal shell formation and is thought to play a similar role in shell growth as the apical ectodermal ridge during limb development. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying carapace development are still unknown. Msx genes are involved in the development of limb mesenchyme and of various skeletal structures. In particular, precocious Msx expression is recorded in skeletal precursors that develop close to the ectoderm, such as vertebral spinous processes or skull. Here, we have studied the embryonic expression of Msx genes in the European pond turtle, Emys orbicularis. The overall Msx expression in head, limb, and trunk is similar to what is observed in other vertebrates. We have focused on the CR area and pre-skeletal shell condensations. The CR expresses Msx genes transiently, in a pattern similar to that of fgf10. In the future carapace domain, the dermis located dorsal to the spinal cord expresses Msx genes, as in other vertebrates, but we did not see expansion of this expression in the dermis located more laterally, on top of the dermomyotomes. In the ventral plastron, although the dermal osseous condensations form in the embryonic Msx-positive somatopleura, we did not observe enhanced Msx expression around these elements. These observations may indicate that common mechanisms participate in limb bud and CR early development, but that pre-differentiation steps differ between shell and other skeletal structures and involve other gene activities than that of Msx genes.

  12. The draft genomes of soft–shell turtle and green sea turtle yield insights into the development and evolution of the turtle–specific body plan

    OpenAIRE

    Wang, Zhuo; Pascual-Anaya, Juan; Zadissa, Amonida; Li, Wenqi; Niimura, Yoshihito; Huang, Zhiyong; Li, Chunyi; White, Simon; Xiong, Zhiqiang; Fang, Dongming; Wang, Bo; Ming, Yao; Chen, Yan; Zheng, Yuan; Kuraku, Shigehiro

    2013-01-01

    The unique anatomical features of turtles have raised unanswered questions about the origin of their unique body plan. We generated and analyzed draft genomes of the soft-shell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) and the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas); our results indicated the close relationship of the turtles to the bird-crocodilian lineage, from which they split ~267.9–248.3 million years ago (Upper Permian to Triassic). We also found extensive expansion of olfactory receptor genes in these tu...

  13. Morphological Evolution of the Turtle Shell and its Mechanical Implications, Part 2: Theoretical

    OpenAIRE

    McLaughlin, Connor

    2016-01-01

    Evolutionary biologists have considered understanding the relationship between organismal morphology and functional performance to be fundamental for understanding phenotypic diversification. Numerous studies have investigated performance and morphological evolution within lineages. However, far less attention has been paid to the relationship between performance and morphological diversification among lineages. This study develops the turtle shell as a model system for studying morphological...

  14. Multi-scale hierarchy of Chelydra serpentina: microstructure and mechanical properties of turtle shell.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Balani, Kantesh; Patel, Riken R; Keshri, Anup K; Lahiri, Debrupa; Agarwal, Arvind

    2011-10-01

    Carapace, the protective shell of a freshwater snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina, shields them from ferocious attacks of their predators while maintaining light-weight and agility for a swim. The microstructure and mechanical properties of the turtle shell are very appealing to materials scientists and engineers for bio-mimicking, to obtain a multi-functional surface. In this study, we have elucidated the complex microstructure of a dry Chelydra serpentina's shell which is very similar to a multi-layered composite structure. The microstructure of a turtle shell's carapace elicits a sandwich structure of waxy top surface with a harder sub-surface layer serving as a shielding structure, followed by a lamellar carbonaceous layer serving as shock absorber, and the inner porous matrix serves as a load-bearing scaffold while acting as reservoir of retaining water and nutrients. The mechanical properties (elastic modulus and hardness) of various layers obtained via nanoindentation corroborate well with the functionality of each layer. Elastic modulus ranged between 0.47 and 22.15 GPa whereas hardness varied between 53.7 and 522.2 MPa depending on the microstructure of the carapace layer. Consequently, the modulus of each layer was represented into object oriented finite element (OOF2) modeling towards extracting the overall effective modulus of elasticity (~4.75 GPa) of a turtle's carapace. Stress distribution of complex layered structure was elicited with an applied strain of 1% in order to understand the load sharing of various composite layers in the turtle's carapace. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Comparative Genomics Identifies Epidermal Proteins Associated with the Evolution of the Turtle Shell.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holthaus, Karin Brigit; Strasser, Bettina; Sipos, Wolfgang; Schmidt, Heiko A; Mlitz, Veronika; Sukseree, Supawadee; Weissenbacher, Anton; Tschachler, Erwin; Alibardi, Lorenzo; Eckhart, Leopold

    2016-03-01

    The evolution of reptiles, birds, and mammals was associated with the origin of unique integumentary structures. Studies on lizards, chicken, and humans have suggested that the evolution of major structural proteins of the outermost, cornified layers of the epidermis was driven by the diversification of a gene cluster called Epidermal Differentiation Complex (EDC). Turtles have evolved unique defense mechanisms that depend on mechanically resilient modifications of the epidermis. To investigate whether the evolution of the integument in these reptiles was associated with specific adaptations of the sequences and expression patterns of EDC-related genes, we utilized newly available genome sequences to determine the epidermal differentiation gene complement of turtles. The EDC of the western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii) comprises more than 100 genes, including at least 48 genes that encode proteins referred to as beta-keratins or corneous beta-proteins. Several EDC proteins have evolved cysteine/proline contents beyond 50% of total amino acid residues. Comparative genomics suggests that distinct subfamilies of EDC genes have been expanded and partly translocated to loci outside of the EDC in turtles. Gene expression analysis in the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) showed that EDC genes are differentially expressed in the skin of the various body sites and that a subset of beta-keratin genes within the EDC as well as those located outside of the EDC are expressed predominantly in the shell. Our findings give strong support to the hypothesis that the evolutionary innovation of the turtle shell involved specific molecular adaptations of epidermal differentiation. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

  16. The Agassiz's desert tortoise genome provides a resource for the conservation of a threatened species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marc Tollis

    Full Text Available Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii is a long-lived species native to the Mojave Desert and is listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. To aid conservation efforts for preserving the genetic diversity of this species, we generated a whole genome reference sequence with an annotation based on deep transcriptome sequences of adult skeletal muscle, lung, brain, and blood. The draft genome assembly for G. agassizii has a scaffold N50 length of 252 kbp and a total length of 2.4 Gbp. Genome annotation reveals 20,172 protein-coding genes in the G. agassizii assembly, and that gene structure is more similar to chicken than other turtles. We provide a series of comparative analyses demonstrating (1 that turtles are among the slowest-evolving genome-enabled reptiles, (2 amino acid changes in genes controlling desert tortoise traits such as shell development, longevity and osmoregulation, and (3 fixed variants across the Gopherus species complex in genes related to desert adaptations, including circadian rhythm and innate immune response. This G. agassizii genome reference and annotation is the first such resource for any tortoise, and will serve as a foundation for future analysis of the genetic basis of adaptations to the desert environment, allow for investigation into genomic factors affecting tortoise health, disease and longevity, and serve as a valuable resource for additional studies in this species complex.

  17. Molecular phylogenetics of emydine turtles: taxonomic revision and the evolution of shell kinesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feldman, Chris R; Parham, James Ford

    2002-03-01

    The 10 extant species of emydine turtles represent an array of morphological and ecological forms recognizable and popular among scientists and hobbyists. Nevertheless, the phylogenetic affinities of most emydines remain contentious. Here, we examine the evolutionary relationships of emydine turtles using 2092 bp of DNA encoding the mitochondrial genes cyt b, ND4, and adjacent tRNAs. These data contain 339 parsimony informative characters that we use to erect hypotheses of relationships for the Emydinae. Both maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods yield a monophyletic Emydinae in which all but three nodes are well resolved. Emys orbicularis, Emydoidea blandingii, and Clemmys marmorata form a monophyletic clade, as do the species of Terrapene. Clemmys muhlenbergii and Clemmys insculpta form a third monophyletic group that may be sister to all other emydines. Clemmys guttata is problematic and probably related to Terrapene. Based on this phylogeny, and previous molecular work on the group, we suggest the following taxonomic revisions: (1) Clemmys should be restricted to a single species, C. guttata. (2) Calemys should be resurrected for C. muhlenbergii and C. insculpta. (3) Emys should be expanded to include three species: E. orbicularis, E. blandingii, and E. marmorata. Furthermore, our analyses show that neither kinetic-shelled nor akinetic-shelled emydines form monophyletic groups. Therefore, shell kinesis was either independently gained in Emys and Terrapene or secondarily lost in E. marmorata and C. guttata. Parsimony, paleontological evidence, and the multiple origins of shell kinesis in related turtle lineages (especially geoemydines) support the independent origin of plastral kinesis.

  18. Adaptive Patterns of Mitogenome Evolution Are Associated with the Loss of Shell Scutes in Turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Escalona, Tibisay; Weadick, Cameron J; Antunes, Agostinho

    2017-10-01

    The mitochondrial genome encodes several protein components of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) pathway and is critical for aerobic respiration. These proteins have evolved adaptively in many taxa, but linking molecular-level patterns with higher-level attributes (e.g., morphology, physiology) remains a challenge. Turtles are a promising system for exploring mitochondrial genome evolution as different species face distinct respiratory challenges and employ multiple strategies for ensuring efficient respiration. One prominent adaptation to a highly aquatic lifestyle in turtles is the secondary loss of keratenized shell scutes (i.e., soft-shells), which is associated with enhanced swimming ability and, in some species, cutaneous respiration. We used codon models to examine patterns of selection on mitochondrial protein-coding genes along the three turtle lineages that independently evolved soft-shells. We found strong evidence for positive selection along the branches leading to the pig-nosed turtle (Carettochelys insculpta) and the softshells clade (Trionychidae), but only weak evidence for the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) branch. Positively selected sites were found to be particularly prevalent in OXPHOS Complex I proteins, especially subunit ND2, along both positively selected lineages, consistent with convergent adaptive evolution. Structural analysis showed that many of the identified sites are within key regions or near residues involved in proton transport, indicating that positive selection may have precipitated substantial changes in mitochondrial function. Overall, our study provides evidence that physiological challenges associated with adaptation to a highly aquatic lifestyle have shaped the evolution of the turtle mitochondrial genome in a lineage-specific manner. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  19. Data Hiding Based on a Two-Layer Turtle Shell Matrix

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    Xiao-Zhu Xie

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Data hiding is a technology that embeds data into a cover carrier in an imperceptible way while still allowing the hidden data to be extracted accurately from the stego-carrier, which is one important branch of computer science and has drawn attention of scholars in the last decade. Turtle shell-based (TSB schemes have become popular in recent years due to their higher embedding capacity (EC and better visual quality of the stego-image than most of the none magic matrices based (MMB schemes. This paper proposes a two-layer turtle shell matrix-based (TTSMB scheme for data hiding, in which an extra attribute presented by a 4-ary digit is assigned to each element of the turtle shell matrix with symmetrical distribution. Therefore, compared with the original TSB scheme, two more bits are embedded into each pixel pair to obtain a higher EC up to 2.5 bits per pixel (bpp. The experimental results reveal that under the condition of the same visual quality, the EC of the proposed scheme outperforms state-of-the-art data hiding schemes.

  20. Morphological and mechanical changes in juvenile red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) shells during ontogeny.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fish, Jennifer F; Stayton, Charles T

    2014-04-01

    Turtles experience numerous modifications in the morphological, physiological, and mechanical characteristics of their shells through ontogeny. Although a general picture is available of the nature of these modifications, few quantitative studies have been conducted on changes in turtle shell shape through ontogeny, and none on changes in strength or rigidity. This study investigates the morphological and mechanical changes that juvenile Trachemys scripta elegans undergo as they increase in size. Morphology and shell rigidity were quantified in a sample of 36 alcohol-preserved juvenile Trachemys scripta elegans. Morphometric information was used to create finite element models of all specimens. These models were used to assess the mechanical behavior of the shells under various loading conditions. Overall, we find that turtles experience complementary changes in size, shape, deformability, and relative strength as they grow. As turtles age their shells become larger, more elongate, relatively flatter, and more rigid. These changes are associated with decreases in relative (size independent) strength, even though the shells of larger turtles are stronger in an absolute sense. Decreased deformability is primarily due to changes in the size of the animals. Residual variation in deformability cannot be explained by changes in shell shape. This variation is more likely due to changes in the degree of connectedness of the skeletal elements in the turtle's shells, along with changes in the thickness and degree of mineralization of shell bone. We suggest that the mechanical implications of shell size, shape, and deformability may have a large impact on survivorship and development in members of this species as they mature. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  1. Biomechanics on the half shell: functional performance influences patterns of morphological variation in the emydid turtle carapace.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stayton, C Tristan

    2011-09-01

    This study uses the carapace of emydid turtles to address hypothesized differences between terrestrial and aquatic species. Geometric morphometrics are used to quantify shell shape, and performance is estimated for two shell functions: shell strength and hydrodynamics. Aquatic turtle shells differ in shape from terrestrial turtle shells and are characterized by lower frontal areas and presumably lower drag. Terrestrial turtle shells are stronger than those of aquatic turtles; many-to-one mapping of morphology to function does not entirely mitigate a functional trade-off between mechanical strength and hydrodynamic performance. Furthermore, areas of morphospace characterized by exceptionally poor performance in either of the functions are not occupied by any emydid species. Though aquatic and terrestrial species show no significant differences in the rate of morphological evolution, aquatic species show a higher lineage density, indicative of a greater amount of convergence in their evolutionary history. The techniques employed in this study, including the modeling of theoretical shapes to assess performance in unoccupied areas of morphospace, suggest a framework for future studies of morphological variation. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  2. Effect of thermal acclimation on thermal preference, resistance and locomotor performance of hatchling soft-shelled turtle

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mei-Xian WU,Ling-Jun HU, Wei DANG, Hong-Liang LU, Wei-Guo DU

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available The significant influence of thermal acclimation on physiological and behavioral performance has been documented in many ectothermic animals, but such studies are still limited in turtle species. We acclimated hatchling soft-shelled turtles Pelodiscus sinensis under three thermal conditions (10, 20 and 30 °C for 4 weeks, and then measured selected body temperature (Tsel, critical thermal minimum (CTMin and maximum (CTMax, and locomotor performance at different body temperatures. Thermal acclimation significantly affected thermal preference and resistance of P. sinensis hatchlings. Hatchling turtles acclimated to 10 °C selected relatively lower body temperatures and were less resistant to high temperatures than those acclimated to 20 °C and 30 °C. The turtles’ resistance to low temperatures increased with a decreasing acclimation temperature. The thermal resistance range (i.e. the difference between CTMax and CTMin, TRR was widest in turtles acclimated to 20 °C, and narrowest in those acclimated to 10 °C. The locomotor performance of turtles was affected by both body temperature and acclimation temperature. Hatchling turtles acclimated to relatively higher temperatures swam faster than did those acclimated to lower temperatures. Accordingly, hatchling turtles acclimated to a particular temperature may not enhance the performance at that temperature. Instead, hatchlings acclimated to relatively warm temperatures have a better performance, supporting the “hotter is better” hypothesis [Current Zoology 59 (6 : 718–724, 2013 ].

  3. Unusual shell anatomy and osteohistology in a new Late Cretaceous panchelid turtle from northwestern Patagonia, Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcelo S. De La Fuente

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Rionegrochelys caldieroi de la Fuente, Maniel, and Jannello gen. et sp. nov. is a Late Cretaceous turtle from Rio Negro Province, Argentina. The holotype and the referred specimens of this new species show an unusual shell morphology and microanatomy. The proportion between the carapace and plastron and the peculiar morphology of the shell such as the heart shaped carapace, a very deep nuchal notch, peripheral bones 2–11 with strongly gutter, the first vertebral scute twice as wide as long and subrectangular in shape, the posterior margin of vertebral scute 5 is three lobe shaped, and the unexpected osteohistology characterized by a massive structure, with higher compactness (80.6% than other chelids, suggests beyond doubt that this turtle may be considered a new taxon. A semi-aquatic habitat with tendency towards terrestrial environments is inferred for Rionegrochelys caldieroi similar to that of the extant pelomedusid Pelomedusa subrufa among the extant pleurodires. Rionegrochelys caldieroi is recovered as a stem chelid. This new species seems to be closely related to Bonapartemys bajobarrealis and the clade formed by Lomalatachelys neuquina plus Mendozachelys wichmanni.

  4. The evolutionary origin of the turtle shell and its dependence on the axial arrest of the embryonic rib cage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hirasawa, Tatsuya; Pascual-Anaya, Juan; Kamezaki, Naoki; Taniguchi, Mari; Mine, Kanako; Kuratani, Shigeru

    2015-05-01

    Turtles are characterized by their possession of a shell with dorsal and ventral moieties: the carapace and the plastron, respectively. In this review, we try to provide answers to the question of the evolutionary origin of the carapace, by revising morphological, developmental, and paleontological comparative analyses. The turtle carapace is formed through modification of the thoracic ribs and vertebrae, which undergo extensive ossification to form a solid bony structure. Except for peripheral dermal elements, there are no signs of exoskeletal components ontogenetically added to the costal and neural bones, and thus the carapace is predominantly of endoskeletal nature. Due to the axial arrest of turtle rib growth, the axial part of the embryo expands laterally and the shoulder girdle becomes encapsulated in the rib cage, together with the inward folding of the lateral body wall in the late phase of embryogenesis. Along the line of this folding develops a ridge called the carapacial ridge (CR), a turtle-specific embryonic structure. The CR functions in the marginal growth of the carapacial primordium, in which Wnt signaling pathway might play a crucial role. Both paleontological and genomic evidence suggest that the axial arrest is the first step toward acquisition of the turtle body plan, which is estimated to have taken place after the divergence of a clade including turtles from archosaurs. The developmental relationship between the CR and the axial arrest remains a central issue to be solved in future. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  5. Evolutionary developmental perspective for the origin of turtles: the folding theory for the shell based on the developmental nature of the carapacial ridge.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuratani, Shigeru; Kuraku, Shigehiro; Nagashima, Hiroshi

    2011-01-01

    The body plan of the turtle represents an example of evolutionary novelty for acquisition of the shell. Unlike similar armors in other vertebrate groups, the turtle shell involves the developmental repatterning of the axial skeleton and exhibits an unusual topography of musculoskeletal elements. Thus, the turtle provides an ideal case study for understanding changes in the developmental program associated with the morphological evolution of vertebrates. In this article, the evolution of the turtle-specific body plan is reviewed and discussed. The key to understanding shell patterning lies in the modification of the ribs, for which the carapacial ridge (CR), a turtle-specific embryonic anlage, is assumed to be responsible. The growth of the ribs is arrested in the axial part of the body, allowing dorsal and lateral oriented growth to encapsulate the scapula. Although the CR does not appear to induce this axial arrest per se, it has been shown to support the fan-shaped patterning of the ribs, which occurs concomitant with marginal growth of the carapace along the line of the turtle-specific folding that takes place in the lateral body wall. During the process of the folding, some trunk muscles maintain their ancestral connectivities, whereas the limb muscles establish new attachments specific to the turtle. The turtle body plan can thus be explained with our knowledge of vertebrate anatomy and developmental biology, consistent with the evolutionary origin of the turtle suggested by the recently discovered fossil species, Odontochelys. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  6. How the turtle forms its shell: a paracrine hypothesis of carapace formation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cebra-Thomas, Judith; Tan, Fraser; Sistla, Seeta; Estes, Eileen; Bender, Gunes; Kim, Christine; Riccio, Paul; Gilbert, Scott F

    2005-11-15

    We propose a two-step model for the evolutionary origin of the turtle shell. We show here that the carapacial ridge (CR) is critical for the entry of the ribs into the dorsal dermis. Moreover, we demonstrate that the maintenance of the CR and its ability to attract the migrating rib precursor cells depend upon fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling. Inhibitors of FGF allow the CR to degenerate, with the consequent migration of ribs along the ventral body wall. Beads containing FGF10 can rearrange rib migration in the chick, suggesting that the CR FGF10 plays an important role in attracting the rib rudiments. The co-ordinated growth of the carapacial plate and the ribs may be a positive feedback loop (similar to that of the limbs) caused by the induction of Fgf8 in the distal tips of the ribs by the FGF10-secreting mesenchyme of the CR. Once in the dermis, the ribs undergo endochrondral ossification. We provide evidence that the ribs act as signaling centers for the dermal ossification and that this ossification is due to bone morphogenetic proteins secreted by the rib. Thus, once the ribs are within the dermis, the ossification of the dermis is not difficult to achieve. This relatively rapid means of carapace formation would allow for the appearance of turtles in the fossil record without obvious intermediates. Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  7. Morphogenesis of the turtle shell: the development of a novel structure in tetrapod evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilbert, S F; Loredo, G A; Brukman, A; Burke, A C

    2001-01-01

    The turtle shell is an evolutionary novelty that is synapomorphic for chelonians. The carapace is initiated by the entrapment of the ribs by the carapacial ridge (CR), a lateral bulge of the dorsal ectoderm and dermal mesoderm. The mechanisms by which the CR is initiated, the ribs entrapped and the dorsal dermis ossified, remains unknown. Similarly, the formation of the plastron remains unexplained. Here, we present a series of anatomical investigations into plastron and carapace formation in the red-eared slider, Trachemys scripta, and the snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina. We document the entrapment of the ribs by the CR and the formation of the plastron and carapacial bones by intramembranous ossification. We note the formation of the ossification centers around each rib, which suggest that the rib is organizing dermal ossification by secreting paracrine factors. The nuchal ossification center is complex and appears to involve multiple bone-forming regions. Individual ossification centers at the periphery of the carapace form the peripheral and pygial bones. The intramembranous ossification of the plastron proceeds from nine distinct ossification centers, and there appear to be interactions between the spicules of apposing centers as they draw near each other.

  8. Surface protection in bio-shields via a functional soft skin layer: Lessons from the turtle shell.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shelef, Yaniv; Bar-On, Benny

    2017-09-01

    The turtle shell is a functional bio-shielding element, which has evolved naturally to provide protection against predator attacks that involve biting and clawing. The near-surface architecture of the turtle shell includes a soft bi-layer skin coating - rather than a hard exterior - which functions as a first line of defense against surface damage. This architecture represents a novel type of bio-shielding configuration, namely, an inverse structural-mechanical design, rather than the hard-coated bio-shielding elements identified so far. In the current study, we used experimentally based structural modeling and FE simulations to analyze the mechanical significance of this unconventional protection architecture in terms of resistance to surface damage upon extensive indentations. We found that the functional bi-layer skin of the turtle shell, which provides graded (soft-softer-hard) mechanical characteristics to the bio-shield exterior, serves as a bumper-buffer mechanism. This material-level adaptation protects the inner core from the highly localized indentation loads via stress delocalization and extensive near-surface plasticity. The newly revealed functional bi-layer coating architecture can potentially be adapted, using synthetic materials, to considerably enhance the surface load-bearing capabilities of various engineering configurations. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Variation in osteocytes morphology vs bone type in turtle shell and their exceptional preservation from the Jurassic to the present.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cadena, Edwin A; Schweitzer, Mary H

    2012-09-01

    Here we describe variations in osteocytes derived from each of the three bone layers that comprise the turtle shell. We examine osteocytes in bone from four extant turtle species to form a morphological 'baseline', and then compare these with morphologies of osteocytes preserved in Cenozoic and Mesozoic fossils. Two different morphotypes of osteocytes are recognized: flattened-oblate osteocytes (FO osteocytes), which are particularly abundant in the internal cortex and lamellae of secondary osteons in cancellous bone, and stellate osteocytes (SO osteocytes), principally present in the interstitial lamellae between secondary osteons and external cortex. We show that the morphology of osteocytes in each of the three bone layers is conserved through ontogeny. We also demonstrate that these morphological variations are phylogenetically independent, as well as independent of the bone origin (intramembranous or endochondral). Preservation of microstructures consistent with osteocytes in the morphology in Cenozoic and Mesozoic fossil turtle bones appears to be common, and occurs in diverse diagenetic environments including marine, freshwater, and terrestrial deposits. These data have potential to illuminate aspects of turtle biology and evolution previously unapproachable, such as estimates of genome size of extinct species, differences in metabolic rates among different bones from a single individual, and potential function of osteocytes as capsules for preservation of ancient biomolecules. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  10. Predation on the tent tortoise Psammobates tentorius : a whodunit ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The collection of 63 shells of the tent tortoise Psammobates tentorius in the Bushmanland Nama Karoo revealed that 49% of them had been cleanly broken open and the body of the tortoise removed. The line of the single break of the plastron approximated the humeral-pectoral joint of the overlying shields. The lack of tooth ...

  11. 21 CFR 1240.62 - Turtles intrastate and interstate requirements.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2010-04-01 2010-04-01 false Turtles intrastate and interstate requirements....62 Turtles intrastate and interstate requirements. (a) Definition. As used in this section the term “turtles” includes all animals commonly known as turtles, tortoises, terrapins, and all other animals of...

  12. Differences in neurogenesis differentiate between core and shell regions of auditory nuclei in the turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis): evolutionary implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeng, Shao-Ju; Xi, Chao; Zhang, Xin-Wen; Zuo, Ming-Xue

    2007-01-01

    There is a clear core-versus-shell distinction in cytoarchitecture, electrophysiological properties and neural connections in the mesencephalic and diencephalic auditory nuclei of amniotes. Determining whether the embryogenesis of auditory nuclei shows a similar organization is helpful for further understanding the constituent organization and evolution of auditory nuclei. Therefore in the present study, we injected [(3)H]-thymidine into turtle embryos (Pelodiscus sinensis) at various stages of development. Upon hatching, [(3)H]-thymidine labeling was examined in both the core and shell auditory regions in the midbrain, diencephalon and dorsal ventricular ridge. Met-enkephalin and substance P immunohistochemistry was used to distinguish the core and shell regions. In the mesencephalic auditory nucleus, the occurrence of heavily labeled neurons in the nucleus centralis of the torus semicircularis reached its peak at embryonic day 9, one day later than the surrounding shell. In the diencephalic auditory nucleus, the production of heavily labeled neurons in the central region of the reuniens (Re) was highest at embryonic day (E) 8, one day later than that in the shell region of reuniens. In the region of the dorsal ventricular ridge that received inputs from the central region of Re, the appearance of heavily labeled neurons also reached a peak one day later than that in the area receiving inputs from the shell region of reuniens. Thus, there is a core-versus-shell organization of neuronal generation in reptilian auditory areas. Copyright (c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  13. Molecular cloning of the cDNA encoding follicle-stimulating hormone beta subunit of the Chinese soft-shell turtle Pelodiscus sinensis, and its gene expression.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chien, Jung-Tsun; Shen, San-Tai; Lin, Yao-Sung; Yu, John Yuh-Lin

    2005-04-01

    Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is a member of the pituitary glycoprotein hormone family. These hormones are composed of two dissimilar subunits, alpha and beta. Very little information is available regarding the nucleotide and amino acid sequence of FSHbeta in reptilian species. For better understanding of the phylogenetic diversity and evolution of FSH molecule, we have isolated and sequenced the complementary DNA (cDNA) encoding the Chinese soft-shell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis, Family of Trionychidae) FSHbeta precursor molecule by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and rapid amplification of cDNA end (RACE) methods. The cloned Chinese soft-shell turtle FSHbeta cDNA consists of 602-bp nucleotides, including 34-bp nucleotides of the 5'-untranslated region (UTR), 396-bp of the open reading frame, and 3'-UTR of 206-bp nucleotides. It encodes a 131-amino acid precursor molecule of FSHbeta subunit with a signal peptide of 20 amino acids followed by a mature protein of 111 amino acids. Twelve cysteine residues, forming six disulfide bonds within beta-subunit and two putative asparagine-linked glycosylation sites, are also conserved in the Chinese soft-shell turtle FSHbeta subunit. The deduced amino acid sequence of the Chinese soft-shell turtle FSHbeta shares identities of 97% with Reeves's turtle (Family of Bataguridae), 83-89% with birds, 61-70% with mammals, 63-66% with amphibians and 40-58% with fish. By contrast, when comparing the FSHbeta with the beta-subunits of the Chinese soft-shell turtle luteinizing hormone and thyroid stimulating hormone, the homologies are as low as 38 and 39%, respectively. A phylogenetic tree including reptilian species of FSHbeta subunits, is presented for the first time. Out of various tissues examined, FSHbeta mRNA was only expressed in the pituitary gland and can be up-regulated by gonadotropin-releasing hormone in pituitary tissue culture as estimated by fluorescence real-time PCR analysis.

  14. Effects of brown fish meal replacement with fermented soybean meal on growth performance, feed efficiency and enzyme activities of Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zou, Yurong; Ai, Qinghui; Mai, Kangsen; Zhang, Wenbing; Zhang, Yanjiao; Xu, Wei

    2012-06-01

    A 120-day feeding experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of partial replacement of brown fish meal (BFM) by fermented soybean meal (FSBM) in diets of Chinese soft-shelled turtle ( Pelodiscus sinensis). The turtles (initial mean body weight, (115.52 ± 1.05) g) were fed with three experimental diets, in which 0%, 4.72% and 9.44% BFM protein was replaced by 0%, 3% and 6% FSBM, respectively. Results showed that the feeding rate (FR), specific growth rate (SGR) and feed efficiency ratio (FER) of turtles fed with the diet containing 3% FSBM were not significantly different from the control group (0% FSBM) ( P > 0.05). However, FR, SGR and FER of turtles fed with the diet containing 6% FSBM were significantly lower than those of the control group ( P 0.05). However, the uric acid concentration in turtles fed with the diet containing 3% or 6% FSBM was significantly lower than that in the control group ( P 0.05). The results suggested that FSBM could replace 4.72% BFM protein in turtle diets without exerting adverse effects on turtle growth, feed utilization and measured immune parameters.

  15. Finite element modeling of shell shape in the freshwater turtle Pseudemys concinna reveals a trade-off between mechanical strength and hydrodynamic efficiency.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rivera, Gabriel; Stayton, C Tristan

    2011-10-01

    Aquatic species can experience different selective pressures on morphology in different flow regimes. Species inhabiting lotic regimes often adapt to these conditions by evolving low-drag (i.e., streamlined) morphologies that reduce the likelihood of dislodgment or displacement. However, hydrodynamic factors are not the only selective pressures influencing organismal morphology and shapes well suited to flow conditions may compromise performance in other roles. We investigated the possibility of morphological trade-offs in the turtle Pseudemys concinna. Individuals living in lotic environments have flatter, more streamlined shells than those living in lentic environments; however, this flatter shape may also make the shells less capable of resisting predator-induced loads. We tested the idea that "lotic" shell shapes are weaker than "lentic" shell shapes, concomitantly examining effects of sex. Geometric morphometric data were used to transform an existing finite element shell model into a series of models corresponding to the shapes of individual turtles. Models were assigned identical material properties and loaded under identical conditions, and the stresses produced by a series of eight loads were extracted to describe the strength of the shells. "Lotic" shell shapes produced significantly higher stresses than "lentic" shell shapes, indicating that the former is weaker than the latter. Females had significantly stronger shell shapes than males, although these differences were less consistent than differences between flow regimes. We conclude that, despite the potential for many-to-one mapping of shell shape onto strength, P. concinna experiences a trade-off in shell shape between hydrodynamic and mechanical performance. This trade-off may be evident in many other turtle species or any other aquatic species that also depend on a shell for defense. However, evolution of body size may provide an avenue of escape from this trade-off in some cases, as changes in

  16. Terrestrial Turtle Habitats Potentially Impacted

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Dickerson, Dena

    1999-01-01

    .... This group includes the tortoises and box turtles with two species Federally threatened and three species having protection in at least one state. Three of these protected species are associated with environmental issues at 21 USACE projects from 5 USACE Districts.

  17. Homology of the enigmatic nuchal bone reveals novel reorganization of the shoulder girdle in the evolution of the turtle shell.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyson, Tyler R; Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S; Bever, Gabe S; Joyce, Walter G; de Queiroz, Kevin; Abzhanov, Arhat; Gauthier, Jacques A

    2013-01-01

    The turtle shell represents a unique modification of the ancestral tetrapod body plan. The homologies of its approximately 50 bones have been the subject of debate for more than 200 years. Although most of those homologies are now firmly established, the evolutionary origin of the dorsal median nuchal bone of the carapace remains unresolved. We propose a novel hypothesis in which the nuchal is derived from the paired, laterally positioned cleithra-dorsal elements of the ancestral tetrapod pectoral girdle that are otherwise retained among extant tetrapods only in frogs. This hypothesis is supported by origin of the nuchal as paired, mesenchymal condensations likely derived from the neural crest followed by a unique two-stage pattern of ossification. Further support is drawn from the establishment of the nuchal as part of a highly conserved "muscle scaffold" wherein the cleithrum (and its evolutionary derivatives) serves as the origin of the Musculus trapezius. Identification of the nuchal as fused cleithra is congruent with its general spatial relationships to other elements of the shoulder girdle in the adult morphology of extant turtles, and it is further supported by patterns of connectivity and transformations documented by critical fossils from the turtle stem group. The cleithral derivation of the nuchal implies an anatomical reorganization of the pectoral girdle in which the dermal portion of the girdle was transformed from a continuous lateral-ventral arc into separate dorsal and ventral components. This transformation involved the reduction and eventual loss of the scapular rami of the clavicles along with the dorsal and superficial migration of the cleithra, which then fused with one another and became incorporated into the carapace. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  18. Delineating modern variation from extinct morphology in the fossil record using shells of the Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina)

    Science.gov (United States)

    2018-01-01

    Characterization of morphological variation in the shells of extant Eastern Box Turtles, Terrapene carolina, provides a baseline for comparison to fossil populations. It also provides an example of the difficulties inherent to recognizing intraspecific diversity in the fossil record. The degree to which variation in fossils of T. carolina can be accommodated by extant variation in the species has been disagreed upon for over eighty years. Using morphometric analyses of the carapace, I address the relationship between modern and fossil T. carolina in terms of sexual dimorphism, geographic and subspecific variation, and allometric variation. Modern T. carolina display weak male-biased sexual size dimorphism. Sexual shape dimorphism cannot be reliably detected in the fossil record. Rather than a four-part subspecific division, patterns of geographic variation are more consistent with clinal variation between various regions in the species distribution. Allometric patterns are qualitatively similar to those documented in other emydid turtles and explain a significant amount of shape variation. When allometric patterns are accounted for, Holocene specimens are not significantly different from modern specimens. In contrast, several geologically older specimens have significantly different carapace shape with no modern analogue. Those large, fossilized specimens represent extinct variation occupying novel portions of morphospace. This study highlights the need for additional documentation of modern osteological variation that can be used to test hypotheses of intraspecific evolution in the fossil record. PMID:29513709

  19. One foot out the door: limb function during swimming in terrestrial versus aquatic turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Vanessa K Hilliard; Vest, Kaitlyn G; Rivera, Angela R V; Espinoza, Nora R; Blob, Richard W

    2017-01-01

    Specialization for a new habitat often entails a cost to performance in the ancestral habitat. Although aquatic lifestyles are ancestral among extant cryptodiran turtles, multiple lineages, including tortoises (Testudinidae) and emydid box turtles (genus Terrapene), independently specialized for terrestrial habitats. To what extent is swimming function retained in such lineages despite terrestrial specialization? Because tortoises diverged from other turtles over 50 Ma, but box turtles did so only 5 Ma, we hypothesized that swimming kinematics for box turtles would more closely resemble those of aquatic relatives than those of tortoises. To test this prediction, we compared high-speed video of swimming Russian tortoises (Testudo horsfieldii), box turtles (Terrapene carolina) and two semi-aquatic emydid species: sliders (Trachemys scripta) and painted turtles (Chrysemys picta). We identified different kinematic patterns between limbs. In the forelimb, box turtle strokes most resemble those of tortoises; for the hindlimb, box turtles are more similar to semi-aquatic species. Such patterns indicate functional convergence of the forelimb of terrestrial species, whereas the box turtle hindlimb exhibits greater retention of ancestral swimming motions. © 2017 The Author(s).

  20. The Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis, decreases nitrogenous excretion, reduces urea synthesis and suppresses ammonia production during emersion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ip, Yuen K; Lee, Serene M L; Wong, Wai P; Chew, Shit F

    2013-05-01

    The objective of this study was to examine the effects of 6 days of emersion on nitrogen metabolism and excretion in the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis. Despite having a soft shell with a cutaneous surface that is known to be water permeable, P. sinensis lost only ~2% of body mass and was able to maintain its hematocrit and plasma osmolality, [Na(+)] and [Cl(-)] during 6 days of emersion. During emersion, it ameliorated water loss by reducing urine output, which led to a reduction (by 29-76%) in ammonia excretion. In comparison, there was a more prominent reduction (by 82-99%) in urea excretion during emersion due to a lack of water to flush the buccopharyngeal epithelium, which is known to be the major route of urea excretion. Consequently, emersion resulted in an apparent shift from ureotely to ammonotely in P. sinensis. Although urea concentration increased in several tissues, the excess urea accumulated could only account for 13-22% of the deficit in urea excretion. Hence, it can be concluded that a decrease (~80%) in urea synthesis occurred in P. sinensis during the 6 days of emersion. Indeed, emersion led to significant decreases in the activity of some ornithine-urea cycle enzymes (argininosuccinate synthetase/argininosuccinate lyase and arginase) from the liver of P. sinensis. As a decrease in urea synthesis occurred without the accumulation of ammonia and total free amino acids, it can be deduced that ammonia production through amino acid catabolism was suppressed with a proportional reduction in proteolysis in P. sinensis during emersion. Indeed, calculated results revealed that there could be a prominent decrease (~88%) in ammonia production in turtles after 6 days of emersion. In summary, despite being ureogenic and ureotelic in water, P. sinensis adopted a reduction in ammonia production, instead of increased urea synthesis, as the major strategy to ameliorate ammonia toxicity and problems associated with dehydration during

  1. Turtles: Freshwater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibbons, J. Whitfield; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Bowden, R.M.

    2017-01-01

    With their iconic shells, turtles are morphologically distinct in being the only extant or extinct vertebrate animals to have their shoulders and hips inside their rib cages. By the time an asteroid hit the earth 65.5 million years ago, causing the extinction of dinosaurs, turtles were already an ancient lineage that was 70% through their evolutionary history to date. The remarkable evolutionary success of turtles over 220 million years is due to a combination of both conservative and effective life history traits and an essentially unchanging morphology that withstood the test of time. However, the life history traits of many species make them particularly susceptible to overharvest and habitat destruction in the modern world, and a majority of the world’s species face serious conservation challenges with several extinctions documented in modern times. The global plight of turtles is underscored by the fact that the percentage of imperiled species exceeds that of even the critically endangered primates.Freshwater turtles, with over 260 recognized species, have become a focus on a worldwide scale for many conservation issues. This article is a synthesis of a diverse body of information on the general biology of freshwater turtles, with particular emphasis on the extensive research on ecology, life history, and behavior that has been accomplished in the last half century. Much of the research has been applicable to the aforementioned conservation challenges. The studies presented include a combination of laboratory and field experiments and observational studies on this intriguing group of animals.

  2. Biological control of golden apple snail, Pomacea canaliculata by Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis in the wild rice, Zizania latifolia field

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shengzhang Dong

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available The wild rice, Zizania latifolia Turcz, used to be one of the important aquatic vegetables cultivated in China. Recently, the golden apple snail - GAS (Pomacea canaliculata (Lamarck was found to be a major invasive pest attacking Z. latifolia. To control efficiently GAS, predation by the Chinese soft-shelled turtles (Pelodiscus sinensis on GAS was evaluated in laboratory and field trials. P. sinensis had a strong predatory capacity and selectivity for GAS both in laboratory and field conditions. All the sizes of P. sinensis prefer to capture smaller snails. The optimum number of P. sinensis released in Z. latifolia field was dependent on the density of over-wintered GAS, and varied between 30 and 50 turtles per 666.7 m². The number of GAS declined in the fields with turtles as compared to turtle-free field. A pattern of releasing P. sinensis in Z. latifolia fields was developed and widely adopted by farmers because of much more benefit besides biologically controlling GAS.

  3. Gopherus agassizii: Desert tortoise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Kristen H.; Swingland, Ian Richard; Klemens, Michael W.

    1989-01-01

    The desert tortoise is one of four allopatric North American tortoises. It occurs in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of the southwestern United States and Mexico.Auffenberg (1976) divided the genus Gopherus (consisting of four species, G. agassizi, G. berlandieri, G.flavomarginatus, and G. polyphemus) in two osteological groups. Bramble (1982), using morphological and palaeontological data, divided the genus Gopherus into two separate complexes, each with two species. He established a new genus, Scaptochelys, for agassizi and berlandieri, retaining Gopherus for polyphemus and flavomarginatus. Bour and Dubois (1984) noted that Xerobates Agassiz had priority over Scaptochelys Bramble. Using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Lamb et al. (1989) evaluated the evolutionary relationships of the North American tortoises, particularly the desert tortoise. They concluded that the mtDNA analysis provides strong support for generic recognition of the two distinct species groups described by Bramble (1982).Until a few decades ago, the desert tortoise was widespread at lower elevations throughout the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of the U.S.A. In the northern and western parts of the geographic range, large and relatively homogeneous populations with densities exceeding 1,000/sq km extended throughout parts of California, and probably into Nevada and Utah. In terms of biomass, the tortoise played an important role in the ecosystems. In most areas, numbers have declined dramatically and the extent of populations has been reduced. Most populations are now isolated and low in numbers. Conservation of the desert tortoise is a highly visible and political issue in the U.S.A., but not in Mexico.

  4. Crystallization and preliminary x-ray structure analysis of the egg-white lysozyme from a Taiwanese Soft-Shelled Turtle (Tri onyx Sinensis Wiegmann)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Siritapetawee, Jaruwan; Thammasirirak, Sompong; Yuvaniyama, Jirudon

    2005-10-01

    Lysozyme has been purified from the egg-white of a Taiwanese soft-shelled turtle. This soft-shelled turtle ' s egg-white lysozyme migrated on 12.5% SDS-PAGE at about 14.8 kDa. The lysozyme has been crystallized using the sitting drop vapor diffusion technique and 30% (w/v) polyethylene glycol 8000 in 0.1 M sodium cacodylate, p H 6.5 containing 0.2 M ammonium sulfate as a precipitant. One of the crystals diffracted X rays beyond 2 angstrom unit resolution and belonged to the orthorhombic, space group P212121, with unit cell dimensions of a = 37.8 angstrom unit, b = 55.6 angstrom unit, and c 72.2 angstrom unit and one molecule of the enzyme per asymmetric unit. The data were collected to 1.9 angstrom resolution with an R merge of 4.6%, suitable for high resolution structure analysis. The single-crystal X-ray structure of lysozyme has been initially phased with the Molecular Replacement technique using pheasant egg-white lysozyme (PDB ID 1GHL) as a search template. Model rebuilding and refinement are in progress

  5. Turtles as hopeful monsters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rieppel, O

    2001-11-01

    A recently published study on the development of the turtle shell highlights the important role that development plays in the origin of evolutionary novelties. The evolution of the highly derived adult anatomy of turtles is a prime example of a macroevolutionary event triggered by changes in early embryonic development. Early ontogenetic deviation may cause patterns of morphological change that are not compatible with scenarios of gradualistic, stepwise transformation. Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

  6. Soluble scute proteins of healthy and ill desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Homer, B.L.; Li, C.; Berry, K.H.; Denslow, N.D.; Jacobson, E.R.; Sawyer, R.H.; Williams, J.E.

    2001-01-01

    Objectives - To characterize protein composition of shell scute of desert tortoises and to determine whether detectable differences could be used to identify healthy tortoises from tortoises with certain illnesses. Animals - 20 desert tortoises. Procedures - Complete postmortem examinations were performed on all tortoises. Plastron scute proteins were solubilized, scute proteins were separated by use of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), and proteins were analyzed, using densitometry. Two-dimensional immobilized pH gradient-PAGE (2D IPG-PAGE) and immunoblot analysis, using polyclonal antisera to chicken-feather ?? keratin and to alligator-scale ?? keratin, were conducted on representative samples. The 14-kd proteins were analyzed for amino acid composition. Results - The SDS-PAGE and densitometry revealed 7 distinct bands, each with a mean relative protein concentration of > 1 %, ranging from 8 to 47 kd, and a major protein component of approximately 14 kd that constituted up to 75% of the scute protein. The 2D IPG-PAGE revealed additional distinct 62-and 68-kd protein bands. On immunoblot analysis, the 14-, 32-, and 45-kd proteins reacted with both antisera. The 14-kd proteins had an amino acid composition similar to that of chicken ?? keratins. There was a substantial difference in the percentage of the major 14-kd proteins from scute of ill tortoises with normal appearing shells, compared with 14-kd proteins of healthy tortoises. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - The major protein components of shell scute of desert tortoises have amino acid composition and antigenic features of ?? keratins. Scute protein composition may be altered in tortoises with certain systemic illnesses.

  7. Modeling neck mobility in fossil turtles

    OpenAIRE

    Werneburg, Ingmar; Hinz, Juliane K.; Gumpenberger, Michaela; Volpato, Virginie; Natchev, Nikolay; Joyce, Walter G.

    2014-01-01

    Turtles have the unparalleled ability to retract their heads and necks within their shell but little is known about the evolution of this trait. Extensive analysis of neck mobility in turtles using radiographs, CT scans, and morphometry reveals that basal turtles possessed less mobility in the neck relative to their extant relatives, although the anatomical prerequisites for modern mobility were already established. Many extant turtles are able to achieve hypermobility by dislocating the cent...

  8. Conserved and divergent expression patterns of markers of axial development in reptilian embryos: Chinese soft-shell turtle and Madagascar ground gecko.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoshida, Michio; Kajikawa, Eriko; Kurokawa, Daisuke; Noro, Miyuki; Iwai, Tatsuhiro; Yonemura, Shigenobu; Kobayashi, Kensaku; Kiyonari, Hiroshi; Aizawa, Shinichi

    2016-07-01

    The processes of development leading up to gastrulation have been markedly altered during the evolution of amniotes, and it is uncertain how the mechanisms of axis formation are conserved and diverged between mouse and chick embryos. To assess the conservation and divergence of these mechanisms, this study examined gene expression patterns during the axis formation process in Chinese soft-shell turtle and Madagascar ground gecko preovipositional embryos. The data suggest that NODAL signaling, similarly to avian embryos but in contrast to eutherian embryos, does not have a role in epiblast and hypoblast development in reptilian embryos. The posterior marginal epiblast (PME) is the initial molecular landmark of axis formation in reptilian embryos prior to primitive plate development. Ontogenetically, PME may be the precursor of the primitive plate, and phylogenetically, Koller's sickle and posterior marginal zone in avian development may have been derived from the PME. Most of the genes expressed in the mouse anterior visceral endoderm (AVE genes), especially signaling antagonist genes, are not expressed in the hypoblast of turtle and gecko embryos, though they are expressed in the avian hypoblast. This study proposes that AVE gene expression in the hypoblast and the visceral endoderm could have been independently established in avian and eutherian lineages, similar to the primitive streak that has been independently acquired in these lineages. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Daily basking patterns of the fresh-water turtle

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Department of Biological Sciences, University of Natal, Durban. Basking activity in the turtle Pelomedusa subrufa L. apparently is initiated by the presence of a ..... the desert tortoises, Gopherus berlandieri and G. agassizii. (Auffenberg & Weaver 1969). It is suggested that maximum activity in these species occurs in the early ...

  10. The endoskeletal origin of the turtle carapace

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hirasawa, Tatsuya; Nagashima, Hiroshi; Kuratani, Shigeru

    2013-01-01

    The turtle body plan, with its solid shell, deviates radically from those of other tetrapods. The dorsal part of the turtle shell, or the carapace, consists mainly of costal and neural bony plates, which are continuous with the underlying thoracic ribs and vertebrae, respectively. Because of their superficial position, the evolutionary origins of these costo-neural elements have long remained elusive. Here we show, through comparative morphological and embryological analyses, that the major part of the carapace is derived purely from endoskeletal ribs. We examine turtle embryos and find that the costal and neural plates develop not within the dermis, but within deeper connective tissue where the rib and intercostal muscle anlagen develop. We also examine the fossils of an outgroup of turtles to confirm that the structure equivalent to the turtle carapace developed independently of the true osteoderm. Our results highlight the hitherto unravelled evolutionary course of the turtle shell. PMID:23836118

  11. Daily energy expenditure in free-ranging Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jodice, P.G.R.; Epperson, D.M.; Visser, G. Henk

    2006-01-01

    Studies of ecological energetics in chelonians are rare. Here, we report the first measurements of daily energy expenditure (DEE) and water influx rates (WIRs) in free-ranging adult Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus). We used the doubly labeled water (DLW) method to measure DEE in six adult tortoises during the non-breeding season in south-central Mississippi, USA. Tortoise DEE ranged from 76.7-187.5 kj/day and WIR ranged from 30.6-93.1 ml H2O/day. Daily energy expenditure did not differ between the sexes, but DEE was positively related to body mass. Water influx rates varied with the interaction of sex and body mass. We used a log/log regression model to assess the allometric relationship between DEE and body mass for Gopher Tortoises, Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), and Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina), the only chelonians for which DEE has been measured. The slope of this allometric model (0.626) was less than that previously calculated for herbivorous reptiles (0.813), suggesting that chelonians may expend energy at a slower rate per unit of body mass compared to other herbivorous reptiles. We used retrospective power analyses and data from the DLW isotope analyses to develop guidelines for sample sizes and duration of measurement intervals, respectively, for larger-scale energetic studies in this species. ?? 2006 by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

  12. Effects of acute cold exposure on oxidative balance and total antioxidant capacity in juvenile Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Wenyi; Niu, Cuijuan; Jia, Hui; Chen, Xutong

    2017-09-01

    Acute cold exposure may disturb the physiological homeostasis of the body in ectotherms. To date, there has been no information on the effects of cold exposure on homeostasis of reactive oxygen species (ROS) or antioxidant defense response in the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis. In this study, P. sinensis juveniles were acclimated at 28 °C, transferred to 8 °C as cold exposure for 12 h, then moved back to 28 °C rewarming for 24 h. We measured the ROS level and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) in the brain, liver, kidney and spleen at 2 and 12 h cold exposure, and at the end of the rewarming period. Malonaldehyde (MDA) and carbonyl protein were used as markers of oxidative damage. Turtles being maintained simultaneously at 28 °C were used as the control group. Cold exposure did not disturb the ROS balance in all 4 tissues, while rewarming raised the ROS level in the brain and kidney of P. sinensis. Cold exposure and rewarming decreased the TAC in the brain, liver and spleen but did not change the TAC in the kidney. MDA and carbonyl protein levels did not increase during the treatment, indicating no oxidative damage in all 4 tissues of P. sinensis. Our results indicated that extreme cold exposure did not impact the inner oxidative balance of P. sinensis, but more ROS was produced during rewarming. P. sinensis showed good tolerance to the harsh temperature change through effective protection of its antioxidant defense system to oxidative damage. This study provides basic data on the stress biology of P. sinensis. © 2016 International Society of Zoological Sciences, Institute of Zoology/Chinese Academy of Sciences and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.

  13. The origin of turtles: a paleontological perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joyce, Walter G

    2015-05-01

    The origin of turtles and their unusual body plan has fascinated scientists for the last two centuries. Over the course of the last decades, a broad sample of molecular analyses have favored a sister group relationship of turtles with archosaurs, but recent studies reveal that this signal may be the result of systematic biases affecting molecular approaches, in particular sampling, non-randomly distributed rate heterogeneity among taxa, and the use of concatenated data sets. Morphological studies, by contrast, disfavor archosaurian relationships for turtles, but the proposed alternative topologies are poorly supported as well. The recently revived paleontological hypothesis that the Middle Permian Eunotosaurus africanus is an intermediate stem turtle is now robustly supported by numerous characters that were previously thought to be unique to turtles and that are now shown to have originated over the course of tens of millions of years unrelated to the origin of the turtle shell. Although E. africanus does not solve the placement of turtles within Amniota, it successfully extends the stem lineage of turtles to the Permian and helps resolve some questions associated with the origin of turtles, in particular the non-composite origin of the shell, the slow origin of the shell, and the terrestrial setting for the origin of turtles. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  14. Modeling neck mobility in fossil turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Werneburg, Ingmar; Hinz, Juliane K; Gumpenberger, Michaela; Volpato, Virginie; Natchev, Nikolay; Joyce, Walter G

    2015-05-01

    Turtles have the unparalleled ability to retract their heads and necks within their shell but little is known about the evolution of this trait. Extensive analysis of neck mobility in turtles using radiographs, CT scans, and morphometry reveals that basal turtles possessed less mobility in the neck relative to their extant relatives, although the anatomical prerequisites for modern mobility were already established. Many extant turtles are able to achieve hypermobility by dislocating the central articulations, which raises cautions about reconstructing the mobility of fossil vertebrates. A 3D-model of the Late Triassic turtle Proganochelys quenstedti reveals that this early stem turtle was able to retract its head by tucking it sideways below the shell. The simple ventrolateral bend seen in this stem turtle, however, contrasts with the complex double-bend of extant turtles. The initial evolution of neck retraction therefore occurred in a near-synchrony with the origin of the turtle shell as a place to hide the unprotected neck. In this early, simplified retraction mode, the conical osteoderms on the neck provided further protection. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  15. The girdles of the oldest fossil turtle, Proterochersis robusta, and the age of the turtle crown

    OpenAIRE

    Joyce, Walter G; Schoch, Rainer R; Lyson, Tyler R

    2013-01-01

    Background: Proterochersis robusta from the Late Triassic (Middle Norian) of Germany is the oldest known fossil turtle (i.e. amniote with a fully formed turtle shell), but little is known about its anatomy. A newly prepared, historic specimen provides novel insights into the morphology of the girdles and vertebral column of this taxon and the opportunity to reassess its phylogenetic position.Results: The anatomy of the pectoral girdle of P. robusta is similar to that of other primitive turtle...

  16. Impacts of upper respiratory tract disease on olfactory behavior of the Mojave desert tortoise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Germano, Jennifer; Van Zerr, Vanessa E.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Ken E.; Lamberski, Nadine

    2014-01-01

    Upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) caused by Mycoplasma agassizii is considered a threat to desert tortoise populations that should be addressed as part of the recovery of the species. Clinical signs can be intermittent and include serous or mucoid nasal discharge and respiratory difficulty when nares are occluded. This nasal congestion may result in a loss of the olfactory sense. Turtles are known to use olfaction to identify food items, predators, and conspecifics; therefore, it is likely that URTD affects not only their physical well-being but also their behavior and ability to perform necessary functions in the wild. To determine more specifically the impact nasal discharge might have on free-ranging tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), we compared the responses of tortoises with and without nasal discharge and both positive and negative for M. agassizii antibodies to a visually hidden olfactory food stimulus and an empty control. We found that nasal discharge did reduce sense of smell and hence the ability to locate food. Our study also showed that moderate chronic nasal discharge in the absence of other clinical signs did not affect appetite in desert tortoises.

  17. Guidelines for the field evaluation of desert tortoise health and disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Kristin H.; Christopher, Mary M.

    2001-01-01

    Field evaluation of free-ranging wildlife requires the systematic documentation of a variety of environmental conditions and individual parameters of health and disease, particularly in the case of rare or endangered species. In addition, defined criteria are needed for the humane salvage of ill or dying animals. The purpose of this paper is to describe, in detail, the preparation, procedures, and protocols we developed and tested for the field evaluation of wild desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii). These guidelines describe: preparations for the field, including developing familiarity with tortoise behavior and ecology, and preparation of standardized data sheets; journal notes to document background data on weather conditions, temperature, rainfall, locality, and historic and recent human activities; procedures to prevent the spread of disease and parasites; data sheets for live tortoises to record tortoise identification, location, sex, body measurements and activity; health profile forms for documenting and grading physical abnormalities of tortoise posture and movements, general condition (e.g., lethargy, cachexia), external parasites, and clinical abnormalities associated with shell and upper respiratory diseases; permanent photographic records for the retrospective analysis of progression and regression of upper respiratory and eye diseases, analysis of shell lesions and evaluation of growth and age; and indications and methods for salvaging ill or dying tortoises for necropsy evaluation. These guidelines, tested on 5,000 to 20,000 tortoises over a 10 to 27 yr period, were designed to maximize acquisition of data for demographic, ecological, health and disease research projects; to reduce handling and stress of individual animals; to avoid spread of infectious disease; to promote high quality and consistent data sets; and to reduce the duration and number of field trips. The field methods are adapted for desert tortoise life cycle, behavior, anatomy

  18. Prevalence of Haemoproteus spp. (Apicomplexa: Haemoproteidae) in tortoises in Brazil and its molecular phylogeny.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martinele, Isabel; Tostes, Raquel; Castro, Rômulo; D'Agosto, Marta

    2016-01-01

    Captive terrestrial tortoises of the species Chelonoidis carbonaria (n = 17) and Chelonoidis denticulata (n = 37) in the state of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil, were examined for hematozoans by using a combination of microscopic and molecular methods. Microscopic examination revealed young intra-erythrocytic forms in blood smears from both species of tortoises. The results of PCR, sequencing, and phylogenetic analysis indicated that these parasites belonged to the Haemoproteus spp., whose observed prevalence was 17.6 % in C. carbonaria and 13.5 % in C. denticulata. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that these sequences formed a clade that was grouped with other sequences of Haemoproteus spp. parasites in birds, separate from the clade formed by Haemoproteus spp. of reptiles. This study expands the information regarding the occurrence and distribution of hemosporidia in turtles and is the first study of blood parasites in C. carbonaria.

  19. Turtle Girls

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, Charles; Ponder, Jennifer

    2010-01-01

    The day the Turtle Girls received Montel's adoption papers, piercing screams ricocheted across the school grounds instantaneously and simultaneously--in that moment, each student felt the joy of civic stewardship. Read on to find out how a visit to The Turtle Hospital inspired a group of elementary students to create a club devoted to supporting…

  20. The phylogeny of Mediterranean tortoises and their close relativesbased on complete mitochondrial genome sequences from museumspecimens

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Parham, James F.; Macey, J. Robert; Papenfuss, Theodore J.; Feldman, Chris R.; Turkozan, Oguz; Polymeni, Rosa; Boore, Jeffrey

    2005-04-29

    As part of an ongoing project to generate a mitochondrial database for terrestrial tortoises based on museum specimens, the complete mitochondrial genome sequences of 10 species and a {approx}14 kb sequence from an eleventh species are reported. The sampling of the present study emphasizes Mediterranean tortoises (genus Testudo and their close relatives). Our new sequences are aligned, along with those of two testudinoid turtles from GenBank, Chrysemys picta and Mauremys reevesii, yielding an alignment of 14,858 positions, of which 3,238 are parsimony informative. We develop a phylogenetic taxonomy for Testudo and related species based on well-supported, diagnosable clades. Several well-supported nodes are recovered, including the monophyly of a restricted Testudo, T. kleinmanni + T. marginata (the Chersus clade), and the placement of the enigmatic African pancake tortoise (Malacochersustornieri) within the predominantly Palearctic greater Testudo group (Testudona tax. nov.). Despite the large amount of sequence reported, there is low statistical support for some nodes within Testudona and Sowe do not propose names for those groups. A preliminary and conservative estimation of divergence times implies a late Miocene diversification for the testudonan clade (6-12 million years ago), matching their first appearance in the fossil record. The multi-continental distribution of testudonan turtles can be explained by the establishment of permanent connections between Europe, Africa, and Asia at this time. The arrival of testudonan turtles to Africa occurred after one or more initial tortoise invasions gave rise to the diverse (>25 species) 'Geochelone complex.'Two unusual genomic features are reported for the mtDNA of one tortoise, M. tornieri: (1) nad4 has a shift of reading frame that we suggest is resolved by translational frameshifting of the mRNA on the ribosome during protein synthesis and (2) there are two copies of the control region and trnF, with the

  1. Oxalosis in wild desert tortoises, Gopherus agassizii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jacobson, Elliott R.; Berry, Kristin H.; Stacy, Brian; Huzella, Louis M.; Kalasinsky, Victor F.; Fleetwood, Michelle L.; Mense, Mark G.

    2009-01-01

    We necropsied a moribund, wild adult male desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) with clinical signs of respiratory disease and elevated plasma biochemical analytes indicative of renal disease (blood urea nitrogen [415 mg/dl], uric acid [11.8 mg/dl], sodium >180 mmol/l] and chloride [139 mmol/l]). Moderate numbers of birefringent oxalate crystals, based on infrared and electron microscopy, were present within renal tubules; small numbers were seen in colloid within thyroid follicles. A retrospective analysis of 66 additional cases of wild desert tortoises was conducted to determine whether similar crystals were present in thyroid and kidney. The tortoises, from the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, were necropsied between 1992 and 2003 and included juveniles and adults. Tortoises were classified as healthy (those that died due to trauma and where no disease was identified after necropsy and evaluation by standard laboratory tests used for other tortoises) or not healthy (having one or more diseases or lesions). For all 67 necropsied tortoises, small numbers of crystals of similar appearance were present in thyroid glands from 44 of 54 cases (81%) and in kidneys from three of 65 cases (5%). Presence of oxalates did not differ significantly between healthy and unhealthy tortoises, between age classes, or between desert region, and their presence was considered an incidental finding. Small numbers of oxalate crystals seen within the kidney of two additional tortoises also were considered an incidental finding. Although the source of the calcium oxalate could not be determined, desert tortoises are herbivores, and a plant origin seems most likely. Studies are needed to evaluate the oxalate content of plants consumed by desert tortoises, and particularly those in the area where the tortoise in renal failure was found.

  2. Trophic interactions between larger crocodylians and giant tortoises on Aldabra Atoll, Western Indian Ocean, during the Late Pleistocene.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scheyer, Torsten M; Delfino, Massimo; Klein, Nicole; Bunbury, Nancy; Fleischer-Dogley, Frauke; Hansen, Dennis M

    2018-01-01

    Today, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Aldabra Atoll is home to about 100 000 giant tortoises, Aldabrachelys gigantea , whose fossil record goes back to the Late Pleistocene. New Late Pleistocene fossils (age ca . 90-125 000 years) from the atoll revealed some appendicular bones and numerous shell fragments of giant tortoises and cranial and postcranial elements of crocodylians. Several tortoise bones show circular holes, pits and scratch marks that are interpreted as bite marks of crocodylians. The presence of a Late Pleistocene crocodylian species, Aldabrachampsus dilophus , has been known for some time, but the recently found crocodylian remains presented herein are distinctly larger than those previously described. This indicates the presence of at least some larger crocodylians, either of the same or of a different species, on the atoll. These larger crocodylians, likely the apex predators in the Aldabra ecosystem at the time, were well capable of inflicting damage on even very large giant tortoises. We thus propose an extinct predator-prey interaction between crocodylians and giant tortoises during the Late Pleistocene, when both groups were living sympatrically on Aldabra, and we discuss scenarios for the crocodylians directly attacking the tortoises or scavenging on recently deceased animals.

  3. Distribution of tortoises and freshwater turtles of the Colombian Caribbean

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Montes Correa, Andres Camilo; Saboya Acosta, Liliana Patricia; Paez, Vivian; Vega, Karen; Renjifo, Juan Manuel

    2014-01-01

    This research reviews the Colombian Caribbean distribution of the species Kinosternon scorpioides, Trachemys callirostris, Mesoclemmys dahli and Chelonoidis carbonaria, and to present new records for the region. The species K. scorpioides is reported for the first time in the Manzanares River drainage, Santa Marta, Department of Magdalena. Trachemys callirostris was recorded in the Canas River, Department of La Guajira, being the first record for this species in a small river on the north side of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Chelonoidis carbonaria was recorded in a wetland in Santa Marta. We recorded a female M. dahli in the village of Monterrubio, municipality of Sabanas de San Angel, Department of Magdalena. Three of the four species included in this account are listed in some category of threat. The lack of knowledge of the biology and distribution of these species could be considered a threat to them because ignorance precludes the establishment of their true conservation status and hinders the development of management plans required for their protection.

  4. Emerging from the rib: resolving the turtle controversies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rice, Ritva; Riccio, Paul; Gilbert, Scott F; Cebra-Thomas, Judith

    2015-05-01

    Two of the major controversies in the present study of turtle shell development involve the mechanism by which the carapacial ridge initiates shell formation and the mechanism by which each rib forms the costal bones adjacent to it. This paper claims that both sides of each debate might be correct-but within the species examined. Mechanism is more properly "mechanisms," and there is more than one single way to initiate carapace formation and to form the costal bones. In the initiation of the shell, the rib precursors may be kept dorsal by either "axial displacement" (in the hard-shell turtles) or "axial arrest" (in the soft-shell turtle Pelodiscus), or by a combination of these. The former process would deflect the rib into the dorsal dermis and allow it to continue its growth there, while the latter process would truncate rib growth. In both instances, though, the result is to keep the ribs from extending into the ventral body wall. Our recent work has shown that the properties of the carapacial ridge, a key evolutionary innovation of turtles, differ greatly between these two groups. Similarly, the mechanism of costal bone formation may differ between soft-shell and hard-shell turtles, in that the hard-shell species may have both periosteal flattening as well as dermal bone induction, while the soft-shelled turtles may have only the first of these processes. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  5. Geometry and self-righting of turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Domokos, Gábor; Várkonyi, Péter L

    2008-01-07

    Terrestrial animals with rigid shells face imminent danger when turned upside down. A rich variety of righting strategies of beetle and turtle species have been described, but the exact role of the shell's geometry in righting is so far unknown. These strategies are often based on active mechanisms, e.g. most beetles self-right via motion of their legs or wings; flat, aquatic turtles use their muscular neck to flip back. On the other hand, highly domed, terrestrial turtles with short limbs and necks have virtually no active control: here shape itself may serve as a fundamental tool. Based on field data gathered on a broad spectrum of aquatic and terrestrial turtle species we develop a geometric model of the shell. Inspired by recent mathematical results, we demonstrate that a simple mechanical classification of the model is closely linked to the animals' righting strategy. Specifically, we show that the exact geometry of highly domed terrestrial species is close to optimal for self-righting, and the shell's shape is the predominant factor of their ability to flip back. Our study illustrates how evolution solved a far-from-trivial geometrical problem and equipped some turtles with monostatic shells: beautiful forms, which rarely appear in nature otherwise.

  6. An ancestral turtle from the Late Triassic of southwestern China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Chun; Wu, Xiao-Chun; Rieppel, Olivier; Wang, Li-Ting; Zhao, Li-Jun

    2008-11-27

    The origin of the turtle body plan remains one of the great mysteries of reptile evolution. The anatomy of turtles is highly derived, which renders it difficult to establish the relationships of turtles with other groups of reptiles. The oldest known turtle, Proganochelys from the Late Triassic period of Germany, has a fully formed shell and offers no clue as to its origin. Here we describe a new 220-million-year-old turtle from China, somewhat older than Proganochelys, that documents an intermediate step in the evolution of the shell and associated structures. A ventral plastron is fully developed, but the dorsal carapace consists of neural plates only. The dorsal ribs are expanded, and osteoderms are absent. The new species shows that the plastron evolved before the carapace and that the first step of carapace formation is the ossification of the neural plates coupled with a broadening of the ribs. This corresponds to early embryonic stages of carapace formation in extant turtles, and shows that the turtle shell is not derived from a fusion of osteoderms. Phylogenetic analysis places the new species basal to all known turtles, fossil and extant. The marine deposits that yielded the fossils indicate that this primitive turtle inhabited marginal areas of the sea or river deltas.

  7. Body burdens of heavy metals in Lake Michigan wetland turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Dayna L; Cooper, Matthew J; Kosiara, Jessica M; Lamberti, Gary A

    2016-02-01

    Tissue heavy metal concentrations in painted (Chrysemys picta) and snapping (Chelydra serpentina) turtles from Lake Michigan coastal wetlands were analyzed to determine (1) whether turtles accumulated heavy metals, (2) if tissue metal concentrations were related to environmental metal concentrations, and (3) the potential for non-lethal sampling techniques to be used for monitoring heavy metal body burdens in freshwater turtles. Muscle, liver, shell, and claw samples were collected from painted and snapping turtles and analyzed for cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. Turtle tissues had measurable quantities of all eight metals analyzed. Statistically significant correlations between tissue metal concentrations and sediment metal concentrations were found for a subset of metals. Metals were generally found in higher concentrations in the larger snapping turtles than in painted turtles. In addition, non-lethal samples of shell and claw were found to be possible alternatives to lethal liver and muscle samples for some metals. Human consumption of snapping turtles presents potential health risks if turtles are harvested from contaminated areas. Overall, our results suggest that turtles could be a valuable component of contaminant monitoring programs for wetland ecosystems.

  8. Estimating Viability of Gopher Tortoise Populations

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-01-01

    northeastern Florida. Journal of Herpetology 30:14–18. Butler, J. A., and S. Sowell. 1996. Survivorship and predation of hatchling and yearling gopher...tortoises, Gopherus polyphemus, Journal of Herpetology 30:455–458. Congdon, J. D., A. E. Dunham, R. C. van Loben Sels. 1993. Delayed sexual maturity and...2003. Nesting and hatchling ecology of gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) in southern Mississippi. Journal of Herpetology 37:315–324. Eubanks, J

  9. Evolutionary origin of the turtle skull.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bever, G S; Lyson, Tyler R; Field, Daniel J; Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S

    2015-09-10

    Transitional fossils informing the origin of turtles are among the most sought-after discoveries in palaeontology. Despite strong genomic evidence indicating that turtles evolved from within the diapsid radiation (which includes all other living reptiles), evidence of the inferred transformation between an ancestral turtle with an open, diapsid skull to the closed, anapsid condition of modern turtles remains elusive. Here we use high-resolution computed tomography and a novel character/taxon matrix to study the skull of Eunotosaurus africanus, a 260-million-year-old fossil reptile from the Karoo Basin of South Africa, whose distinctive postcranial skeleton shares many unique features with the shelled body plan of turtles. Scepticism regarding the status of Eunotosaurus as the earliest stem turtle arises from the possibility that these shell-related features are the products of evolutionary convergence. Our phylogenetic analyses indicate strong cranial support for Eunotosaurus as a critical transitional form in turtle evolution, thus fortifying a 40-million-year extension to the turtle stem and moving the ecological context of its origin back onto land. Furthermore, we find unexpected evidence that Eunotosaurus is a diapsid reptile in the process of becoming secondarily anapsid. This is important because categorizing the skull based on the number of openings in the complex of dermal bone covering the adductor chamber has long held sway in amniote systematics, and still represents a common organizational scheme for teaching the evolutionary history of the group. These discoveries allow us to articulate a detailed and testable hypothesis of fenestral closure along the turtle stem. Our results suggest that Eunotosaurus represents a crucially important link in a chain that will eventually lead to consilience in reptile systematics, paving the way for synthetic studies of amniote evolution and development.

  10. Modeling Agassiz's Desert Tortoise Population Response to Anthropogenic Stressors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mojave Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) populations are exposed to a variety of anthropogenic threats, which vary in nature, severity, and frequency. Tortoise management in conservation areas can be compromised when the relative importance of these threats is not well underst...

  11. Gopherus Agassizii (Desert Tortoise). Predation/Mountain Lions (Pre-Print)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Paul D. Greger and Philip A. Medica

    2009-01-01

    During a long-term study on tortoise growth within 3 fenced 9-ha enclosures in Rock Valley, Nevada Test Site (NTS), Nye County, Nevada, USA, tortoises have been captured annually since 1964 (Medica et al. 1975. Copeia 1975:630-643; Turner et al. 1987. Copeia 1987:974-979). Between early August and mid October 2003 we observed a significant mortality event. The Rock Valley enclosures were constructed of 6 x 6 mm mesh 1.2 m wide hardware cloth, buried 0.3 m in the soil with deflective flashing on both sides on the top to restrict the movement of small mammals and lizards from entering or leaving the enclosures (Rundel and Gibson 1996, Ecological communities and process in a Mojave Desert ecosystem: Rock Valley, Nevada, Cambridge University Press, Great Britain. 369 pp.). On August 6, 2003, the carcass of an adult female Desert Tortoise No.1411 (carapace length 234 mm when alive) was collected while adult male tortoise No.4414 (carapace length 269 mm) was observed alive and in good health on the same day. Subsequently the carcass of No.4414 was found on October 16, 2003. Between October 16-17, 2003, the remains of 6 (5 adult and 1 juvenile) Desert Tortoises were found, some within each of the 3 enclosures in Rock Valley. A seventh adult tortoise was found on September 26, 2006, its death also attributed to the 2003 mortality event based upon the forensic evidence. Each of the 7 adult Desert Tortoises had the central portion of their carapace broken open approximately to the dorsal portion of the marginal scutes while the plastron was still intact (Figure 1A). Adjacent to 7 of the 8 remains we located numerous bone fragments including parts of the carapace and limbs as well as dried intestines in a nearby Range Rhatany (Krameria parvifolia) shrub. The significance of the frequent use of this shrub is puzzling. Three of the Desert Tortoise shell remains possessed distinctive intercanine punctures measuring 55-60 mm center to center indicating that this was an adult

  12. Body plan of turtles: an anatomical, developmental and evolutionary perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nagashima, Hiroshi; Kuraku, Shigehiro; Uchida, Katsuhisa; Kawashima-Ohya, Yoshie; Narita, Yuichi; Kuratani, Shigeru

    2012-03-01

    The evolution of the turtle shell has long been one of the central debates in comparative anatomy. The turtle shell consists of dorsal and ventral parts: the carapace and plastron, respectively. The basic structure of the carapace comprises vertebrae and ribs. The pectoral girdle of turtles sits inside the carapace or the rib cage, in striking contrast to the body plan of other tetrapods. Due to this topological change in the arrangement of skeletal elements, the carapace has been regarded as an example of evolutionary novelty that violates the ancestral body plan of tetrapods. Comparing the spatial relationships of anatomical structures in the embryos of turtles and other amniotes, we have shown that the topology of the musculoskeletal system is largely conserved even in turtles. The positional changes seen in the ribs and pectoral girdle can be ascribed to turtle-specific folding of the lateral body wall in the late developmental stages. Whereas the ribs of other amniotes grow from the axial domain to the lateral body wall, turtle ribs remain arrested axially. Marginal growth of the axial domain in turtle embryos brings the morphologically short ribs in to cover the scapula dorsocaudally. This concentric growth appears to be induced by the margin of the carapace, which involves an ancestral gene expression cascade in a new location. These comparative developmental data allow us to hypothesize the gradual evolution of turtles, which is consistent with the recent finding of a transitional fossil animal, Odontochelys, which did not have the carapace but already possessed the plastron.

  13. Localizing Tortoise Nests by Neural Networks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roberto Barbuti

    Full Text Available The goal of this research is to recognize the nest digging activity of tortoises using a device mounted atop the tortoise carapace. The device classifies tortoise movements in order to discriminate between nest digging, and non-digging activity (specifically walking and eating. Accelerometer data was collected from devices attached to the carapace of a number of tortoises during their two-month nesting period. Our system uses an accelerometer and an activity recognition system (ARS which is modularly structured using an artificial neural network and an output filter. For the purpose of experiment and comparison, and with the aim of minimizing the computational cost, the artificial neural network has been modelled according to three different architectures based on the input delay neural network (IDNN. We show that the ARS can achieve very high accuracy on segments of data sequences, with an extremely small neural network that can be embedded in programmable low power devices. Given that digging is typically a long activity (up to two hours, the application of ARS on data segments can be repeated over time to set up a reliable and efficient system, called Tortoise@, for digging activity recognition.

  14. Discrimination of the hard keratins animal horn and chelonian shell using attenuated total reflection-infrared spectroscopy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biscardi, Brianna; Welsh, Wendy; Kennedy, Anthony

    2012-05-01

    The ability to discriminate between objects manufactured from animal horn and chelonian (turtle, tortoise, or terrapin) shell is important from a cultural and archeological perspective such that it may allow conservators to determine the appropriate treatment and long-term care solution. It would also aid curators in identifying and cataloging items manufactured from these materials. Discrimination and classification is also a valuable tool for those involved in tracking the illegal trade in restricted materials of this nature. Attenuated total reflection infrared (ATR-IR) spectroscopy, using a single reflection diamond internal reflection element (IRE), coupled with discrimination analysis was used to analyze a total of thirty-nine samples (29 calibration samples, 10 validation samples). A discrimination analysis model was constructed using Mahalanobis distances to classify spectra into one of two classes. The model was then subsequently used to successfully classify all validation samples and correctly identify them as animal horn or chelonian shell based on second-derivative spectra of the amide I and II regions. This technique requires minimal to no sample preparation and may be used to nondestructively identify very small samples successfully without performing detailed secondary structural curve-fitting routines. This model should be a valuable resource to museums, conservators, and wildlife management programs for rapidly and reliably discriminating between animal horn and chelonian shell.

  15. Radioresistance in Central Asian tortoise

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Turdyev, A.A.; Bogdanova-Berezovskaya, I.G.; Dvornikova, L.I.

    Season-related studies were conducted on the phenomenal radioresistance of the Central Asian tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii), in order to obtain greater understanding of the factors that determine this physiological uniqueness. Test animals were exposed to gamma radiation from a Co-60 source with dosages ranging from 12.9 to 25.8 Cl/kg in the spring, summer, fall, and winter. Using Pearson's ..gamma..-distribution coefficient calculations of the mean lethal dose for the season yielded 16.33 Cl/kg for winter, 10.94 Cl/kg for spring, 7.1 Cl/kg for summer, and 19.71 Cl/kg for fall. The animals were thus seen to be most susceptible to radiation damage in the spring and summer. Correlation with histological and hematological studies showed that animals irradiated in spring and summer succumbed as a result of damage to the GI and the hematopoietic systems, whereas animals that died as a result of irradiation during the fall and winter season did so because of depletion of hepatic glycogen stores. 5 references, 1 figure.

  16. Are Wildlife Detector Dogs or People Better at Finding Desert Tortoises (Gopherus Agassizii)?

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Nussear, Kenneth E; Esque, Todd C; Heaton, Jill S; Cablk, Mary E; Drake, Kristina K; Valentin, Cindee; Yee, Julie L; Medica, Philip A

    2008-01-01

    .... Recent studies highlight the effectiveness of trained detector dogs to locate wildlife during field surveys, including Desert Tortoises in a semi-natural setting. Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii...

  17. What Carroll’s Tortoise Actually Proves

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wieland, J.J.W.

    2013-01-01

    Rationality requires us to have certain propositional attitudes (beliefs, intentions, etc.) given certain other attitudes that we have. Carroll's Tortoise repeatedly shows up in this discussion. Following up on Brunero (Ethical Theory Moral Pract 8:557-569, 2005), I ask what Carroll-style

  18. Ultrasound characterization of the coelomic cavity organs of the red-footed tortoise ( Chelonoidis carbonaria

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yara Silva Meireles

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT: Herein it was describe sonographic morphology and sintopy of the bowels of the coelomic cavity in the red-footed tortoise. Coelomic cavity of 19 males and 19 females were scanned through cervical and prefemoral access with a multifrequency sector transducer. Morphology, syntopy and echogenicity of the heart, thyroid, liver, gallbladder, reproductive organs, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, urinary bladder and kidneys were evaluated. The heart showed two atria and one ventricle with a thick, trabecular wall. The thyroid was oval and hyperecoic, visualized in the cardiac portion of the ultrasound. The liver, gallbladder and digestive system were similar to those seen in mammals and turtles. However, the tortoise liver was relatively more hyperechoic than mammals. The kidneys appeared as triangular structures, which were hypoechoic, homogeneous and vascularized; the bladder was observed mostly as being elongated with anechoic content, and its wall appeared as a thin hyperechoic line when free fluid was present. The testes were observed to be elongated, homogeneous and more hyperechoic than kidneys. The ovarian follicles were seen as hyperechoic, echogenic balls of variable size and quantity, the oviduct as a sigmoid tubular structure and the eggs as thin hyperechoic lines with posterior acoustic shadowing. In some animals, there were variable amounts of fluid around the heart and in the coelomic cavity.

  19. Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii dietary specialization decreases across a precipitation gradient.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ian W Murray

    Full Text Available We studied the plant resource use between and within populations of desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii across a precipitation gradient in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. The carbon and nitrogen stable isotope values in animal tissues are a reflection of the carbon and nitrogen isotope values in diet, and consequently represent a powerful tool to study animal feeding ecology. We measured the δ(13C and δ(15N values in the growth rings on the shells of tortoises in different populations to characterize dietary specialization and track tortoise use of isotopically distinct C4/CAM versus C3 plant resources. Plants using C3 photosynthesis are generally more nutritious than C4 plants and these trait differences can have important growth and fitness consequences for consumers. We found that dietary specialization decreases in successively drier and less vegetated sites, and that broader population niche widths are accompanied by an increase in the dietary variability between individuals. Our results highlight how individual consumer plant resource use is bounded under a varying regime of precipitation and plant productivity, lending insight into how intra-individual dietary specialization varies over a spatial scale of environmental variability.

  20. Turtle Photograph Collection

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Photos collected in marine turtle research programs are diverse, ranging from isolated observations of incidental encounters with turtles on the high-seas to...

  1. Latitudinal diversity gradients in Mesozoic non-marine turtles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nicholson, David B.; Holroyd, Patricia A.; Valdes, Paul; Barrett, Paul M.

    2016-11-01

    The latitudinal biodiversity gradient (LBG)-the pattern of increasing taxonomic richness with decreasing latitude-is prevalent in the structure of the modern biota. However, some freshwater taxa show peak richness at mid-latitudes; for example, extant Testudines (turtles, terrapins and tortoises) exhibit their greatest diversity at 25° N, a pattern sometimes attributed to recent bursts of climatically mediated species diversification. Here, we test whether this pattern also characterizes the Mesozoic distribution of turtles, to determine whether it was established during either their initial diversification or as a more modern phenomenon. Using global occurrence data for non-marine testudinate genera, we find that subsampled richness peaks at palaeolatitudes of 15-30° N in the Jurassic, 30-45° N through the Cretaceous to the Campanian, and from 30° to 60° N in the Maastrichtian. The absence of a significant diversity peak in southern latitudes is consistent with results from climatic models and turtle niche modelling that demonstrate a dearth of suitable turtle habitat in Gondwana during the Jurassic and Late Cretaceous. Our analyses confirm that the modern testudinate LBG has a deep-time origin and further demonstrate that LBGs are not always expressed as a smooth, equator-to-pole distribution.

  2. Evolution of the turtle body plan by the folding and creation of new muscle connections.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nagashima, Hiroshi; Sugahara, Fumiaki; Takechi, Masaki; Ericsson, Rolf; Kawashima-Ohya, Yoshie; Narita, Yuichi; Kuratani, Shigeru

    2009-07-10

    The turtle shell offers a fascinating case study of vertebrate evolution, based on the modification of a common body plan. The carapace is formed from ribs, which encapsulate the scapula; this stands in contrast to the typical amniote body plan and serves as a key to understanding turtle evolution. Comparative analyses of musculoskeletal development between the Chinese soft-shelled turtle and other amniotes revealed that initial turtle development conforms to the amniote pattern; however, during embryogenesis, lateral rib growth results in a shift of elements. In addition, some limb muscles establish new turtle-specific attachments associated with carapace formation. We propose that the evolutionary origin of the turtle body plan results from heterotopy based on folding and novel connectivities.

  3. The origin of the turtle body plan: bridging a famous morphological gap.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, M S

    1993-09-24

    A restudy of pareiasaurs reveals that these primitive reptiles are the nearest relatives of turtles. The two groups share numerous derived characters, such as a reduced presacral count, an acromion process, and a trochanter major, which are absent in other basal amniotes. Many traits long thought specific to chelonians also occur in pareiasaurs and must have evolved before the distinctive turtle shell appeared. Evidence uniting captorhinid or procolophonoids with turtles is shown to be weak. The phylogeny proposed here also suggests that certain features of the earliest turtle (Proganochelys) that have been interpreted as specializations, such as the large supratemporal and robust metacarpals, are primitive for turtles. In pareiasaurs, the osteoderms represent the precursors of the chelonian shell and the morphology of the anterior region is consistent with the idea that the shoulder girdle in turtles has migrated posteriorly into the rib cage.

  4. Deep time perspective on turtle neck evolution: chasing the Hox code by vertebral morphology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Böhmer, Christine; Werneburg, Ingmar

    2017-08-21

    The unparalleled ability of turtle neck retraction is possible in three different modes, which characterize stem turtles, living side-necked (Pleurodira), and hidden-necked (Cryptodira) turtles, respectively. Despite the conservatism in vertebral count among turtles, there is significant functional and morphological regionalization in the cervical vertebral column. Since Hox genes play a fundamental role in determining the differentiation in vertebra morphology and based on our reconstruction of evolutionary genetics in deep time, we hypothesize genetic differences among the turtle groups and between turtles and other land vertebrates. We correlated anterior Hox gene expression and the quantifiable shape of the vertebrae to investigate the morphological modularity in the neck across living and extinct turtles. This permitted the reconstruction of the hypothetical ancestral Hox code pattern of the whole turtle clade. The scenario of the evolution of axial patterning in turtles indicates shifts in the spatial expression of HoxA-5 in relation to the reduction of cervical ribs in modern turtles and of HoxB-5 linked with a lower morphological differentiation between the anterior cervical vertebrae observed in cryptodirans. By comparison with the mammalian pattern, we illustrate how the fixed count of eight cervical vertebrae in turtles resulted from the emergence of the unique turtle shell.

  5. Tortoises as a dietary supplement: A view from the Middle Pleistocene site of Qesem Cave, Israel

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blasco, Ruth; Rosell, Jordi; Smith, Krister T.; Maul, Lutz Christian; Sañudo, Pablo; Barkai, Ran; Gopher, Avi

    2016-02-01

    Dietary reconstructions can offer an improved perspective on human capacities of adaptation to the environment. New methodological approaches and analytical techniques have led to a theoretical framework for understanding how human groups used and adapted to their local environment. Faunal remains provide an important potential source of dietary information and allow study of behavioural variation and its evolutionary significance. Interest in determining how hominids filled the gaps in large prey availability with small game or what role small game played in pre-Upper Palaeolithic societies is an area of active research. Some of this work has focused on tortoises because they represent an important combination of edible and non-edible resources that are easy to collect if available. The exploitation of these slow-moving animals features prominently in prey choice models because the low handling costs of these reptiles make up for their small body size. Here, we present new taphonomic data from two tortoise assemblages extracted from the lower sequence of the Middle Pleistocene site of Qesem Cave, Israel (420-300 ka), with the aim of assessing the socio-economic factors that may have led to the inclusion of this type of resource in the human diets. We show that hominid damage on large tortoise specimens from Qesem Cave is not unusual and that evidence such as cut marks, percussion marks and consistent patterns of burning suggests established sequences of processing, including cooking in the shell, defleshing, and direct percussion to access the visceral content. These matters make it possible not only to assess the potential role of tortoises as prey, but also to evaluate collecting behaviour in the resource acquisition systems and eco-social strategies at the Acheulo-Yabrudian Cultural Complex (AYCC) in the southern Levant.

  6. Livestock grazing and the desert tortoise in the Mojave Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oldemeyer, John L.

    1994-01-01

    A large part of the Mojave Desert is not in pristine condition, and some current conditions can be related to past grazing-management practices. No information could be found on densities of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) or on vegetative conditions of areas that had not been grazed to allow managers a comparison of range conditions with data on tortoises. Experimental information to assess the effect of livestock grazing on tortoises is lacking, and researchers have not yet examined whether the forage that remains after grazing is sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of desert tortoises.

  7. The girdles of the oldest fossil turtle, Proterochersis robusta, and the age of the turtle crown.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joyce, Walter G; Schoch, Rainer R; Lyson, Tyler R

    2013-12-06

    Proterochersis robusta from the Late Triassic (Middle Norian) of Germany is the oldest known fossil turtle (i.e. amniote with a fully formed turtle shell), but little is known about its anatomy. A newly prepared, historic specimen provides novel insights into the morphology of the girdles and vertebral column of this taxon and the opportunity to reassess its phylogenetic position. The anatomy of the pectoral girdle of P. robusta is similar to that of other primitive turtles, including the Late Triassic (Carnian) Proganochelys quenstedti, in having a vertically oriented scapula, a large coracoid foramen, a short acromion process, and bony ridges that connect the acromion process with the dorsal process, glenoid, and coracoid, and by being able to rotate along a vertical axis. The pelvic elements are expanded distally and suturally attached to the shell, but in contrast to modern pleurodiran turtles the pelvis is associated with the sacral ribs. The primary homology of the character "sutured pelvis" is unproblematic between P. robusta and extant pleurodires. However, integration of all new observations into the most complete phylogenetic analysis that support the pleurodiran nature of P. robusta reveals that this taxon is more parsimoniously placed along the phylogenetic stem of crown Testudines. All current phylogenetic hypotheses therefore support the basal placement of this taxon, imply that the sutured pelvis of this taxon developed independently from that of pleurodires, and conclude that the age of the turtle crown is Middle Jurassic.

  8. Asymmetry of righting reflexes in sea turtles and its behavioral correlates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malashichev, Yegor

    2016-04-01

    The righting responses, when the animal rights itself over one side of the body after been overturned on the back, are one of the simplest ways to test for laterality, especially in lower vertebrates. In anuran amphibians unilateral preferences in righting responses correlated to the degree of the use of alternating-limb (asynchronous) movements during locomotion. Turtles is one of the underrepresented vertebrate groups in the studies of laterality, while possess also different types of locomotion (with synchronous or asynchronous use of the contralateral limbs), which allows testing the hypothesis on functional relationship between the mode of locomotion and the strength of laterality. We studied two species of sea turtles, Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), which differ from the majority of other representatives of the order in that they mostly utilize synchronous locomotion, when all four limbs move simultaneously in strokes (scratching). In righting response tests turtles demonstrated individual and weak population level laterality, which differed in strength. The Green turtle was less lateralized with the majority of individuals being ambipreferent. The Olive Ridley turtle had a greater number of lateralized individuals and a greater average strength of laterality. Interspecies comparison to land tortoises, which use only asynchronous (alternating-limb) walking (crawling), confirmed the rule found in amphibians: the more asynchronous locomotion is used, the greater is the strength of laterality in righting. Hence, data from turtles and amphibians may represent a phenomenon common for all quadruped vertebrates. We also discuss possible biomechanical and neurological correlates of this evolutionary change in locomotory patterns and lateralization in sea turtles when adapting to sea life. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Cutaneous adenocarcinoma in a desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ashraf Abu-Seida

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available This report describes the clinical and histopathological findings of a rare case of cutaneous adenocarcinoma in a 40-year-old desert tortoise. Surgical excision of the neoplasm improved the general health condition and locomotion of the tortoise although recurrence of the neoplasm had been recorded 1 year post-surgery.

  10. Occurrence and activity budget of the leopard tortoise, Geochelone ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Occurrence and activity budget of the leopard tortoise, Geochelone pardalis were studied in northern Tanzania between October 1993 and June 1996. Tortoises occurred most frequently in short grass (51.5%) and along roads and track verges (33.9%), but only occasionally in the bush undergrowth (6.7%) and shambas ...

  11. Seasonal and daily activity patterns of leopard tortoises ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Seasonal and daily activity patterns of leopard tortoises ( Stigmochelys pardalis Bell, 1828) on farmland in the Nama-Karoo, South Africa. ... that activity is also initiated by the time since sunrise. Key words: Stigmochelys pardalis, leopard tortoise, activity patterns, activity behaviour, Nama-Karoo Biome, time of day, season.

  12. The Classroom Animal: Box Turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kramer, David C.

    1986-01-01

    Provides basic information on the anatomy, physiology, behaviors, and distribution patterns of the box turtle. Offers suggestions for the turtle's care and maintenance in a classroom environment. (ML)

  13. The tortoise shell Integrated Coastal Management in Galapagos

    OpenAIRE

    Polit Arguello, Victor Manuel

    2013-01-01

    The current work aims to examine the legal framework for Integrated Coastal Management for Archipelago de Galapagos. It examines the content of ICM at the internal level in order to find if there is a standard for appropriate Integrated Management of Coastal Zones. Also it aims to define whether the ratification of UNCLOS by the government of Ecuador should affect the implementation of such framework.

  14. The Use of Green Turtles in Bali, When Conservation Meets Culture

    OpenAIRE

    Westerlaken, Rodney

    2016-01-01

    The use of green turtles in ceremonies, as delicacy or for the use of the shell has been a vast problem in history and recent years on Bali. The number of turtles living in the waters surrounding Bali is decreasing and the illegal trade is vivid.   Several projects are fighting for conservation of turtles and the Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (the highest Hindu council) issued a decree against the use of turtles in ceremonies, but illegal trade remains. On April 7, 2016 40 green ...

  15. Predation on tent tortoise and leopard tortoise hatchlings by the pale ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Predation by the pale chanting goshawk Melierax canorus on Psammobates tentorius and Geochelone pardalis hatchlings correlates with the habitat preference of these tortoise species as well as with the breeding pattern of P. tentorius. It is not known why the particularly abundant Chersìna angolata was not preyed upon.

  16. Origin of the unique ventilatory apparatus of turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyson, Tyler R; Schachner, Emma R; Botha-Brink, Jennifer; Scheyer, Torsten M; Lambertz, Markus; Bever, G S; Rubidge, Bruce S; de Queiroz, Kevin

    2014-11-07

    The turtle body plan differs markedly from that of other vertebrates and serves as a model system for studying structural and developmental evolution. Incorporation of the ribs into the turtle shell negates the costal movements that effect lung ventilation in other air-breathing amniotes. Instead, turtles have a unique abdominal-muscle-based ventilatory apparatus whose evolutionary origins have remained mysterious. Here we show through broadly comparative anatomical and histological analyses that an early member of the turtle stem lineage has several turtle-specific ventilation characters: rigid ribcage, inferred loss of intercostal muscles and osteological correlates of the primary expiratory muscle. Our results suggest that the ventilation mechanism of turtles evolved through a division of labour between the ribs and muscles of the trunk in which the abdominal muscles took on the primary ventilatory function, whereas the broadened ribs became the primary means of stabilizing the trunk. These changes occurred approximately 50 million years before the evolution of the fully ossified shell.

  17. Hepatocyte growth factor is crucial for development of the carapace in turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kawashima-Ohya, Yoshie; Narita, Yuichi; Nagashima, Hiroshi; Usuda, Ryo; Kuratani, Shigeru

    2011-01-01

    Turtles are characterized by their shell, composed of a dorsal carapace and a ventral plastron. The carapace first appears as the turtle-specific carapacial ridge (CR) on the lateral aspect of the embryonic flank. Accompanying the acquisition of the shell, unlike in other amniotes, hypaxial muscles in turtle embryos appear as thin threads of fibrous tissue. To understand carapacial evolution from the perspective of muscle development, we compared the development of the muscle plate, the anlage of hypaxial muscles, between the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis, and chicken embryos. We found that the ventrolateral lip (VLL) of the thoracic dermomyotome of P. sinensis delaminates early and produces sparse muscle plate in the lateral body wall. Expression patterns of the regulatory genes for myotome differentiation, such as Myf5, myogenin, Pax3, and Pax7 have been conserved among amniotes, including turtles. However, in P. sinensis embryos, the gene hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), encoding a regulatory factor for delamination of the dermomyotomal VLL, was uniquely expressed in sclerotome and the lateral body wall at the interlimb level. Implantation of COS-7 cells expressing a HGF antagonist into the turtle embryo inhibited CR formation. We conclude that the de novo expression of HGF in the turtle mesoderm would have played an innovative role resulting in the acquisition of the turtle-specific body plan. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  18. Aging the oldest turtles: the placodont affinities of Priscochelys hegnabrunnensis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scheyer, Torsten M.

    2008-09-01

    Priscochelys hegnabrunnensis, a fragmentary piece of armour shell from the Muschelkalk of Germany (Upper Triassic) with few diagnostic morphological features, was recently proposed to represent the oldest known stem turtle. As such, the specimen is of high importance because it shifts the date of the first appearance of turtles back about 20 Ma, which equals about 10% of the total stratigraphic range of the group. In this paper, I present new morphologic, histologic and neutron tomographic (NT) data that relate to the microstructure of the bone of the specimen itself. In opposition to the previous morphologic descriptions, P. hegnabrunnensis was found to share several distinctive features (i.e. bone sutures congruent with scute sulci, absence of a diploe structure with interior cancellous bone, thin vascular canals radiating outwards from distinct centres in each field and rugose ventral bone surface texture consisting of mineralised fibre bundles) with cyamodontoid placodonts (Diapsida: Sauropterygia) and fewer with stem turtles (i.e. depth of sulci). Two aspects that were previously thought to be relevant for the assignment to the turtle stem (conical scutes and presence of foramina) are argued to be of dubious value. P. hegnabrunnensis is proposed to represent a fragmentary piece of cyamodontoid armour consisting of fused conical plates herein. The specimen is not a part of the turtle stem and thus does not represent the oldest turtle. Accordingly, P. hegnabrunnensis does not shorten the ghost lineage to the potential sister group of turtles.

  19. A Middle Triassic stem-turtle and the evolution of the turtle body plan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schoch, Rainer R; Sues, Hans-Dieter

    2015-07-30

    The origin and early evolution of turtles have long been major contentious issues in vertebrate zoology. This is due to conflicting character evidence from molecules and morphology and a lack of transitional fossils from the critical time interval. The ∼220-million-year-old stem-turtle Odontochelys from China has a partly formed shell and many turtle-like features in its postcranial skeleton. Unlike the 214-million-year-old Proganochelys from Germany and Thailand, it retains marginal teeth and lacks a carapace. Odontochelys is separated by a large temporal gap from the ∼260-million-year-old Eunotosaurus from South Africa, which has been hypothesized as the earliest stem-turtle. Here we report a new reptile, Pappochelys, that is structurally and chronologically intermediate between Eunotosaurus and Odontochelys and dates from the Middle Triassic period (∼240 million years ago). The three taxa share anteroposteriorly broad trunk ribs that are T-shaped in cross-section and bear sculpturing, elongate dorsal vertebrae, and modified limb girdles. Pappochelys closely resembles Odontochelys in various features of the limb girdles. Unlike Odontochelys, it has a cuirass of robust paired gastralia in place of a plastron. Pappochelys provides new evidence that the plastron partly formed through serial fusion of gastralia. Its skull has small upper and ventrally open lower temporal fenestrae, supporting the hypothesis of diapsid affinities of turtles.

  20. Ecological opportunities, habitat, and past climatic fluctuations influenced the diversification of modern turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodrigues, João Fabrício Mota; Diniz-Filho, José Alexandre Felizola

    2016-08-01

    Habitat may be viewed as an important life history component potentially related to diversification patterns. However, differences in diversification rates between aquatic and terrestrial realms are still poorly explored. Testudines is a group distributed worldwide that lives in aquatic and terrestrial environments, but until now no-one has evaluated the diversification history of the group as a whole. We aim here to investigate the diversification history of turtles and to test if habitat influenced speciation rate in these animals. We reconstructed the phylogeny of the modern species of chelonians and estimated node divergence dates using molecular markers and a Bayesian approach. Then, we used Bayesian Analyses of Macroevolutionary Mixtures to evaluate the diversification history of turtles and evaluate the effect of habitat on this pattern. Our reconstructed phylogeny covered 300 species (87% of the total diversity of the group). We found that the emydid subfamily Deirochelyinae, which forms the turtle hotspot in south-eastern United States, had an increase in its speciation rate, and that Galapagos tortoises had similar increases. Current speciation rates are lower in terrestrial turtles, contradicting studies supporting the idea terrestrial animals diversify more than aquatic species. Our results suggest that habitat, ecological opportunities, island invasions, and climatic factors are important drivers of diversification in modern turtles and reinforce the importance of habitat as a diversification driver. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. Turtles for tessellations

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Feijs, L.M.G.; Hu, J.

    2013-01-01

    We developed an approach to creating vector graphics representations of tessellations for purposes of teaching creative programming and laser cutting. The approach is based on turtle graphics. The lines of the turtle’s trail define the tiles of the tessellation. The turtle is defined in an

  2. The dawn of chelonian research: turtles between comparative anatomy and embryology in the 19th century.

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacCord, Kate; Caniglia, Guido; Moustakas-Verho, Jacqueline E; Burke, Ann C

    2015-05-01

    Many evo-devo studies of the turtle's shell draw hypotheses and support from historical sources. The groundbreaking works of Cuvier, Geoffroy St. Hilaire, Carus, Rathke, Owen, and others are being revived in modern research, and their centuries-old understanding of the turtle's shell reconsidered. In the works of these eminent biologists of the 19th century, comparative anatomy and embryology of turtle morphology set the stage for future studies in developmental biology, histology, and paleontology. Given the impact that these works still make on modern research, it is important to develop a thorough appreciation of previous authors, regarding how they arrived at their conclusions (i.e., what counted as evidence?), whether there was debate amongst these authors about shell development (i.e., what counted as an adequate explanation?), and even why these men, some of the most powerful and influential thinkers and anatomists of their day, were concerned with turtles. By tracing and exposing the context and content of turtle shell studies in history, our aim is to inform modern debates about the evolution and development of the turtle's shell. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  3. The Leopard Tortoise in the Mountain Zebra National Park

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. H Grobler

    1982-12-01

    Full Text Available A total of 69 leopard tortoises Geochelone pardalis babcocki (Loveridge 1935 were captured, marked, sexed, weighed and released. The results of this exercise together with other field data are presented and discussed.

  4. Relative abundance of desert tortoises on the Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rautenstrauch, K.R.; O'Farrell, T.P.

    1993-01-01

    Seven hundred fifty-nine transects having a total length of 1,191 km were walked during 1981--1986 to determine the distribution and relative abundance of desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) on the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The abundance of tortoises on NTS was low to very low relative to other populations in the Mojave Desert. Sign of tortoises was found from 880 to 1,570 m elevation and was more abundant above 1,200 m than has been reported previously for Nevada. Tortoises were more abundant on NTS on the upper alluvial fans and slopes of mountains than in valley bottoms. They also were more common on or near limestone and dolomite mountains than on mountains of volcanic origin

  5. utilization of tortoise (chelonoides nigra, quoy and gaimard, 1824)

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Tersor

    were sampled and the data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics and Chi square. The study ..... A big tortoise costs between 1,500 and ..... Publishing Network Journal of Agriculture ... Malaysia, Traffic soughteast Asia, Petaling.

  6. the giant tortoise population of aldabra (cryptodira: testudinidae)

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The ecology and behaviour of the Aldabran giant tortoise Geochelone (Testudo) ... sling suspended from a heavy duty balance mounted on a light steel tripod and ..... is absent, and may die of exposure to intense solar radiation and resultant.

  7. The Turtle's Shell: Protecting the Life Underneath

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garvey, John; Gordon, John; Kleinbard, Peter; Wasserman, Paul

    2013-01-01

    In this chapter, four longtime adult literacy practitioners recount their pathways into the field in the late 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s. Their stories highlight the creativity and openness that characterized literacy work in those years and point to what has been lost as the field has become dominated by the Workforce Investment Act and the…

  8. Detection of testudinid herpesvirus type 4 in a leopard tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kolesnik, Ekaterina; Mittenzwei, Frank; Marschang, Rachel E

    2016-08-17

    Several animals from a mixed species collection of tortoises in Germany died unexpectedly. Some of the affected leopard tortoises (Stigmochelys pardalis) from this group showed respiratory signs. Samples were collected from one of the ill tortoises, and a Mycoplasma spp. and a herpesvirus were detected by PCR. Sequencing of a portion of the DNA polymerase gene of the herpesvirus showed 99% identity with testudinid herpesvirus 4, previously described only once in a bowsprit tortoise (Chersina angulata) in the United States.

  9. Enhancing and restoring habitat for the desert tortoise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abella, Scott R.; Berry, Kristin H.

    2016-01-01

    Habitat has changed unfavorably during the past 150 y for the desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii, a federally threatened species with declining populations in the Mojave Desert and western Sonoran Desert. To support recovery efforts, we synthesized published information on relationships of desert tortoises with three habitat features (cover sites, forage, and soil) and candidate management practices for improving these features for tortoises. In addition to their role in soil health and facilitating recruitment of annual forage plants, shrubs are used by desert tortoises for cover and as sites for burrows. Outplanting greenhouse-grown seedlings, protected from herbivory, has successfully restored (>50% survival) a variety of shrubs on disturbed desert soils. Additionally, salvaging and reapplying topsoil using effective techniques is among the more ecologically beneficial ways to initiate plant recovery after severe disturbance. Through differences in biochemical composition and digestibility, some plant species provide better-quality forage than others. Desert tortoises selectively forage on particular annual and herbaceous perennial species (e.g., legumes), and forage selection shifts during the year as different plants grow or mature. Nonnative grasses provide low-quality forage and contribute fuel to spreading wildfires, which damage or kill shrubs that tortoises use for cover. Maintaining a diverse “menu” of native annual forbs and decreasing nonnative grasses are priorities for restoring most desert tortoise habitats. Reducing herbivory by nonnative animals, carefully timing herbicide applications, and strategically augmenting annual forage plants via seeding show promise for improving tortoise forage quality. Roads, another disturbance, negatively affect habitat in numerous ways (e.g., compacting soil, altering hydrology). Techniques such as recontouring road berms to reestablish drainage patterns, vertical mulching (“planting” dead plant material

  10. European Atlantic Turtles

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Brongersma, L.D.

    1972-01-01

    CONTENTS Preface ................... 3 Introduction .................. 5 Identification.................. 13 The records................... 25 I. Dermochelys coriacea (L.), Leathery Turtle......... 30 IA. List of records of Dermochelys coriacea (L.)......... 31 IB. List of records of unidentified

  11. AMAPPS turtle data

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Satellite tags were deployed on 60 loggerhead turtles to assess dive behavior to improve estimates of abundance in aerial surveys

  12. PIR Marine Turtle Nesting

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Effective management of marine turtle data is essential to maximize their research value and enable timely population assessments and recovery monitoring. To provide...

  13. PIR Marine Turtle Strandings

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Effective management of marine turtle data is essential to maximize their research value and enable timely population assessments and recovery monitoring. To provide...

  14. Green Turtle Critical Habitat

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — These data represent the critical habitat for green turtle as designated by Federal Register Vol. 63, No. 46701, September 2, 1998, Rules and Regulations.

  15. Green Turtle Trophic Ecology

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — SWFSC is currently conducting a study of green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) trophic ecology in the eastern Pacific. Tissue samples and stable carbon and stable...

  16. Translocation as a conservation tool for Agassiz's desert tortoises: Survivorship, reproduction, and movements

    Science.gov (United States)

    K. E. Nussear; C. R. Tracy; P. A. Medica; D. S. Wilson; R. W. Marlow; P. S. Corn

    2012-01-01

    We translocated 120 Agassiz's desert tortoises to 5 sites in Nevada and Utah to evaluate the effects of translocation on tortoise survivorship, reproduction, and habitat use. Translocation sites included several elevations, and extended to sites with vegetation assemblages not typically associated with desert tortoises in order to explore the possibility of moving...

  17. Case descriptions of fibropapillomatosis in rehabilitating loggerhead sea turtles Caretta caretta in the southeastern USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Page-Karjian, Annie; Norton, Terry M; Harms, Craig; Mader, Doug; Herbst, Larry H; Stedman, Nancy; Gottdenker, Nicole L

    2015-08-20

    Fibropapillomatosis (FP) is a debilitating neoplastic disease that affects all species of hard-shelled sea turtles, including loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta. FP can represent an important clinical concern in rehabilitating turtles, since managing these infectious lesions often requires special husbandry provisions including quarantine, and FP may affect clinical progression, extend rehabilitation duration, and complicate prognoses. Here we describe cases of rehabilitating loggerhead turtles with FP (designated FP+). Medical records of FP+ loggerhead cases from 3 sea turtle rehabilitation facilities in the southeastern USA were reviewed. Between 2001 and 2014, FP was observed in 8 of 818 rehabilitating loggerhead turtles (0.98% overall prevalence in admitted patients). FP+ loggerhead size classes represented were large juvenile (straight carapace length, SCL: 58.1-80 cm; n=7) and adult (SCL>87 cm; n=1). Three turtles presented with FP, and 5 developed tumors during rehabilitation within a range of 45 to 319 d. Sites of new tumor growth included the eyes, sites of trauma, neck, and glottis. FP+ turtles were scored as mildly (3/8), moderately (4/8), or heavily (1/8) afflicted. The mean total time in rehabilitation was 476±355 d (SD) (range: 52-1159 d). Six turtles were released without visible evidence of FP, 1 turtle was released with mild FP, and 1 turtle with internal FP was euthanized. Clinical decision-making for FP+ loggerhead patients can be aided by such information as time to tumor development, anatomic locations to monitor for new tumor growth, husbandry considerations, diagnostic and treatment options, and comparisons to FP in rehabilitating green turtles Chelonia mydas.

  18. The Classroom Animal: Snapping Turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kramer, David C.

    1987-01-01

    Describes the distinctive features of the common snapping turtle. Discusses facts and misconceptions held about the turtle. Provides guidelines for proper care and treatment of a young snapper in a classroom environment. (ML)

  19. Sea Turtle Radio Telemetry Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Radio transmitters attached to sea turtles captured in various fishing gear enabled us to track and measure surfacing time of each turtle. Determining location of...

  20. Sea Turtle Stranding Network Reports

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network (STSSN) was formally established in 1980 to collect information on and document the stranding of marine turtles along...

  1. The amniote temporal roof and the diapsid origin of the turtle skull.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bever, G S; Lyson, Tyler R; Field, Daniel J; Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S

    2016-12-01

    Fossils provide a glimpse into the architecturally complex origins of modern vertebrate body plans. One such origin that has been long debated is that of turtles. Although much attention has been directed toward the origin of the shell, the enigmatic evolution of the turtle skull and its anapsid temporal region has long clouded our understanding of reptile phylogeny. Two taxa, Eunotosaurus africanus and Pappochelys rosinae, were recently and independently described as long-anticipated stem turtles whose diapsid skulls would cement the evolutionary link between turtles and other modern reptile lineages. Detailed μCT analysis of the stratigraphically older and phylogenetically stemward of the two, Eunotosaurus, provides empirical insight into changing developmental trajectories that may have produced the anapsid cranial form of modern turtles and sets the stage for more comprehensive studies of early amniote cranial evolution. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  2. Identifying Critical Habitat for Australian Freshwater Turtles in a Large Regulated Floodplain: Implications for Environmental Water Management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ocock, J. F.; Bino, G.; Wassens, S.; Spencer, J.; Thomas, R. F.; Kingsford, R. T.

    2018-03-01

    Freshwater turtles face many threats, including habitat loss and river regulation reducing occupancy and contributing to population decline. Limited knowledge of hydrological conditions required to maintain viable turtle populations in large floodplain wetlands hinders effective adaptive management of environmental water in regulated rivers. We surveyed three turtle species over 4 years across the Lower Murrumbidgee River floodplain, a large wetland complex with a long history of water resource development. Using site and floodplain metrics and generalized linear models, within a Bayesian Model Averaging framework, we quantified the main drivers affecting turtle abundance. We also used a hierarchical modeling approach, requiring large sample sizes, quantifying possible environmental effects while accounting for detection probabilities of the eastern long-necked turtle ( Chelodina longicollis). The three species varied in their responses to hydrological conditions and connectivity to the main river channel. Broad-shelled turtles ( Chelodina expansa) and Macquarie River turtles ( Emydura macquarii macquarii) had restricted distributions, centered on frequently inundated wetlands close to the river, whereas the eastern long-necked turtles were more widely distributed, indicating an ability to exploit variable habitats. We conclude that turtle communities would benefit from long-term management strategies that maintain a spatiotemporal mosaic of hydrological conditions. More specifically, we identified characteristics of refuge habitats and stress the importance of maintaining their integrity during dry periods. Neighboring habitats can be targeted during increased water availability years to enhance feeding and dispersal opportunities for freshwater turtles.

  3. Herpesvirus in a captive Australian Krefft's river turtle (Emydura macquarii krefftii).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cowan, M L; Raidal, S R; Peters, A

    2015-01-01

    A mature, captive Krefft's river turtle (Emydura macquarii krefftii) was presented with severe proliferative and ulcerative lesions of the skin and shell. The areas were biopsied and histopathological examination demonstrated orthokeratotic hyperkeratosis with keratinocytes containing eosinophilic intranuclear inclusions. Molecular diagnostics confirmed the presence of a herpesvirus in the affected tissues. This is the first recorded case of herpesvirus infection in an Australian freshwater turtle species. © 2015 Australian Veterinary Association.

  4. Wildlife DNA forensics against crime: resolution of a case of tortoise theft.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mucci, Nadia; Mengoni, Chiara; Randi, Ettore

    2014-01-01

    A paternity test was used to investigate a robbery case involving captive individuals of Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca). Six tortoises were allegedly stolen from a private breeder and offered for sale on the web by the supposed thief. The stolen tortoises were confiscated by the rangers of the State Forestry Corps (CFS). A panel of 14 autosomal microsatellite loci was used to genotype the seized tortoises and ten individuals assumed to be legally owned by the breeder. Kinship analyses reliably reconstructed the tortoise pedigree, demonstrating parent-offspring relationships among the owned and the stolen tortoises. As correctly declared by the breeder, four of the six stolen individuals belonged to the same family group of the ten legally owned tortoises. Results indicate that genetic identification procedures can provide valuable evidence and give useful support against illegal wildlife traffic. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Turtle Watch: Community Engagement and Action

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, Elaine; Baudains, Catherine

    2015-01-01

    Many threats face the freshwater turtle, Chelodina colliei, also known as the oblong turtle. A community education project, Turtle Watch, focused on this target species and enabled effective conservation action to be implemented. Turtle Watch was conducted in the Perth Metropolitan Area of Western Australia, as the oblong turtle inhabits the…

  6. Homeotic shift at the dawn of the turtle evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Szczygielski, Tomasz

    2017-04-01

    All derived turtles are characterized by one of the strongest reductions of the dorsal elements among Amniota, and have only 10 dorsal and eight cervical vertebrae. I demonstrate that the Late Triassic turtles, which represent successive stages of the shell evolution, indicate that the shift of the boundary between the cervical and dorsal sections of the vertebral column occurred over the course of several million years after the formation of complete carapace. The more generalized reptilian formula of at most seven cervicals and at least 11 dorsals is thus plesiomorphic for Testudinata. The morphological modifications associated with an anterior homeotic change of the first dorsal vertebra towards the last cervical vertebra in the Triassic turtles are partially recapitulated by the reduction of the first dorsal vertebra in crown-group Testudines, and they resemble the morphologies observed under laboratory conditions resulting from the experimental changes of Hox gene expression patterns. This homeotic shift hypothesis is supported by the, unique to turtles, restriction of Hox-5 expression domains, somitic precursors of scapula, and brachial plexus branches to the cervical region, by the number of the marginal scute-forming placodes, which was larger in the Triassic than in modern turtles, and by phylogenetic analyses.

  7. Endoscopically guided removal of cloacal calculi in three African spurred tortoises (Geochelone sulcata).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mans, Christoph; Sladky, Kurt K

    2012-04-01

    3 female African spurred tortoises (Geochelone sulcata) of various body weights (0.22, 0.77, and 2.86 kg [0.48, 1.69, and 6.29 lb]) were examined because of reduced food intake and lack of fecal output. Owners reported intermittent tenesmus in 2 of the tortoises. Physical examinations revealed no clinically important abnormalities in the tortoises. Cloacal calculi were diagnosed on the basis of radiography and cloacoscopy in all 3 tortoises. One tortoise had another calculus in the urinary bladder. Tortoises were anesthetized, and cloacal calculi were removed by use of a cutting burr (plain-fissure cutting burr and a soft tissue protector mounted to a dental handpiece that had a low-speed motor and a straight nose cone) and warm water irrigation with endoscopic guidance. Complete removal of calculus fragments was achieved by use of forceps and irrigation. In 1 tortoise, removal of the cloacal calculus was staged (2 separate procedures). In another tortoise, a second cloacal calculus (which had been located in the urinary bladder during the first examination) was successfully removed 25 days after removal of the first calculus. All 3 tortoises recovered uneventfully, and serious complications secondary to removal of the cloacal calculi were not detected. Cloacoscopy combined with the use of a low-speed dental drill and warm water irrigation should be considered a simple, safe, and nontraumatic treatment option for removal of obstructive cloacal calculi in tortoises.

  8. Management and research of desert tortoises for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rautenstrauch, K.R.; Cox, M.K.; Doerr, T.B.; Green, R.A.; Mueller, J.M.; O'Farrell, T.P.; Rakestraw, D.L.

    1991-01-01

    A program has been developed for the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) to manage and study the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizi), a threatened species that occurs at low densities at Yucca Mountain. The goals of this program are to better understand the biology and status of the desert tortoise population at Yucca Mountain, assess impacts on tortoises of site characterization (SC) activities, and minimize those impacts. The first steps we took to develop this program were to compile the available information on tortoise biology at Yucca Mountain, ascertain what information was lacking, and identify the potential impacts on tortoises of SC. We then developed a technical design for identifying and mitigating direct and cumulative impacts and providing information on tortoise biology. Interrelated studies were developed to achieve these objectives. The primary sampling unit for the impact monitoring studies is radiomarked tortoises. Three populations of tortoises will be sampled: individuals isolated from disturbances (control), individuals near major SC activities (direct effects treatment and worst-case cumulative effects treatment), and individuals from throughout Yucca Mountain (cumulative effects treatment). Impacts will be studied by measuring and comparing survival, reproduction, movements, habitat use, health, and diet of these tortoises. A habitat quality model also will be developed and the efficacy of mitigation techniques, such as relocating tortoises, will be evaluated. 29 refs

  9. The effect of growth rate and ageing on colour variation of European pond turtles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ibáñez, Alejandro; Martín, José; Marzal, Alfonso; Bertolero, Albert

    2017-06-01

    Many chelonians have colourful dots, patches and stripes throughout their body that are made up, at least in part, of carotenoids. Therefore, turtles are very suitable models to study the evolution and functionality of carotenoid-based colouration. Recent studies suggested a close link between colouration and immune system in these taxa. However, more research is needed to understand the role of these colourful stripes and patches in turtle visual signalling. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between growth rate and colouration in European pond turtles. In particular, we wanted to answer the question of whether there is a trade-off between growth and colour expression. We also aimed to explore the effect of body size and age on colour variation. Turtles from a reintroduction-breeding program were recaptured, weighed and measured over an 8-year period to estimate their growth rates and age. We also measured with a spectrometer the reflectance of colour patches in two different body parts: shell and forelimb. We found that turtles with a faster growth rate had brighter limb stripes independently of their age. On the other hand, shell colouration was related to body size with larger turtles having brighter shell stripes and higher values of carotenoid chroma. Our results suggest that fast-growers may afford to express intense colourful limb stripes likely due to their higher intake of carotenoids that would modulate both growth and colour expression. However, shell colouration was related to body size probably due to ontogenetic differences in the diet, as juveniles are strictly carnivorous while adults are omnivorous. Alternatively, shell colouration might be involved in crypsis as the shell is visually exposed to predators.

  10. The effect of growth rate and ageing on colour variation of European pond turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ibáñez, Alejandro; Martín, José; Marzal, Alfonso; Bertolero, Albert

    2017-06-01

    Many chelonians have colourful dots, patches and stripes throughout their body that are made up, at least in part, of carotenoids. Therefore, turtles are very suitable models to study the evolution and functionality of carotenoid-based colouration. Recent studies suggested a close link between colouration and immune system in these taxa. However, more research is needed to understand the role of these colourful stripes and patches in turtle visual signalling. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between growth rate and colouration in European pond turtles. In particular, we wanted to answer the question of whether there is a trade-off between growth and colour expression. We also aimed to explore the effect of body size and age on colour variation. Turtles from a reintroduction-breeding program were recaptured, weighed and measured over an 8-year period to estimate their growth rates and age. We also measured with a spectrometer the reflectance of colour patches in two different body parts: shell and forelimb. We found that turtles with a faster growth rate had brighter limb stripes independently of their age. On the other hand, shell colouration was related to body size with larger turtles having brighter shell stripes and higher values of carotenoid chroma. Our results suggest that fast-growers may afford to express intense colourful limb stripes likely due to their higher intake of carotenoids that would modulate both growth and colour expression. However, shell colouration was related to body size probably due to ontogenetic differences in the diet, as juveniles are strictly carnivorous while adults are omnivorous. Alternatively, shell colouration might be involved in crypsis as the shell is visually exposed to predators.

  11. The Giant Tortoise Population of Aldabra (Cryptodira: Testudinidae ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The preliminary results of a study of the endemic giant tortoise population of Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean (Geochelone gigatea Schweiger) are briefly described. Their number would appear to have increased dramatically since the turn of the century to their present level of some 141 000 individuals. Crude estimates of ...

  12. Reproductive ecology and egg production of the radiated tortoise ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    We captured and marked 1438 radiated tortoises of which 26% were adults. Mating and nesting coincided with the rainy season, and mating events peaked in December, shortly before females started nesting in January. The incubation period was approximately 263–342 days, and hatchlings emerged after the onset of the ...

  13. Morphometrics of the pancake tortoise ( Malacochersus tornieri ) in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Malacochersus tornieri) in June 1995. Carapace length ranges for immature tortoises and adult males and females were 50-115, 123-160 and 129-171 mm respectively. The respective carapace widths were 45-90, 97-130, and 92-129 and 97-130 ...

  14. Inhibition and Kinetic Studies of Tortoise (Kinixys erosa) Liver arginase

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The effect of amino acid on tortoise liver arginase showed that L-lysine, L-valine, L-serine, L-aspartic acid and L aspartic acid had significant inhibitory effect on the enzyme but proline and glutamic acid showed slight inhibition. Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), citrate, ascorbic acid, boric acid and sodium borate ...

  15. Decapitation of the tortoise Chersina angulata : Is the large grey ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    This paper reports a previously undescribed form of predation upon the angulate tortoise, Chersina angulata, in the West Coast National Park, South Africa. Twelve recently killed C. angulata were found, within an area of 4–5 hectares, during April 2000. The head and neck were missing from all individuals, while the rest of ...

  16. Cryptosporidium from tortoises: Genetic characterisation, phylogeny and zoonotic implications

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Traversa, D.; Iorio, R.; Otranto, D.; Modrý, David; Šlapeta, J.

    2008-01-01

    Roč. 22, č. 2 (2008), s. 122-128 ISSN 0890-8508 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60220518 Keywords : Cryptosporidium * tortoises * COWP * Testudo * epidemiology * 18S SSU rDNA Subject RIV: GJ - Animal Vermins ; Diseases, Veterinary Medicine Impact factor: 2.196, year: 2008

  17. Short Communications Predation on tent tortoise and leopard ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    1991-06-26

    Jun 26, 1991 ... Predation by the pale chanting goshawk Melierax canorus on. Psammobates tentorius and Geoche/one pardalis hatchlings oorrelates with the habitat preference of these tortoise spe- ... into the region covered by the VI scute length of prey items ... pairs of birds occupying territories incorporating KBV and.

  18. Salmonella from Baby Turtles

    Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Podcasts

    2017-01-09

    Dr. Stacey Bosch, a veterinarian with CDC, discusses her article on Salmonella infections associated with baby turtles.  Created: 1/9/2017 by National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID).   Date Released: 1/9/2017.

  19. Palaeoecology of triassic stem turtles sheds new light on turtle origins.

    OpenAIRE

    Joyce, Walter G.; Gauthier, Jacques A.

    2004-01-01

    Competing hypotheses of early turtle evolution contrast sharply in implying very different ecological settings-aquatic versus terrestrial-for the origin of turtles. We investigate the palaeoecology of extinct turtles by first demonstrating that the forelimbs of extant turtles faithfully reflect habitat preferences, with short-handed turtles being terrestrial and long-handed turtles being aquatic. We apply this metric to the two successive outgroups to all living turtles with forelimbs preserv...

  20. Body size development of captive and free-ranging Leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ritz, Julia; Hammer, Catrin; Clauss, Marcus

    2010-01-01

    The growth and weight development of Leopard tortoise hatchings (Geochelone pardalis) kept at the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP), Qatar, was observed for more than four years, and compared to data in literature for free-ranging animals on body weight or carapace measurements. The results document a distinctively faster growth in the captive animals. Indications for the same phenomenon in other tortoise species (Galapagos giant tortoises, G. nigra; Spur-thighed tortoises, Testudo graeca; Desert tortoises, Gopherus agassizi) were found in the literature. The cause of the high growth rate most likely is the constant provision with highly digestible food of low fiber content. Increased growth rates are suspected to have negative consequences such as obesity, high mortality, gastrointestinal illnesses, renal diseases, "pyramiding," fibrous osteodystrophy or metabolic bone disease. The apparently widespread occurrence of high growth rates in intensively managed tortoises underlines how easily ectothermic animals can be oversupplemented with nutrients. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  1. Distance to human populations influences epidemiology of respiratory disease in desert tortoises

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Kristin H.; Ashley A. Coble (formerly Emerson), no longer USGS; Yee, Julie L.; Mack, Jeremy S.; Perry, William M.; Anderson, Kemp M.; Brown, Mary B.

    2014-01-01

    We explored variables likely to affect health of Agassiz's desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) in a 1,183-km2 study area in the central Mojave Desert of California between 2005 and 2008. We evaluated 1,004 tortoises for prevalence and spatial distribution of 2 pathogens, Mycoplasma agassizii and M. testudineum, that cause upper respiratory tract disease. We defined tortoises as test-positive if they were positive by culture and/or DNA identification or positive or suspect for specific antibody for either of the two pathogens. We used covariates of habitat (vegetation, elevation, slope, and aspect), tortoise size and sex, distance from another test-positive tortoise, and anthropogenic variables (distances to roads, agricultural areas, playas, urban areas, and centroids of human-populated census blocks). We used both logistic regression models and regression trees to evaluate the 2 species of Mycoplasma separately. The prevalence of test-positive tortoises was low: 1.49% (15/1,004) for M. agassizii and 2.89% (29/1,004) for M. testudineum. The spatial distributions of test-positive tortoises for the 2 Mycoplasma species showed little overlap; only 2 tortoises were test-positive for both diseases. However, the spatial distributions did not differ statistically between the 2 species. We consistently found higher prevalence of test-positive tortoises with shorter distances to centroids of human-populated census blocks. The relationship between distance to human-populated census blocks and tortoises that are test-positive for M. agassizii and potentially M. testudineum may be related to release or escape of captive tortoises because the prevalence of M. agassizii in captive tortoises is high. Our findings have application to other species of chelonians where both domestic captive and wild populations exist. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  2. Three-year movement patterns of adult desert tortoises at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Holt, E.A.; Rautenstrauch, K.R.

    1995-01-01

    We studied the home-range size and site fidelity of adult desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, during 1992-1994. Of 67 adult tortoises monitored at Yucca Mountain during this period, we evaluated the movements of 22 female and 16 male radiomarked tortoises that were located >50 times during each of the 1992, 1993, and 1994 activity seasons. We measured annual and three-year home range sizes by either 100% minimum convex polygon (MCP) or by 95% cluster

  3. Experimental transmission and induction of ranaviral disease in Western Ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata) and red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, A J; Pessier, A P; Jacobson, E R

    2007-05-01

    An experimental transmission study was designed to determine whether a causal relationship exists between a Ranavirus (BSTRV) isolated from a Burmese star tortoise that died and the lesions observed in that tortoise. A pilot study was performed with 3 box turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata) and 3 red-eared sliders (RESs; Trachemys scripta elegans) to assess their suitability in a larger study. Based on the outcome of this study, RESs were selected, and 2 groups of 4 RESs received either an oral (PO) or intramuscular (IM) inoculum containing10(5) 50% Tissue Culture Infecting Dose (TCID(50)) of a BSTRV-infected cell lysate. One turtle each was mock inoculated PO or IM with the same volume of uninfected cell lysate. Three of four IM-inoculated RESs developed clinical signs (nasal and ocular discharge [3 of 3], oral plaques [1 of 3], conjunctivitis and hyphema [1 of 3] and extreme lethargy [3 of 3]). A Ranavirus was isolated from kidney homogenates of 3 euthanatized turtles; DNA sequences of a portion of the major capsid protein gene were amplified by polymerase chain reaction. Consistent histologic lesions were observed only in IM-inoculated turtles and included fibrinoid vasculitis centered on splenic ellipsoids, multifocal hepatic necrosis, and multicentric fibrin thrombi in a variety of locations, including hepatic sinusoids, glomerular capillary loops, and pulmonary capillaries. Virions compatible with Ranavirus were observed within necrotic cells of the spleen of 1 IM-inoculated turtle using transmission electron microscopy. This study fulfills Koch's postulates, confirming a causal relationship between BSTRV and the clinical and histologic changes in chelonians infected with this virus.

  4. Long-term growth of Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) in a southern Nevada population

    Science.gov (United States)

    Medica, P.A.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Esque, Todd C.; Saethre, Mary B.

    2012-01-01

    Knowledge of growth rates, age at maturity, and longevity are important aspects of a species life history and are directly applicable to life table creation and population viability analyses. We measured the growth of a cohort of 17 semi-wild Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) located in Rock Valley, Nevada over a 47-yr period beginning in 1963. The tortoises were initially marked as hatchling and juvenile animals between the years 1963 and 1965 and ranged in size from 47 to 77 mm in plastron length. We assigned ages of 1-4 yr to the tortoises at initial capture based on their body size. These tortoises were recaptured, measured, and weighed approximately annually since their initial capture. Growth of male and female tortoises did not differ significantly until animals reached the age of 23-25 yr. Annual tortoise growth was correlated with the production of ephemeral vegetation, while accounting for size, sex, and repeated measurements of the animals as well as the interval between measurements. However, the production of ephemeral plants was likewise highly correlated (non-linearly) with winter rainfall. Stochastic predation events between 2003 and 2007 decimated this cohort of tortoises. The average age of the long-term surviving tortoises from this cohort was 43 yr with a range of 39-47 yr. Twelve of the tortoises survived to the age of 39 yr and 11 of the 12 reached 40 yr.

  5. Integrating gene transcription-based biomarkers to understand desert tortoise and ecosystem health

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Drake, Karla K.; Waters, Shannon C.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.

    2015-01-01

    Tortoises are susceptible to a wide variety of environmental stressors, and the influence of human disturbances on health and survival of tortoises is difficult to detect. As an addition to current diagnostic methods for desert tortoises, we have developed the first leukocyte gene transcription biomarker panel for the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), enhancing the ability to identify specific environmental conditions potentially linked to declining animal health. Blood leukocyte transcript profiles have the potential to identify physiologically stressed animals in lieu of clinical signs. For desert tortoises, the gene transcript profile included a combination of immune or detoxification response genes with the potential to be modified by biological or physical injury and consequently provide information on the type and magnitude of stressors present in the animal’s habitat. Blood from 64 wild adult tortoises at three sites in Clark County, NV, and San Bernardino, CA, and from 19 captive tortoises in Clark County, NV, was collected and evaluated for genes indicative of physiological status. Statistical analysis using a priori groupings indicated significant differences among groups for several genes, while multidimensional scaling and cluster analyses of transcriptionC T values indicated strong differentiation of a large cluster and multiple outlying individual tortoises or small clusters in multidimensional space. These analyses highlight the effectiveness of the gene panel at detecting environmental perturbations as well as providing guidance in determining the health of the desert tortoise.

  6. Turtles From an Arkadelphia Formation—Midway Group Lag Deposit (Maastrichtian—Paleocene, Hot Spring County, Arkansas, USA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martin A. Becker

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available The Arkadelphia Formation—Midway Group (Maastrichtian—Paleocene contact near Malvern, Arkansas preserves a K-Pg boundary assemblage of turtle species consisting of skull, shell, and non-shell postcranial skeletal elements. The Malvern turtles are preserved within a coquina lag deposit that comprises the basalmost Midway Group and also contains an abundance of other reptiles, as well as chondrichthyans, osteichthyans, and invertebrates. This coquina lag deposit records a complex taphonomic history of exhumation and reburial of vertebrate skeletal elements along a dynamic ancestral shoreline in southwestern Arkansas during the late Cretaceous-early Paleocene. Based on stratigraphic occurrence, the Malvern turtle assemblage indicates that these marine reptiles were living at or near the time of the K-Pg mass extinction and represent some of the latest Cretaceous turtles yet recovered from the Gulf Coastal Plain of the United States.

  7. "Sea Turtles" and "Ground Beetles" [Land Turtles] Should Shake Hands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kan, Da

    2004-01-01

    This article talks about those who come back to China after studies abroad, characterized as "sea turtles" and those scholars who have remained in China to arduously pursue their studies, characterized as "ground beetles". " Sea turtles" are those foreign MBAs and Ph.D.s who are objects of praise, admiration and are…

  8. Levels of trace elements in green turtle eggs collected from Hong Kong: Evidence of risks due to selenium and nickel

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lam, James C.W.; Tanabe, Shinsuke; Chan, Simon K.F.; Lam, Michael H.W.; Martin, Michael; Lam, Paul K.S.

    2006-01-01

    Concentrations of 22 trace elements were determined in green turtle (Chelonia mydas) eggs collected from Hong Kong. Concentrations of selenium, lead and nickel in these eggs were generally higher than those reported in other studies. The predicted no effect concentrations (PNEC; ng/g wet weight) of Pb (1000), Se (340 and 6000 for the worst-case and best-case scenarios, respectively) and Ni (17) in the green turtle eggs were estimated. Hazard quotients (HQs) estimate that Se (HQs: 0.2-24.5) and Ni (HQs: 4.0-26.4) may pose some risks to the turtles. Our study also found that concentrations of Ag, Se, Zn, Hg and Pb in the shell of the turtle eggs were significantly correlated with levels in the whole egg contents (yolk + albumen). Once the precise relationships of specific elements are established, egg-shell concentrations may be used as a non-lethal, non-invasive, surrogate for predicting whole egg burden of certain contaminants in marine turtles. - Concentrations of selenium and nickel in green turtle eggs from Hong Kong might pose some risks to the turtles

  9. Levels of trace elements in green turtle eggs collected from Hong Kong: Evidence of risks due to selenium and nickel

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lam, James C.W. [Center for Coastal Pollution and Conservation, Department of Biology and Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong (China); Tanabe, Shinsuke [Center for Marine Environmental Studies, Ehime University, Tarumi 3-5-7, Matsuyama 790-8556 (Japan); Chan, Simon K.F. [Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Hong Kong SAR Government, Hong Kong, (China); Lam, Michael H.W. [Center for Coastal Pollution and Conservation, Department of Biology and Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong (China); Martin, Michael [Center for Coastal Pollution and Conservation, Department of Biology and Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong (China); Lam, Paul K.S. [Center for Coastal Pollution and Conservation, Department of Biology and Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong (China)]. E-mail: bhpksl@cityu.edu.hk

    2006-12-15

    Concentrations of 22 trace elements were determined in green turtle (Chelonia mydas) eggs collected from Hong Kong. Concentrations of selenium, lead and nickel in these eggs were generally higher than those reported in other studies. The predicted no effect concentrations (PNEC; ng/g wet weight) of Pb (1000), Se (340 and 6000 for the worst-case and best-case scenarios, respectively) and Ni (17) in the green turtle eggs were estimated. Hazard quotients (HQs) estimate that Se (HQs: 0.2-24.5) and Ni (HQs: 4.0-26.4) may pose some risks to the turtles. Our study also found that concentrations of Ag, Se, Zn, Hg and Pb in the shell of the turtle eggs were significantly correlated with levels in the whole egg contents (yolk + albumen). Once the precise relationships of specific elements are established, egg-shell concentrations may be used as a non-lethal, non-invasive, surrogate for predicting whole egg burden of certain contaminants in marine turtles. - Concentrations of selenium and nickel in green turtle eggs from Hong Kong might pose some risks to the turtles.

  10. Serologic and molecular evidence for testudinid herpesvirus 2 infection in wild Agassiz’s desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jacobson, Elliott R.; Berry, Kristin H.; Wellehan, James F. X.; Origgi, Francesco; Childress, April L.; Braun, Josephine; Schrenzel, Mark; Yee, Julie; Rideout, Bruce

    2012-01-01

    Following field observations of wild Agassiz’s desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) with oral lesions similar to those seen in captive tortoises with herpesvirus infection, we measured the prevalence of antibodies to Testudinid herpesvirus (TeHV) 3 in wild populations of desert tortoises in California. The survey revealed 30.9% antibody prevalence. In 2009 and 2010, two wild adult male desert tortoises, with gross lesions consistent with trauma and puncture wounds, respectively, were necropsied. Tortoise 1 was from the central Mojave Desert and tortoise 2 was from the northeastern Mojave Desert. We extracted DNA from the tongue of tortoise 1 and from the tongue and nasal mucosa of tortoise 2. Sequencing of polymerase chain reaction products of the herpesviral DNA-dependent DNA polymerase gene and the UL39 gene respectively showed 100% nucleotide identity with TeHV2, which was previously detected in an ill captive desert tortoise in California. Although several cases of herpesvirus infection have been described in captive desert tortoises, our findings represent the first conclusive molecular evidence of TeHV2 infection in wild desert tortoises. The serologic findings support cross-reactivity between TeHV2 and TeHV3. Further studies to determine the ecology, prevalence, and clinical significance of this virus in tortoise populations are needed.

  11. Adaptive evolution of plastron shape in emydine turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Angielczyk, Kenneth D; Feldman, Chris R; Miller, Gretchen R

    2011-02-01

    Morphology reflects ecological pressures, phylogeny, and genetic and biophysical constraints. Disentangling their influence is fundamental to understanding selection and trait evolution. Here, we assess the contributions of function, phylogeny, and habitat to patterns of plastron (ventral shell) shape variation in emydine turtles. We quantify shape variation using geometric morphometrics, and determine the influence of several variables on shape using path analysis. Factors influencing plastron shape variation are similar between emydine turtles and the more inclusive Testudinoidea. We evaluate the fit of various evolutionary models to the shape data to investigate the selective landscape responsible for the observed morphological patterns. The presence of a hinge on the plastron accounts for most morphological variance, but phylogeny and habitat also correlate with shape. The distribution of shape variance across emydine phylogeny is most consistent with an evolutionary model containing two adaptive zones--one for turtles with kinetic plastra, and one for turtles with rigid plastra. Models with more complex adaptive landscapes often fit the data only as well as the null model (purely stochastic evolution). The adaptive landscape of plastron shape in Emydinae may be relatively simple because plastral kinesis imposes overriding mechanical constraints on the evolution of form. © 2010 The Author(s). Evolution© 2010 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  12. Shell Venster

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    De Wit, P.; Looijesteijn, B.; Regeer, B.; Stip, B.

    1995-03-01

    In the bi-monthly issues of 'Shell Venster' (window on Shell) attention is paid to the activities of the multinational petroleum company Shell Nederland and the Koninklijke/Shell Groep by means of non-specialist articles

  13. The welfare implications of using exotic tortoises as ecological replacements.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griffiths, Christine J; Zuël, Nicolas; Tatayah, Vikash; Jones, Carl G; Griffiths, Owen; Harris, Stephen

    2012-01-01

    Ecological replacement involves the introduction of non-native species to habitats beyond their historical range, a factor identified as increasing the risk of failure for translocations. Yet the effectiveness and success of ecological replacement rely in part on the ability of translocatees to adapt, survive and potentially reproduce in a novel environment. We discuss the welfare aspects of translocating captive-reared non-native tortoises, Aldabrachelys gigantea and Astrochelys radiata, to two offshore Mauritian islands, and the costs and success of the projects to date. Because tortoises are long-lived, late-maturing reptiles, we assessed the progress of the translocation by monitoring the survival, health, growth, and breeding by the founders. Between 2000 and 2011, a total of 26 A. gigantea were introduced to Ile aux Aigrettes, and in 2007 twelve sexually immature A. gigantea and twelve male A. radiata were introduced to Round Island, Mauritius. Annual mortality rates were low, with most animals either maintaining or gaining weight. A minimum of 529 hatchlings were produced on Ile aux Aigrettes in 11 years; there was no potential for breeding on Round Island. Project costs were low. We attribute the success of these introductions to the tortoises' generalist diet, habitat requirements, and innate behaviour. Feasibility analyses for ecological replacement and assisted colonisation projects should consider the candidate species' welfare during translocation and in its recipient environment. Our study provides a useful model for how this should be done. In addition to serving as ecological replacements for extinct Mauritian tortoises, we found that releasing small numbers of captive-reared A. gigantea and A. radiata is cost-effective and successful in the short term. The ability to release small numbers of animals is a particularly important attribute for ecological replacement projects since it reduces the potential risk and controversy associated with

  14. The welfare implications of using exotic tortoises as ecological replacements.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christine J Griffiths

    Full Text Available Ecological replacement involves the introduction of non-native species to habitats beyond their historical range, a factor identified as increasing the risk of failure for translocations. Yet the effectiveness and success of ecological replacement rely in part on the ability of translocatees to adapt, survive and potentially reproduce in a novel environment. We discuss the welfare aspects of translocating captive-reared non-native tortoises, Aldabrachelys gigantea and Astrochelys radiata, to two offshore Mauritian islands, and the costs and success of the projects to date.Because tortoises are long-lived, late-maturing reptiles, we assessed the progress of the translocation by monitoring the survival, health, growth, and breeding by the founders. Between 2000 and 2011, a total of 26 A. gigantea were introduced to Ile aux Aigrettes, and in 2007 twelve sexually immature A. gigantea and twelve male A. radiata were introduced to Round Island, Mauritius. Annual mortality rates were low, with most animals either maintaining or gaining weight. A minimum of 529 hatchlings were produced on Ile aux Aigrettes in 11 years; there was no potential for breeding on Round Island. Project costs were low. We attribute the success of these introductions to the tortoises' generalist diet, habitat requirements, and innate behaviour.Feasibility analyses for ecological replacement and assisted colonisation projects should consider the candidate species' welfare during translocation and in its recipient environment. Our study provides a useful model for how this should be done. In addition to serving as ecological replacements for extinct Mauritian tortoises, we found that releasing small numbers of captive-reared A. gigantea and A. radiata is cost-effective and successful in the short term. The ability to release small numbers of animals is a particularly important attribute for ecological replacement projects since it reduces the potential risk and controversy

  15. Field Test of Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus Polyphemus) Population Estimation Techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-04-01

    Web (WWW) at URL: http://www.cecer.army.mil ERDC/CERL TR-08-7 4 2 Field Tests The gopher tortoise is a species of conservation concern in the... ncv D ⎛ ⎞⎛ ⎞ = ⎜ ⎟⎜ ⎟ ⎝ ⎠⎝ ⎠ (4) where: L = estimate of line length to be sampled b = dispersion parameter 2ˆ( )tcv D = desired coefficient of

  16. Mammalian mesocarnivore visitation at tortoise burrows in a wind farm

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agha, Mickey; Smith, Amanda L.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Delaney, David F.; Ennen, Joshua R.; Briggs, Jessica R.; Fleckenstein, Leo J.; Tennant, Laura A.; Puffer, Shellie R.; Walde, Andrew D.; Arundel, Terry; Price, Steven J.; Todd, Brian D.

    2017-01-01

    There is little information on predator–prey interactions in wind energy landscapes in North America, especially among terrestrial vertebrates. Here, we evaluated how proximity to roads and wind turbines affect mesocarnivore visitation with desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) and their burrows in a wind energy landscape. In 2013, we placed motion-sensor cameras facing the entrances of 46 active desert tortoise burrows in a 5.2-km2 wind energy facility near Palm Springs, California, USA. Cameras recorded images of 35 species of reptiles, mammals, and birds. Counts for 4 species of mesocarnivores at desert tortoise burrows increased closer to dirt roads, and decreased closer to wind turbines. Our results suggest that anthropogenic infrastructure associated with wind energy facilities could influence the general behavior of mammalian predators and their prey. Further investigation of proximate mechanisms that underlie road and wind turbine effects (i.e., ground vibrations, sound emission, and traffic volume) and on wind energy facility spatial designs (i.e., road and wind turbine configuration) could prove useful for better understanding wildlife responses to wind energy development. © 2017 The Wildlife Society.

  17. Gopherus agassizii (Desert Tortoise). Non-native seed dispersal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ennen, J.R.; Loughran, Caleb L.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.

    2011-01-01

    Sahara Mustard (Brassica tournefortii) is a non-native, highly invasive weed species of southwestern U.S. deserts. Sahara Mustard is a hardy species, which flourishes under many conditions including drought and in both disturbed and undisturbed habitats (West and Nabhan 2002. In B. Tellman [ed.], Invasive Plants: Their Occurrence and Possible Impact on the Central Gulf Coast of Sonora and the Midriff Islands in the Sea of Cortes, pp. 91–111. University of Arizona Press, Tucson). Because of this species’ ability to thrive in these habitats, B. tournefortii has been able to propagate throughout the southwestern United States establishing itself in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah. Unfortunately, naturally disturbed areas created by native species, such as the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), within these deserts could have facilitated the propagation of B. tournefortii. (Lovich 1998. In R. G. Westbrooks [ed.], Invasive Plants, Changing the Landscape of America: Fact Book, p. 77. Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds [FICMNEW], Washington, DC). However, Desert Tortoises have never been directly observed dispersing Sahara Mustard seeds. Here we present observations of two Desert Tortoises dispersing Sahara Mustard seeds at the interface between the Mojave and Sonoran deserts in California.

  18. Social, biological, and environmental drivers of the hunting and trade of the endangered yellow-footed tortoise in the Amazon

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thaís Q. Morcatty

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Chelonians constitute an important source of food and income for the inhabitants of tropical forests. We assessed the social, biological, and environmental factors affecting the hunting and trade of the endangered yellow-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis denticulata in rural and urban areas in the Amazon and estimated the sustainability of tortoise use. We also discuss possible conservation alternatives that are compatible with the needs of local inhabitants. We monitored tortoise hunting and trade for 12 years in 10 traditional communities that exploit different habitat types in the Brazilian Amazon and collected data on the tortoise trade in two urban markets for six years. In upland forests, tortoise hunting mainly occurred during the dry season; in whitewater flooded forests, hunting mainly occurred during the flood season. The tortoise trade was carried out nearly entirely by whitewater flooded forest users and was intimately related to fishing, the main economic activity in these communities. Furthermore, the tortoise trade was encouraged in whitewater flooded forests because this environment yielded significantly heavier tortoises than upland forests, and we observed a strong relationship between trade probability and tortoise size. The tortoise trade was found to primarily supply nearby urban centers, generating high monetary gain. Female tortoises suffered greater hunting pressure and were more valued in the bushmeat market. The productivity of tortoise hunting in the monitored communities severely decreased with time. In addition, the price per kilogram of tortoise greatly increased in the urban market. Given this unsustainable scenario, policies regulating tortoise hunting in the Amazon are needed. These policies must be adapted to the different patterns of tortoise use by rural communities while maintaining the culture and food sovereignty of the local inhabitants.

  19. Seasonal activity patterns and diet divergence of three sympatric Afrotropical tortoise species (genus Kinixys)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Luiselli, Luca

    2003-01-01

    Three species of hinge-back tortoises ( (Kinixys belliana nogueyi, Kinixys erosa, Kinixys homeana) are found in simpatry in the rainforests of the Niger Delta, southern Nigeria (west Africa). The seasonal activity patterns and food habits of these tortoises are studied in the present paper. K. erosa

  20. Mitochondrial haplotype diversity in the tortoise species Testudo graeca from North Africa and the Middle East

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van der Kuyl, Antoinette C.; Ballasina, Donato L. P.; Zorgdrager, Fokla

    2005-01-01

    Background: To help conservation programs of the endangered spur-thighed tortoise and to gain better insight into its systematics, genetic variation and evolution in the tortoise species Testudo graeca (Testudines: Testudinidae) was investigated by sequence analysis of a 394-nucleotide fragment of

  1. Intestinal parasites of the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) from eight populations in Georgia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGuire, Jessica L; Miller, Elizabeth A; Norton, Terry M; Raphael, Bonnie L; Spratt, Jeffrey S; Yabsley, Michael J

    2013-12-01

    The gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), one of five tortoise species endemic in the USA, was recently classified as a candidate for federal listing as a threatened species. Fecal samples collected from 117 tortoises from eight sites in Georgia were examined for endoparasites using a combination of sedimentation and flotation. Samples from an island population were examined for parasitic oocysts and ova only by flotation, protozoan cysts by trichrome-stained direct smear, and Cryptosporidium by direct immunofluorescence assay and ProSpecT rapid assay. A total of 99 tortoises (85, range 0-100%) was infected with pinworms (Alaeuris spp.), 47 (40, 0-86%) with cestodes (Oochorstica sp.), 34 (41, 0-74%) with Chapiniella spp., 2 (3, 0-33%) with Eimeria paynei, and a single tortoise each with a capillarid and ascarid (1%). On the island, Entamoeba was detected in one tortoise (2%) while Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected in eight (17%). In conclusion, at least eight species of parasites were detected including Cryptosporidium, a possible pathogen of tortoises. Interestingly, we detected spatial variation in the distribution of several parasites among populations suggesting additional work should be conducted across a gradient of tortoise densities, land use, and habitat characteristics.

  2. Are wildlife detector dogs or people better at finding Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii)?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nussear, K.E.; Esque, T.C.; Heaton, J.S.; Cablk, Mary E.; Drake, K.K.; Valentin, C.; Yee, J.L.; Medica, P.A.

    2008-01-01

    Our ability to study threatened and endangered species depends on locating them readily in the field. Recent studies highlight the effectiveness of trained detector dogs to locate wildlife during field surveys, including Desert Tortoises in a semi-natural setting. Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) are cryptic and difficult to detect during surveys, especially the smaller size classes. We conducted comparative surveys to determine whether human or detector dog teams were more effective at locating Desert Tortoises in the wild. We compared detectability of Desert Tortoises and the costs to deploy human and dog search teams. Detectability of tortoises was not statistically different for either team, and was estimated to be approximately 70% (SE = 5%). Dogs found a greater proportion of tortoises located in vegetation than did humans. The dog teams finished surveys 2.5 hours faster than the humans on average each day. The human team cost was approximately $3,000 less per square kilometer sampled. Dog teams provided a quick and effective method for surveying for adult Desert Tortoises; however, we were unable to determine-their effectiveness at locating smaller size classes. Detection of smaller size classes during surveys would improve management of the species and should be addressed by future research using Desert Tortoise detector dogs.

  3. 382 Tortoise's Deception: the Use of Threat at the Market Place

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    User

    2011-07-21

    Jul 21, 2011 ... laziness made him lack money with which to buy the goods of his choice ... Tortoise asked that he accompanied him with music because of his leadership. Vol. 5 (4) ... He asked Tortoise what it would cost to repair the drum.

  4. Lower Cretaceous fossils from China shed light on the ancestral body plan of crown softshell turtles (Trionychidae, Cryptodira).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brinkman, Donald; Rabi, Márton; Zhao, Lijun

    2017-07-27

    Pan-trionychids or softshell turtles are a highly specialized and widespread extant group of aquatic taxa with an evolutionary history that goes back to the Early Cretaceous. The earliest pan-trionychids had already fully developed the "classic" softshell turtle morphology and it has been impossible to resolve whether they are stem members of the family or are within the crown. This has hindered our understanding of the evolution of the two basic body plans of crown-trionychids. Thus it remains unclear whether the more heavily ossified shell of the cyclanorbines or the highly reduced trionychine morphotype is the ancestral condition for softshell turtles. A new pan-trionychid from the Early Cretaceous of Zhejiang, China, Perochelys hengshanensis sp. nov., allows a revision of softshell-turtle phylogeny. Equal character weighting resulted in a topology that is fundamentally inconsistent with molecular divergence date estimates of deeply nested extant species. In contrast, implied weighting retrieved Lower Cretaceous Perochelys spp. and Petrochelys kyrgyzensis as stem trionychids, which is fully consistent with their basal stratigraphic occurrence and an Aptian-Santonian molecular age estimate for crown-trionychids. These results indicate that the primitive morphology for soft-shell turtles is a poorly ossified shell like that of crown-trionychines and that shell re-ossification in cyclanorbines (including re-acquisition of peripheral elements) is secondary.

  5. 78 FR 44915 - Turtles Intrastate and Interstate Requirements

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-07-25

    .... FDA-2013-N-0639] Turtles Intrastate and Interstate Requirements AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration... turtle eggs and live turtles with a carapace length of less than 4 inches to remove procedures for... viable turtle eggs and turtles with a carapace length of less than 4 inches to stop the spread of turtle...

  6. Assessing the potential to restore historic grazing ecosystems with tortoise ecological replacements.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griffiths, Christine J; Zuël, Nicolas; Jones, Carl G; Ahamud, Zairabee; Harris, Stephen

    2013-08-01

    The extinction of large herbivores, often keystone species, can dramatically modify plant communities and impose key biotic thresholds that may prevent an ecosystem returning to its previous state and threaten native biodiversity. A potentially innovative, yet controversial, landscape-based long-term restoration approach is to replace missing plant-herbivore interactions with non-native herbivores. Aldabran giant (Aldabrachelys gigantea) and Madagascan radiated (Astrochelys radiata) tortoises, taxonomically and functionally similar to the extinct Mauritian giant tortoises (Cylindraspis spp.), were introduced to Round Island, Mauritius, in 2007 to control the non-native plants that were threatening persistence of native species. We monitored the response of the plant community to tortoise grazing for 11 months in enclosures before the tortoises were released and, compared the cost of using tortoises as weeders with the cost of using manual labor. At the end of this period, plant biomass; vegetation height and cover; and adult, seedling, flower, and seed abundance were 3-136 times greater in adjacent control plots than in the tortoise enclosures. After their release, the free-roaming tortoises grazed on most non-native plants and significantly reduced vegetation cover, height, and seed production, reflecting findings from the enclosure study. The tortoises generally did not eat native species, although they consumed those native species that increased in abundance following the eradication of mammalian herbivores. Our results suggest that introduced non-native tortoises are a more cost-effective approach to control non-native vegetation than manual weeding. Numerous long-term outcomes (e.g., change in species composition and soil seed bank) are possible following tortoise releases. Monitoring and adaptive management are needed to ensure that the replacement herbivores promote the recovery of native plants. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology.

  7. Climatic variation and tortoise survival: has a desert species met its match?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Yackulic, Charles B.; Freilich, Jerry; Agha, Mickey; Austin, Meaghan; Meyer, Katherine P.; Arundel, Terence R.; Hansen, Jered; Vamstad, Michael S.; Root, Stephanie A.

    2014-01-01

    While demographic changes in short-lived species may be observed relatively quickly in response to climate changes, measuring population responses of long-lived species requires long-term studies that are not always available. We analyzed data from a population of threatened Agassiz’s desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) at a 2.59 km2 study plot in the Sonoran Desert ecosystem of Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA from 1978 to 2012 to examine variation in apparent survival and demography in this long-lived species. Transect-based, mark-recapture surveys were conducted in 10 of those years to locate living and dead tortoises. Previous modeling suggested that this area would become unsuitable as tortoise habitat under a warming and drying climate scenario. Estimated adult population size declined greatly from 1996 to 2012. The population appeared to have high apparent survival from 1978 to 1996 but apparent survival decreased from 1997 to 2002, concurrent with persistent drought. The best model relating apparent survivorship of tortoises ≥18 cm over time was based on a three year moving average of estimated winter precipitation. The postures and positions of a majority of dead tortoises found in 2012 were consistent with death by dehydration and starvation. Some live and many dead tortoises found in 2012 showed signs of predation or scavenging by mammalian carnivores. Coyote (Canis latrans) scats and other evidence from the site confirmed their role as tortoise predators and scavengers. Predation rates may be exacerbated by drought if carnivores switch from preferred mammalian prey to tortoises during dry years. Climate modeling suggests that the region will be subjected to even longer duration droughts in the future and that the plot may become unsuitable for continued tortoise survival. Our results showing wide fluctuations in apparent survival and decreasing tortoise density over time may be early signals of that possible outcome.

  8. Desert tortoise use of burned habitat in the Eastern Mojave desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drake, Karla K.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; DeFalco, Lesley; Scoles, Sara; Modlin, Andrew T.; Medica, Philip A.

    2015-01-01

    Wildfires burned 24,254 ha of critical habitat designated for the recovery of the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in southern Nevada during 2005. The proliferation of non-native annual grasses has increased wildfire frequency and extent in recent decades and continues to accelerate the conversion of tortoise habitat across the Mojave Desert. Immediate changes to vegetation are expected to reduce quality of critical habitat, yet whether tortoises will use burned and recovering habitat differently from intact unburned habitat is unknown. We compared movement patterns, home-range size, behavior, microhabitat use, reproduction, and survival for adult desert tortoises located in, and adjacent to, burned habitat to understand how tortoises respond to recovering burned habitat. Approximately 45% of home ranges in the post-fire environment contained burned habitat, and numerous observations (n = 12,223) corroborated tortoise use of both habitat types (52% unburned, 48% burned). Tortoises moved progressively deeper into burned habitat during the first 5 years following the fire, frequently foraging in burned habitats that had abundant annual plants, and returning to adjacent unburned habitat for cover provided by intact perennial vegetation. However, by years 6 and 7, the live cover of the short-lived herbaceous perennial desert globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) that typically re-colonizes burned areas declined, resulting in a contraction of tortoise movements from the burned areas. Health and egg production were similar between burned and unburned areas indicating that tortoises were able to acquire necessary resources using both areas. This study documents that adult Mojave desert tortoises continue to use habitat burned once by wildfire. Thus, continued management of this burned habitat may contribute toward the recovery of the species in the face of many sources of habitat loss.

  9. Multiple factors affect a population of Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in the Northwestern Mojave Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Kristin H.; Yee, Julie L.; Coble, Ashley A.; Perry, William M.; Shields, Timothy A.

    2013-01-01

    Numerous factors have contributed to declines in populations of the federally threatened Agassiz's Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) and continue to limit recovery. In 2010, we surveyed a low-density population on a military test facility in the northwestern Mojave Desert of California, USA, to evaluate population status and identify potential factors contributing to distribution and low densities. Estimated densities of live tortoises ranged spatially from 1.2/km2 to 15.1/km2. Although only one death of a breeding-age tortoise was recorded for the 4-yr period prior to the survey, remains of 16 juvenile and immature tortoises were found, and most showed signs of predation by Common Ravens (Corvus corax) and mammals. Predation may have limited recruitment of young tortoises into the adult size classes. To evaluate the relative importance of different types of impacts to tortoises, we developed predictive models for spatially explicit densities of tortoise sign and live tortoises using topography (i.e., slope), predators (Common Raven, signs of mammalian predators), and anthropogenic impacts (distances from paved road and denuded areas, density of ordnance fragments) as covariates. Models suggest that densities of tortoise sign increased with slope and signs of mammalian predators and decreased with Common Ravens, while also varying based on interaction effects involving these predictors as well as distances from paved roads, denuded areas, and ordnance. Similarly, densities of live tortoises varied by interaction effects among distances to denuded areas and paved roads, density of ordnance fragments, and slope. Thus multiple factors predict the densities and distribution of this population.

  10. On the homology of the shoulder girdle in turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nagashima, Hiroshi; Sugahara, Fumiaki; Takechi, Masaki; Sato, Noboru; Kuratani, Shigeru

    2015-05-01

    The shoulder girdle in turtles is encapsulated in the shell and has a triradiate morphology. Due to its unique configuration among amniotes, many theories have been proposed about the skeletal identities of the projections for the past two centuries. Although the dorsal ramus represents the scapular blade, the ventral two rami remain uncertain. In particular, the ventrorostral process has been compared to a clavicle, an acromion, and a procoracoid based on its morphology, its connectivity to the rest of the skeleton and to muscles, as well as with its ossification center, cell lineage, and gene expression. In making these comparisons, the shoulder girdle skeleton of anurans has often been used as a reference. This review traces the history of the debate on the homology of the shoulder girdle in turtles. And based on the integrative aspects of developmental biology, comparative morphology, and paleontology, we suggest acromion and procoracoid identities for the two ventral processes. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  11. NWHI Basking Green Turtle Data (Turtle Sightings from Seal Surveys)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set contains records of green turtle sightings in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) since 1982 at Lisianski Island, and since 1983 for most other...

  12. Thermal biology of eastern box turtles in a longleaf pine system managed with prescribed fire.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roe, John H; Wild, Kristoffer H; Hall, Carlisha A

    2017-10-01

    Fire can influence the microclimate of forest habitats by removing understory vegetation and surface debris. Temperature is often higher in recently burned forests owing to increased light penetration through the open understory. Because physiological processes are sensitive to temperature in ectotherms, we expected fire-maintained forests to improve the suitability of the thermal environment for turtles, and for turtles to seasonally associate with the most thermally-optimal habitats. Using a laboratory thermal gradient, we determined the thermal preference range (T set ) of eastern box turtles, Terrapene carolina, to be 27-31°C. Physical models simulating the body temperatures experienced by turtles in the field revealed that surface environments in a fire-maintained longleaf pine forest were 3°C warmer than adjacent unburned mixed hardwood/pine forests, but the fire-maintained forest was never of superior thermal quality owing to wider T e fluctuations above T set and exposure to extreme and potentially lethal temperatures. Radiotracked turtles using fire-managed longleaf pine forests maintained shell temperatures (T s ) approximately 2°C above those at a nearby unburned forest, but we observed only moderate seasonal changes in habitat use which were inconsistent with thermoregulatory behavior. We conclude that turtles were not responding strongly to the thermal heterogeneity generated by fire in our system, and that other aspects of the environment are likely more important in shaping habitat associations. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Skin and skeletal system lesions of european pond turtles (Emys orbicularis) from natural habitats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aleksić-Kovačević, Sanja; Ozvegy, József; Krstić, Nikola; Rusvai, Miklós; Jakab, Csaba; Stanimirović, Zoran; Becskei, Zsolt

    2014-06-01

    Water pollution is known to play an important role in the pathogenesis of plastron, carapace and skin diseases of turtles. In this study, a total of 150 European pond turtles (Emys orbicularis) of different age and both sexes, originating from natural habitats in Serbia, were examined for morphological changes of the skin, plastron, carapace and skeletal system. The turtles were taken out from their natural habitats in Lake Ludas, Lake Palic and Lake Tresetiste. After artificial hibernation, they were subjected to detailed examination, sampled and treated, and finally returned into their natural habitat. Biopsies from the skin and shell were subjected to histopathological examination and microbiological analysis. X-ray scanning was also performed to detect changes in the skeletal system. Macroscopic changes of the skin, most frequently degenerative, inflammatory or neoplastic diseases, were diagnosed in 49.33% of the turtles examined. Dermatitis of different origin and form was the most prominent histopathological finding (28.00%). In the plastron, inflammatory and degenerative processes were frequently found. Osteopathy and mechanical injuries were the dominant findings. Macroscopic changes of the plastron, carapace and skeletal system were diagnosed in 67.33% of the turtles examined. Using X-ray scanning, generalised osteopathy, anomalies and malformations of different aetiology were also diagnosed on the tail and legs. Microbiological examinations showed the presence of a variety of bacterial and fungal agents, either primary pathogens or potential polluters, which invaded the skin and shell, or were present in cloacal swab samples. Bacterial infection was diagnosed in 76.66% of the turtles, first of all in those with skin and shell necrosis. Mycoses were diagnosed in 33.33% of the animals.

  14. Sea Turtle Acoustic Telemetry Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Acoustic transmitters attached to sea turtles captured in various fishing gear enable the animals to be passively tracked. Acoustic receivers set up in an array...

  15. Leatherback Sea Turtle Critical Habitat

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — These data represent the critical habitat for leatherback turtle as designated by Federal Register Vol. 44, No. 17711, March 23, 1979, Rules and Regulations....

  16. Hawksbill Sea Turtle Critical Habitat

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — These data represent the critical habitat for hawksbill turtle as designated by Federal Register Vol. 63, No. 46701, September 2, 1998, Rules and Regulations....

  17. Sea Turtle Satellite Telemetry Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Sea turtles captured in various fishing gear (pound nets, long haul seines, gill nets) were outfitted with satellite transmitters so that their movements, migratory...

  18. Using genes as characters and a parsimony analysis to explore the phylogenetic position of turtles.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bin Lu

    Full Text Available The phylogenetic position of turtles within the vertebrate tree of life remains controversial. Conflicting conclusions from different studies are likely a consequence of systematic error in the tree construction process, rather than random error from small amounts of data. Using genomic data, we evaluate the phylogenetic position of turtles with both conventional concatenated data analysis and a "genes as characters" approach. Two datasets were constructed, one with seven species (human, opossum, zebra finch, chicken, green anole, Chinese pond turtle, and western clawed frog and 4584 orthologous genes, and the second with four additional species (soft-shelled turtle, Nile crocodile, royal python, and tuatara but only 1638 genes. Our concatenated data analysis strongly supported turtle as the sister-group to archosaurs (the archosaur hypothesis, similar to several recent genomic data based studies using similar methods. When using genes as characters and gene trees as character-state trees with equal weighting for each gene, however, our parsimony analysis suggested that turtles are possibly sister-group to diapsids, archosaurs, or lepidosaurs. None of these resolutions were strongly supported by bootstraps. Furthermore, our incongruence analysis clearly demonstrated that there is a large amount of inconsistency among genes and most of the conflict relates to the placement of turtles. We conclude that the uncertain placement of turtles is a reflection of the true state of nature. Concatenated data analysis of large and heterogeneous datasets likely suffers from systematic error and over-estimates of confidence as a consequence of a large number of characters. Using genes as characters offers an alternative for phylogenomic analysis. It has potential to reduce systematic error, such as data heterogeneity and long-branch attraction, and it can also avoid problems associated with computation time and model selection. Finally, treating genes as

  19. Using Genes as Characters and a Parsimony Analysis to Explore the Phylogenetic Position of Turtles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Bin; Yang, Weizhao; Dai, Qiang; Fu, Jinzhong

    2013-01-01

    The phylogenetic position of turtles within the vertebrate tree of life remains controversial. Conflicting conclusions from different studies are likely a consequence of systematic error in the tree construction process, rather than random error from small amounts of data. Using genomic data, we evaluate the phylogenetic position of turtles with both conventional concatenated data analysis and a “genes as characters” approach. Two datasets were constructed, one with seven species (human, opossum, zebra finch, chicken, green anole, Chinese pond turtle, and western clawed frog) and 4584 orthologous genes, and the second with four additional species (soft-shelled turtle, Nile crocodile, royal python, and tuatara) but only 1638 genes. Our concatenated data analysis strongly supported turtle as the sister-group to archosaurs (the archosaur hypothesis), similar to several recent genomic data based studies using similar methods. When using genes as characters and gene trees as character-state trees with equal weighting for each gene, however, our parsimony analysis suggested that turtles are possibly sister-group to diapsids, archosaurs, or lepidosaurs. None of these resolutions were strongly supported by bootstraps. Furthermore, our incongruence analysis clearly demonstrated that there is a large amount of inconsistency among genes and most of the conflict relates to the placement of turtles. We conclude that the uncertain placement of turtles is a reflection of the true state of nature. Concatenated data analysis of large and heterogeneous datasets likely suffers from systematic error and over-estimates of confidence as a consequence of a large number of characters. Using genes as characters offers an alternative for phylogenomic analysis. It has potential to reduce systematic error, such as data heterogeneity and long-branch attraction, and it can also avoid problems associated with computation time and model selection. Finally, treating genes as characters

  20. New findings of Pleistocene fossil turtles (Geoemydidae, Kinosternidae and Chelydridae from Santa Elena Province, Ecuador

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edwin A. Cadena

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available New Pleistocene fossilized turtle remains from five localities of western Ecuador (Santa Elena Province are described here. All these shell (carapace and plastron fossil remains come from the Tablazo Formation and belong to three different lineages of cryptodires (“hidden-necked” turtles. The most abundant remains belong to geoemydids, attributed here to the genus Rhinoclemmys (indeterminate species. Less abundant in occurrence are the kinosternidids, attributed to Kinosternon (indeterminate species, and the first fossil record of chelydrids, Chelydra(indeterminate species, in the entirety of Central and South America.

  1. The relative abundance of desert tortoises on the Nevada Test Site within ecological landform units

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Woodward, R.; Rautenstrauch, K.R.; Hall, D.B.; Ostler, W.K.

    1998-09-01

    Sign-survey transects were sampled in 1996 to better determine the relative abundance of desert tortoises on the Nevada Test Site (NTS). These transects were sampled within ecological land-form units (ELUs), which are small, ecologically homogeneous units of land. Two-hundred and six ELUs were sampled by walking 332 transects totaling 889 kilometers (km). These ELUs covered 528 km 2 . Two-hundred and eight-one sign were counted. An average of 0.32 sign was found per km walked. Seventy percent of the area sampled had a very low abundance of tortoises, 29% had a low abundance, and 1% had a moderate abundance. A revised map of the relative abundance of desert tortoise on the NTS is presented. Within the 1,330 km 2 of desert tortoise habitat on the NTS, 49% is classified as having no tortoises or a very low abundance, 18% has a low or moderate abundance, 12% is unclassified land being used by the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project, and the remaining 21% still has an unknown abundance of desert tortoises. Based on the results of this work, the amount of tortoise habitat previously classified as having an unknown or low-moderate abundance, and on which clearance surveys and on-site monitoring was required, has been reduced by 20%

  2. Allometric and temporal scaling of movement characteristics in Galapagos tortoises

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bastille-Rousseau, Guillaume; Yackulic, Charles B.; Frair, Jacqueline L.; Cabrera, Freddy; Blake, Stephen

    2016-01-01

    Understanding how individual movement scales with body size is of fundamental importance in predicting ecological relationships for diverse species. One-dimensional movement metrics scale consistently with body size yet vary over different temporal scales. Knowing how temporal scale influences the relationship between animal body size and movement would better inform hypotheses about the efficiency of foraging behaviour, the ontogeny of energy budgets, and numerous life-history trade-offs.We investigated how the temporal scaling of allometric patterns in movement varies over the course of a year, specifically during periods of motivated (directional and fast movement) and unmotivated (stationary and tortuous movement) behaviour. We focused on a recently diverged group of species that displays wide variation in movement behaviour – giant Galapagos tortoises (Chelonoidis spp.) – to test how movement metrics estimated on a monthly basis scaled with body size.We used state-space modelling to estimate seven different movement metrics of Galapagos tortoises. We used log-log regression of the power law to evaluate allometric scaling for these movement metrics and contrasted relationships by species and sex.Allometric scaling of movement was more apparent during motivated periods of movement. During this period, allometry was revealed at multiple temporal intervals (hourly, daily and monthly), with values observed at daily and monthly intervals corresponding most closely to the expected one-fourth scaling coefficient, albeit with wide credible intervals. We further detected differences in the magnitude of scaling among taxa uncoupled from observed differences in the temporal structuring of their movement rates.Our results indicate that the definition of temporal scales is fundamental to the detection of allometry of movement and should be given more attention in movement studies. Our approach not only provides new conceptual insights into temporal attributes in one

  3. Demographic outcomes and ecosystem implications of giant tortoise reintroduction to Española Island, Galapagos.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James P Gibbs

    Full Text Available Restoration of extirpated species via captive breeding has typically relied on population viability as the primary criterion for evaluating success. This criterion is inadequate when species reintroduction is undertaken to restore ecological functions and interactions. Herein we report on the demographic and ecological outcomes of a five-decade-long population restoration program for a critically endangered species of "ecosystem engineer": the endemic Española giant Galapagos tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis. Our analysis of complementary datasets on tortoise demography and movement, tortoise-plant interactions and Española Island's vegetation history indicated that the repatriated tortoise population is secure from a strictly demographic perspective: about half of tortoises released on the island since 1975 were still alive in 2007, in situ reproduction is now significant, and future extinction risk is low with or without continued repatriation. Declining survival rates, somatic growth rates, and body condition of repatriates suggests, however, that resources for continued population growth are increasingly limited. Soil stable carbon isotope analyses indicated a pronounced shift toward woody plants in the recent history of the island's plant community, likely a legacy of changes in competitive relations between woody and herbaceous plants induced by now-eradicated feral goats and prolonged absence of tortoises. Woody plants are of concern because they block tortoise movement and hinder recruitment of cactus--a critical resource for tortoises. Tortoises restrict themselves to remnant cactus patches and areas of low woody plant density in the center of the island despite an apparent capacity to colonize a far greater range, likely because of a lack of cactus elsewhere on the island. We conclude that ecosystem-level criteria for success of species reintroduction efforts take much longer to achieve than population-level criteria; moreover

  4. Demographic outcomes and ecosystem implications of giant tortoise reintroduction to Española Island, Galapagos.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibbs, James P; Hunter, Elizabeth A; Shoemaker, Kevin T; Tapia, Washington H; Cayot, Linda J

    2014-01-01

    Restoration of extirpated species via captive breeding has typically relied on population viability as the primary criterion for evaluating success. This criterion is inadequate when species reintroduction is undertaken to restore ecological functions and interactions. Herein we report on the demographic and ecological outcomes of a five-decade-long population restoration program for a critically endangered species of "ecosystem engineer": the endemic Española giant Galapagos tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis). Our analysis of complementary datasets on tortoise demography and movement, tortoise-plant interactions and Española Island's vegetation history indicated that the repatriated tortoise population is secure from a strictly demographic perspective: about half of tortoises released on the island since 1975 were still alive in 2007, in situ reproduction is now significant, and future extinction risk is low with or without continued repatriation. Declining survival rates, somatic growth rates, and body condition of repatriates suggests, however, that resources for continued population growth are increasingly limited. Soil stable carbon isotope analyses indicated a pronounced shift toward woody plants in the recent history of the island's plant community, likely a legacy of changes in competitive relations between woody and herbaceous plants induced by now-eradicated feral goats and prolonged absence of tortoises. Woody plants are of concern because they block tortoise movement and hinder recruitment of cactus--a critical resource for tortoises. Tortoises restrict themselves to remnant cactus patches and areas of low woody plant density in the center of the island despite an apparent capacity to colonize a far greater range, likely because of a lack of cactus elsewhere on the island. We conclude that ecosystem-level criteria for success of species reintroduction efforts take much longer to achieve than population-level criteria; moreover, reinstatement of

  5. Sea Turtle Research Program Summary Report

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    1997-01-01

    The USACE Sea Turtle Research Program (STRP) was conducted to minimize the risk to sea turtle populations in channels along the southeast Atlantic region of the United States from hopper-dredging activities...

  6. Sea turtle photo-identification database

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The ability to correctly and consistently identify sea turtles over time was evaluated using digital imagery of the turtles dorsal and side views of their heads and...

  7. Sea turtles sightings in North Carolina

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Sea turtles sightings are reported to the NMFS Beaufort Laboratory sea turtle program by the general public as they are fishing, boating, etc. These sightings...

  8. Determining sex ratios of turtle hatchlings

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Previous status assessments of marine turtles have assumed that the natural sex ratio of a marine turtle population is 1:1 (e.g. Conant et al. 2009). However, this...

  9. Hawking radiation temperatures in non-stationary Kerr black holes with different tortoise coordinate transformations

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lan, X.G. [Southwest Jiaotong University, Quantum Optoelectronics Laboratory, Chengdu (China); China West Normal University, Institute of Theoretical Physics, Nanchong (China); Jiang, Q.Q. [China West Normal University, Institute of Theoretical Physics, Nanchong (China); Wei, L.F. [Southwest Jiaotong University, Quantum Optoelectronics Laboratory, Chengdu (China); Sun Yat-Sen University, State Key Laboratory of Optoelectronic Materials and Technologies, School of Physics and Engineering, Guangzhou (China)

    2012-04-15

    We apply the Damour-Ruffini-Sannan method to study the Hawking radiations of scalar and Dirac particles in non-stationary Kerr black holes under different tortoise coordinate transformations. We found that all the relevant Hawking radiation spectra show still the blackbody ones, while the Hawking temperatures are strongly related to the used tortoise coordinate transformations. The properties of these dependences are discussed analytically and numerically. Our results imply that proper selections of tortoise coordinate transformations should be important in the studies of Hawking radiations and the correct selection would be given by the experimental observations in the future. (orig.)

  10. Morphological variability of the Hermann's tortoise (Testudo hermanni in the Central Balkans

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katarina Ljubisavljević

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Variation in a number of morphological characters were analysed in five populations of Testudo hermanni from Serbia and Montenegro. Tortoises from Serbia appeared significantly larger than those from Montenegro. An insular population of Montenegro was distinct due to its extremely small body size and mass and dark plastral pigmentation. Although the majority of tortoises had the supracaudal scute divided, many tortoises had the scute undivided. Effects of possible genetic divergence and/or adaptation to different environmental conditions on observed morphological variation were discussed.

  11. Rapid evolution of Beta-keratin genes contribute to phenotypic differences that distinguish turtles and birds from other reptiles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Yang I; Kong, Lesheng; Ponting, Chris P; Haerty, Wilfried

    2013-01-01

    Sequencing of vertebrate genomes permits changes in distinct protein families, including gene gains and losses, to be ascribed to lineage-specific phenotypes. A prominent example of this is the large-scale duplication of beta-keratin genes in the ancestors of birds, which was crucial to the subsequent evolution of their beaks, claws, and feathers. Evidence suggests that the shell of Pseudomys nelsoni contains at least 16 beta-keratins proteins, but it is unknown whether this is a complete set and whether their corresponding genes are orthologous to avian beak, claw, or feather beta-keratin genes. To address these issues and to better understand the evolution of the turtle shell at a molecular level, we surveyed the diversity of beta-keratin genes from the genome assemblies of three turtles, Chrysemys picta, Pelodiscus sinensis, and Chelonia mydas, which together represent over 160 Myr of chelonian evolution. For these three turtles, we found 200 beta-keratins, which indicate that, as for birds, a large expansion of beta-keratin genes in turtles occurred concomitantly with the evolution of a unique phenotype, namely, their plastron and carapace. Phylogenetic reconstruction of beta-keratin gene evolution suggests that separate waves of gene duplication within a single genomic location gave rise to scales, claws, and feathers in birds, and independently the scutes of the shell in turtles.

  12. 50 CFR 223.205 - Sea turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 7 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Sea turtles. 223.205 Section 223.205... Threatened Marine and Anadromous Species § 223.205 Sea turtles. (a) The prohibitions of section 9 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1538) relating to endangered species apply to threatened species of sea turtle, except as...

  13. Lineage fusion in Galápagos giant tortoises.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garrick, Ryan C; Benavides, Edgar; Russello, Michael A; Hyseni, Chaz; Edwards, Danielle L; Gibbs, James P; Tapia, Washington; Ciofi, Claudio; Caccone, Adalgisa

    2014-11-01

    Although many classic radiations on islands are thought to be the result of repeated lineage splitting, the role of past fusion is rarely known because during these events, purebreds are rapidly replaced by a swarm of admixed individuals. Here, we capture lineage fusion in action in a Galápagos giant tortoise species, Chelonoidis becki, from Wolf Volcano (Isabela Island). The long generation time of Galápagos tortoises and dense sampling (841 individuals) of genetic and demographic data were integral in detecting and characterizing this phenomenon. In C. becki, we identified two genetically distinct, morphologically cryptic lineages. Historical reconstructions show that they colonized Wolf Volcano from Santiago Island in two temporally separated events, the first estimated to have occurred ~199 000 years ago. Following arrival of the second wave of colonists, both lineages coexisted for approximately ~53 000 years. Within that time, they began fusing back together, as microsatellite data reveal widespread introgressive hybridization. Interestingly, greater mate selectivity seems to be exhibited by purebred females of one of the lineages. Forward-in-time simulations predict rapid extinction of the early arriving lineage. This study provides a rare example of reticulate evolution in action and underscores the power of population genetics for understanding the past, present and future consequences of evolutionary phenomena associated with lineage fusion. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  14. Efficacy of oxfendazole and fenbendazole against tortoise (Testudo hermanni) oxyurids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giannetto, S; Brianti, E; Poglayen, G; Sorgi, C; Capelli, G; Pennisi, M G; Coci, G

    2007-04-01

    Thirty-six tortoises (Testudo hermanni) with naturally acquired oxyurids infections were used to assess the anthelmintic efficacy of oxfendazole (Dolthene; Merial) and fenbendazole (Panacur; Hoechst Roussel Vet). Animals were randomly assigned to three groups (A, B, and C) based on sex and weight. Animals in group A (seven males and six females) were orally treated with oxfendazole at dose rate of 66 mg/kg, group B animals (nine males and eight females) were orally treated with fenbendazole at dose rate of 100 mg/kg, and group C animals (three males and three females) were not treated and served as controls. All animals were individually stabled in plexiglas boxes under controlled conditions of temperature, humidity, and light beginning 7 days pretreatment and continuing for the duration of the trial. Individual tortoises feces were examined daily by the McMaster technique and drugs efficacy was assessed by the fecal eggs count reduction (FECR) test. Both drugs showed 100% of FECR. However, oxfendazole reached this level 12 days after treatment, whereas 31 days after treatment were necessary to obtain the same stable result with fenbendazole. The two drugs were well tolerated by all the animals and no adverse reactions were observed after treatment.

  15. Turtle riders: remoras on marine turtles in Southwest Atlantic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ivan Sazima

    Full Text Available An overview is presented for a poorly documented relationship between reef vertebrates in Southwest Atlantic: remoras (Echeneidae associated with marine turtles. Two remora species (Echeneis naucrates and Remora remora and four turtle species (Caretta caretta, Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata, and Dermochelys coriacea are here recorded in symbiotic associations in the SW Atlantic. Echeneis naucrates was recorded both on the coast and on oceanic islands, whereas R. remora was recorded only at oceanic islands and in the open sea. The remora-turtle association is usually regarded as an instance of phoresis (hitchhiking, albeit feeding by the fish is also involved in this symbiosis type. This association seems to be rare in SW Atlantic.

  16. Global sea turtle conservation successes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mazaris, Antonios D; Schofield, Gail; Gkazinou, Chrysoula; Almpanidou, Vasiliki; Hays, Graeme C

    2017-09-01

    We document a tendency for published estimates of population size in sea turtles to be increasing rather than decreasing across the globe. To examine the population status of the seven species of sea turtle globally, we obtained 299 time series of annual nesting abundance with a total of 4417 annual estimates. The time series ranged in length from 6 to 47 years (mean, 16.2 years). When levels of abundance were summed within regional management units (RMUs) for each species, there were upward trends in 12 RMUs versus downward trends in 5 RMUs. This prevalence of more upward than downward trends was also evident in the individual time series, where we found 95 significant increases in abundance and 35 significant decreases. Adding to this encouraging news for sea turtle conservation, we show that even small sea turtle populations have the capacity to recover, that is, Allee effects appear unimportant. Positive trends in abundance are likely linked to the effective protection of eggs and nesting females, as well as reduced bycatch. However, conservation concerns remain, such as the decline in leatherback turtles in the Eastern and Western Pacific. Furthermore, we also show that, often, time series are too short to identify trends in abundance. Our findings highlight the importance of continued conservation and monitoring efforts that underpin this global conservation success story.

  17. Nelson's big horn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) trample Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) burrow at a California wind energy facility

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agha, Mickey; Delaney, David F.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Briggs, Jessica; Austin, Meaghan; Price, Steven J.

    2015-01-01

    Research on interactions between Agassiz's desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) and ungulates has focused exclusively on the effects of livestock grazing on tortoises and their habitat (Oldemeyer, 1994). For example, during a 1980 study in San Bernardino County, California, 164 desert tortoise burrows were assessed for vulnerability to trampling by domestic sheep (Ovis aries). Herds of grazing sheep damaged 10% and destroyed 4% of the burrows (Nicholson and Humphreys 1981). In addition, a juvenile desert tortoise was trapped and an adult male was blocked from entering a burrow due to trampling by domestic sheep. Another study found that domestic cattle (Bos taurus) trampled active desert tortoise burrows and vegetation surrounding burrows (Avery and Neibergs 1997). Trampling also has negative impacts on diversity of vegetation and intershrub soil crusts in the desert southwest (Webb and Stielstra 1979). Trampling of important food plants and overgrazing has the potential to create competition between desert tortoises and domestic livestock (Berry 1978; Coombs 1979; Webb and Stielstra 1979).

  18. Rhabdomyosarcoma in a terrestrial tortoise (Geochelone nigra in Nigeria: A case report

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Oghenemega D. Eyarefe

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available A skeletal muscle tumour (rhabdomysarcoma was diagnosed in a 4-year-old captive female terrestrial tortoise (Geochelone nigra weighing 7 kg presented at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. The tumour was located at the anterior right portion of the body and ventral to the carapace. The location of the tumour prevented the tortoise from extending its head from the body. The tumour was a sessile, smooth white mass, with a soft myxomatous consistency. The histological features that were diagnostic of rhabdomyosarcoma included a sparse population of haphazardly arranged spindle-shaped cells within a homogenous matrix (anisocytosis, occasional tumour giant and binucleate cells, and some well differentiated myofibrils with cross striations within the cytoplasm. The paucity of information on tumours in the land tortoise was the reason for this report, which appears to be the first report of rhabdomyosarcoma in the tortoise.

  19. Effects of desert wildfires on desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) and other small vertebrates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esque, T.C.; Schwalbe, C.R.; DeFalco, L.A.; Duncan, R.B.; Hughes, T.J.

    2003-01-01

    We report the results of standardized surveys to determine the effects of wildfires on desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) and their habitats in the northeastern Mojave Desert and northeastern Sonoran Desert. Portions of 6 burned areas (118 to 1,750 ha) were examined for signs of mortality of vertebrates. Direct effects of fire in desert habitats included animal mortality and loss of vegetation cover. A range of 0 to 7 tortoises was encountered during surveys, and live tortoises were found on all transects. In addition to desert tortoises, only small (reptiles (11 taxa) were found dead on the study areas. We hypothesize that indirect effects of fire on desert habitats might result in changes in the composition of diets and loss of vegetation cover, resulting in an increase in predation and loss of protection from temperature extremes. These changes in habitat also might cause changes in vertebrate communities in burned areas.

  20. Are Wildlife Detector Dogs or People Better at Finding Desert Tortoises (Gopherus Agassizii)?

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Nussear, Kenneth E; Esque, Todd C; Heaton, Jill S; Cablk, Mary E; Drake, Kristina K; Valentin, Cindee; Yee, Julie L; Medica, Philip A

    2008-01-01

    ...) are cryptic and difficult to detect during surveys, especially the smaller size classes. We conducted comparative surveys to determine whether human or detector dog teams were more effective at locating Desert Tortoises in the wild...

  1. Palaeoecology of triassic stem turtles sheds new light on turtle origins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joyce, Walter G; Gauthier, Jacques A

    2004-01-07

    Competing hypotheses of early turtle evolution contrast sharply in implying very different ecological settings-aquatic versus terrestrial-for the origin of turtles. We investigate the palaeoecology of extinct turtles by first demonstrating that the forelimbs of extant turtles faithfully reflect habitat preferences, with short-handed turtles being terrestrial and long-handed turtles being aquatic. We apply this metric to the two successive outgroups to all living turtles with forelimbs preserved, Proganochelys quenstedti and Palaeochersis talampayensis, to discover that these earliest turtle outgroups were decidedly terrestrial. We then plot the observed distribution of aquatic versus terrestrial habits among living turtles onto their hypothesized phylogenies. Both lines of evidence indicate that although the common ancestor of all living turtles was aquatic, the earliest turtles clearly lived in a terrestrial environment. Additional anatomical and sedimentological evidence favours these conclusions. The freshwater aquatic habitat preference so characteristic of living turtles cannot, consequently, be taken as positive evidence for an aquatic origin of turtles, but must rather be considered a convergence relative to other aquatic amniotes, including the marine sauropterygians to which turtles have sometimes been allied.

  2. Low metabolic cost of locomotion in ornate box turtles, Terrapene ornata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zani, Peter A; Kram, Rodger

    2008-12-01

    Evolution has produced a wide range of body plans, but for a given body mass, the energetic cost of transport (COT) of terrestrial animals falls in a relatively narrow range. Previous research indicates that the COT depends on the proficiency of minimizing mechanical work performed, efficiency of performing that work, and cost of generating force to support weight. Turtles are unique in that their protective shell and shoulder-girdle articulation may eliminate the need for the ;muscular sling'. In addition, turtles have slower, more efficient muscles than other vertebrates. However, slow locomotion may raise the COT by confounding mechanical-energy conservation via the inverted-pendulum mechanism. Our goal was to determine the metabolic COT and efficiency of a terrestrial turtle species during locomotion. We studied 18 ornate box turtles, Terrapene ornata. Walking speed was extremely slow (0.07+/-0.005 m s(-1)). The average minimum COT was 8.0+/-0.70 J kg(-1) m(-1) attained at approximately 0.1 m s(-1). Ornate box turtles consume only half the energy predicted by the allometric relationship for all terrestrial animals (15.9+/-0.35 J kg(-1) m(-1)), and, thus, appear to be very economical walkers. When walking up a 24 deg. incline turtles moved significantly slower (0.04+/-0.004 m s(-1)), but performed the extra work required to walk uphill with very high efficiencies (>49%). It appears that the co-evolution of a protective shell, the associated shoulder morphology, and very slow, efficient muscles produce both economical level walking and efficient uphill walking.

  3. Application of diagnostic tests for mycoplasmal infections of desert and gopher tortoises with management recommendations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, D.R.; Schumacher, Isabella M.; Mclaughlin, Grace S.; Wendland, L.D.; Brown, Mary E.; Klein, P.A.; Jacobson, E.R.

    2002-01-01

    Mycoplasmosis is a transmissible upper respiratory tract disease that has affected plans for management and conservation of wild desert and gopher tortoises in the United States. Although impact of mycoplasmosis on populations of desert and gopher tortoises is unknown, increased prevalence of seropositive animals as well as field observations of clinically ill tortoises have occurred in association with declining populations. In order to help in the identification of potentially infected animals, three tests have been developed to diagnose mycoplasmal infections of tortoises: 1) direct mycoplasmal culture; 2) detection of mycolplasmal chromosomal DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR); and 3) detection of anti-Mycoplasma antibodies in tortoise plasma by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Each test provides different, complementary information that collectively can be used to define tortoise mycoplasmal infection status. The types of samples required, the predictive value, interpretation, and cost vary among tests. These assays have been used for epidemiological surveys and in decision making for relocation, repatriation, or captive management of tortoises to minimize the risk of outbreaks of mycoplasmal respiratory disease and spread of the causative agent of this disease. Certain features of mycoplasmal infections of tortoises and other animals create a diagnostic dilemma. Multiple Mycoplasma species can cause respiratory disease with identical clinical presentations. Further, individual strains of a given species may vary with respect to their virulence potential, and some species may be commensals rather than pathogens. Current diagnostic tests may not differentiate among mycoplasmal species or strains or permit determination of pathogenicity of individual isolates. Thus, the information provided by testing is not a simple 'positive' vs. 'negative' issue. While these tests provide much needed information on the exposure of tortoise populations to

  4. A tortoise-infecting picornavirus expands the host range of the family Picornaviridae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ng, Terry Fei Fan; Wellehan, James F X; Coleman, James K; Kondov, Nikola O; Deng, Xutao; Waltzek, Thomas B; Reuter, Gábor; Knowles, Nick J; Delwart, Eric

    2015-05-01

    While picornaviruses can cause diseases in many mammals, little is known of their host range for replication in non-mammalian vertebrates. Here, a picornavirus in liver and kidney tissues from diseased Sulawesi tortoises (Indotestudo forsteni) was genetically characterized. Tortoise rafivirus A (ToRaV-A, KJ415177) represents a potential new genus in the family Picornaviridae, for which we propose the name "Rafivirus". Our finding confirms the susceptibility of reptiles to picornaviruses.

  5. Biodiversity and systematics of apicomplexan parasites infecting South African leopard and hinged tortoises

    OpenAIRE

    2010-01-01

    M.Sc. Research into blood protozoans (haematozoans) infecting African tortoises is scanty with only a few records published, many during the early part of the last century. Little research had been done on the blood parasites of tortoises examined in this study namely, Kinixys lobatsiana, K. belliana belliana, K. natalensis, Geochelone pardalis pardalis, G. pardalis babcocki and Chersina angulata. The study therefore aimed to: 1) examine apicomplexan haematozoan parasites infecting several...

  6. Desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii are selective herbivores that track the flowering phenology of their preferred food plants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    W Bryan Jennings

    Full Text Available Previous studies of desert tortoise foraging ecology in the western Mojave Desert suggest that these animals are selective herbivores, which alter their diet according to the temporal availability of preferred food plants. These studies, however, did not estimate availability of potential food plants by taking into account the spatial and temporal variability in ephemeral plant abundance that occurs within the spring season. In this study, we observed 18 free-ranging adult tortoises take 35,388 bites during the spring foraging season. We also estimated the relative abundance of potential food plants by stratifying our sampling across different phenological periods of the 3-month long spring season and by different habitats and microhabitats. This methodology allowed us to conduct statistical tests comparing tortoise diet against plant abundance. Our results show that tortoises choose food plants non-randomly throughout the foraging season, a finding that corroborates the hypothesis that desert tortoises rely on key plants during different phenological periods of spring. Moreover, tortoises only consumed plants in a succulent state until the last few weeks of spring, at which time most annuals and herbaceous perennials had dried and most tortoises had ceased foraging. Many species of food plants--including several frequently eaten species--were not detected in our plant surveys, yet tortoises located these rare plants in their home ranges. Over 50% of bites consumed were in the group of undetected species. Interestingly, tortoises focused heavily on several leguminous species, which could be nutritious foods owing to their presumably high nitrogen contents. We suggest that herbaceous perennials, which were rare on our study area but represented ~30% of tortoise diet, may be important in sustaining tortoise populations during droughts when native annuals are absent. These findings highlight the vulnerability of desert tortoises to climate change

  7. Equivalency of Galápagos giant tortoises used as ecological replacement species to restore ecosystem functions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hunter, Elizabeth A; Gibbs, James P; Cayot, Linda J; Tapia, Washington

    2013-08-01

    Loss of key plant-animal interactions (e.g., disturbance, seed dispersal, and herbivory) due to extinctions of large herbivores has diminished ecosystem functioning nearly worldwide. Mitigating for the ecological consequences of large herbivore losses through the use of ecological replacements to fill extinct species' niches and thereby replicate missing ecological functions has been proposed. It is unknown how different morphologically and ecologically a replacement can be from the extinct species and still provide similar functions. We studied niche equivalency between 2 phenotypes of Galápagos giant tortoises (domed and saddlebacked) that were translocated to Pinta Island in the Galápagos Archipelago as ecological replacements for the extinct saddlebacked giant tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdonii). Thirty-nine adult, nonreproductive tortoises were introduced to Pinta Island in May 2010, and we observed tortoise resource use in relation to phenotype during the first year following release. Domed tortoises settled in higher, moister elevations than saddlebacked tortoises, which favored lower elevation arid zones. The areas where the tortoises settled are consistent with the ecological conditions each phenotype occupies in its native range. Saddlebacked tortoises selected areas with high densities of the arboreal prickly pear cactus (Opuntia galapageia) and mostly foraged on the cactus, which likely relied on the extinct saddlebacked Pinta tortoise for seed dispersal. In contrast, domed tortoises did not select areas with cactus and therefore would not provide the same seed-dispersal functions for the cactus as the introduced or the original, now extinct, saddlebacked tortoises. Interchangeability of extant megaherbivores as replacements for extinct forms therefore should be scrutinized given the lack of equivalency we observed in closely related forms of giant tortoises. Our results also demonstrate the value of trial introductions of sterilized individuals to test

  8. Social, biological, and environmental drivers of the hunting and trade of the endangered yellow-footed tortoise in the Amazon

    OpenAIRE

    Thaís Q. Morcatty; João Valsecchi

    2015-01-01

    Chelonians constitute an important source of food and income for the inhabitants of tropical forests. We assessed the social, biological, and environmental factors affecting the hunting and trade of the endangered yellow-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis denticulata) in rural and urban areas in the Amazon and estimated the sustainability of tortoise use. We also discuss possible conservation alternatives that are compatible with the needs of local inhabitants. We monitored tortoise hunting and tra...

  9. Desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) are selective herbivores that track the flowering phenology of their preferred food plants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jennings, Bryan W.; Berry, Kristin H.

    2015-01-01

    Previous studies of desert tortoise foraging ecology in the western Mojave Desert suggest that these animals are selective herbivores, which alter their diet according to the temporal availability of preferred food plants. These studies, however, did not estimate availability of potential food plants by taking into account the spatial and temporal variability in ephemeral plant abundance that occurs within the spring season. In this study, we observed 18 free-ranging adult tortoises take 35,388 bites during the spring foraging season. We also estimated the relative abundance of potential food plants by stratifying our sampling across different phenological periods of the 3-month long spring season and by different habitats and microhabitats. This methodology allowed us to conduct statistical tests comparing tortoise diet against plant abundance. Our results show that tortoises choose food plants non-randomly throughout the foraging season, a finding that corroborates the hypothesis that desert tortoises rely on key plants during different phenological periods of spring. Moreover, tortoises only consumed plants in a succulent state until the last few weeks of spring, at which time most annuals and herbaceous perennials had dried and most tortoises had ceased foraging. Many species of food plants—including several frequently eaten species—were not detected in our plant surveys, yet tortoises located these rare plants in their home ranges. Over 50% of bites consumed were in the group of undetected species. Interestingly, tortoises focused heavily on several leguminous species, which could be nutritious foods owing to their presumably high nitrogen contents. We suggest that herbaceous perennials, which were rare on our study area but represented ~30% of tortoise diet, may be important in sustaining tortoise populations during droughts when native annuals are absent. These findings highlight the vulnerability of desert tortoises to climate change if such changes

  10. Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) Densities in Coastal Scrub and Slash Pine Flatwoods in Florida

    Science.gov (United States)

    Breininger, David R.; Schmalzer, Paul A.; Hinkle, C. Ross

    1994-01-01

    Densities of gopher tortoises were compared with habitat characteristics in scrub and in flatwood habitats on the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Tortoises were distributed widely among habitat types and did not have higher densities in well-drained (oak-palmetto) than in poorly-drained (saw palmetto) habitats. Fall densities of tortoises ranged from a mean of 2.7 individuals/ha in disturbed habitat to 0.0 individuals/ha in saw palmetto habitat. Spring densities of tortoises ranged from a mean of 2.5 individuals/ha in saw palmetto habitat to 0.7 individuals/ha in oak-palmetto habitat. Densities of tortoises were correlated positively with the percent herbaceous cover, an indicator of food resources. Plots were divided into three burn classes; these were areas burned within three years, burned four to seven years, and unburned for more than seven years prior to the study. Relationships between densities of tortoises and time-since-fire classes were inconsistent.

  11. Plant species dispersed by Galapagos tortoises surf the wave of habitat suitability under anthropogenic climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ellis-Soto, Diego; Blake, Stephen; Soultan, Alaaeldin; Guézou, Anne; Cabrera, Fredy; Lötters, Stefan

    2017-01-01

    Native biodiversity on the Galapagos Archipelago is severely threatened by invasive alien species. On Santa Cruz Island, the abundance of introduced plant species is low in the arid lowlands of the Galapagos National Park, but increases with elevation into unprotected humid highlands. Two common alien plant species, guava (Psidium guajava) and passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) occur at higher elevations yet their seeds are dispersed into the lowlands by migrating Galapagos tortoises (Chelonoidis spp.). Tortoises transport large quantities of seeds over long distances into environments in which they have little or no chance of germination and survival under current climate conditions. However, climate change is projected to modify environmental conditions on Galapagos with unknown consequences for the distribution of native and introduced biodiversity. We quantified seed dispersal of guava and passion fruit in tortoise dung piles and the distribution of adult plants along two elevation gradients on Santa Cruz to assess current levels of 'wasted' seed dispersal. We computed species distribution models for both taxa under current and predicted future climate conditions. Assuming that tortoise migratory behaviour continues, current levels of "wasted" seed dispersal in lowlands were projected to decline dramatically in the future for guava but not for passion fruit. Tortoises will facilitate rapid range expansion for guava into lowland areas within the Galapagos National Park where this species is currently absent. Coupled with putative reduction in arid habitat for native species caused by climate change, tortoise driven guava invasion will pose a serious threat to local plant communities.

  12. Plant species dispersed by Galapagos tortoises surf the wave of habitat suitability under anthropogenic climate change.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diego Ellis-Soto

    Full Text Available Native biodiversity on the Galapagos Archipelago is severely threatened by invasive alien species. On Santa Cruz Island, the abundance of introduced plant species is low in the arid lowlands of the Galapagos National Park, but increases with elevation into unprotected humid highlands. Two common alien plant species, guava (Psidium guajava and passion fruit (Passiflora edulis occur at higher elevations yet their seeds are dispersed into the lowlands by migrating Galapagos tortoises (Chelonoidis spp.. Tortoises transport large quantities of seeds over long distances into environments in which they have little or no chance of germination and survival under current climate conditions. However, climate change is projected to modify environmental conditions on Galapagos with unknown consequences for the distribution of native and introduced biodiversity. We quantified seed dispersal of guava and passion fruit in tortoise dung piles and the distribution of adult plants along two elevation gradients on Santa Cruz to assess current levels of 'wasted' seed dispersal. We computed species distribution models for both taxa under current and predicted future climate conditions. Assuming that tortoise migratory behaviour continues, current levels of "wasted" seed dispersal in lowlands were projected to decline dramatically in the future for guava but not for passion fruit. Tortoises will facilitate rapid range expansion for guava into lowland areas within the Galapagos National Park where this species is currently absent. Coupled with putative reduction in arid habitat for native species caused by climate change, tortoise driven guava invasion will pose a serious threat to local plant communities.

  13. Skin disease affecting the conservation of the western swamp tortoise (Pseudemydura umbrina)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ladyman, J M; Kuchling, G; Burford, D; Boardman, W; Raidal, S R

    1998-11-01

    To review the present position of the western swamp tortoise (Pseudemydura umbrina) as an endangered species and significant health issues affecting efforts to save it from extinction. A retrospective analysis of the husbandry, hospital and pathology records of the western swamp tortoise captive breeding program at Perth Zoo. In 1987 a captive breeding project was developed to prevent the extinction of the western swamp tortoise but an outbreak of a necrotising dermatitis in 1989 threatened the survival of the captive bred hatchlings. Less severe outbreaks occurred in 1990 and 1993, with isolated cases in between. Of 283 tortoises that were born in captivity or came into captivity from the wild, 37 (13.1%) were affected, comprising 37% of all males, 26% of all females and 13% of animals of unknown gender. Of the affected animals, 70% were less than 2 years of age and 29% were older. Males were 1.6 times more likely to be infected than females but this difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.27). Culture of the lesions consistently yielded unidentified Pseudomonas sp. Improved husbandry, such as strict maintenance of water quality and temperature conditions similar to that of the animal's natural habitat, and monitoring the health of individual tortoises have successfully controlled skin disease in the captive breeding of the western swamp tortoise.

  14. Sequence of a cDNA encoding turtle high mobility group 1 protein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zheng, Jifang; Hu, Bi; Wu, Duansheng

    2005-07-01

    In order to understand sequence information about turtle HMG1 gene, a cDNA encoding HMG1 protein of the Chinese soft-shell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) was amplified by RT-PCR from kidney total RNA, and was cloned, sequenced and analyzed. The results revealed that the open reading frame (ORF) of turtle HMG1 cDNA is 606 bp long. The ORF codifies 202 amino acid residues, from which two DNA-binding domains and one polyacidic region are derived. The DNA-binding domains share higher amino acid identity with homologues sequences of chicken (96.5%) and mammalian (74%) than homologues sequence of rainbow trout (67%). The polyacidic region shows 84.6% amino acid homology with the equivalent region of chicken HMG1 cDNA. Turtle HMG1 protein contains 3 Cys residues located at completely conserved positions. Conservation in sequence and structure suggests that the functions of turtle HMG1 cDNA may be highly conserved during evolution. To our knowledge, this is the first report of HMG1 cDNA sequence in any reptilian.

  15. Mercury concentrations in snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) correlate with environmental and landscape characteristics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turnquist, Madeline A; Driscoll, Charles T; Schulz, Kimberly L; Schlaepfer, Martin A

    2011-10-01

    Mercury (Hg) deposited onto the landscape can be transformed into methylmercury (MeHg), a neurotoxin that bioaccumulates up the aquatic food chain. Here, we report on Hg concentrations in snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) across New York State, USA. The objectives of this study were to: (1) test which landscape, water, and biometric characteristics correlate with total Hg (THg) concentrations in snapping turtles; and (2) determine whether soft tissue THg concentrations correlate with scute (shell) concentrations. Forty-eight turtles were sampled non-lethally from ten lakes and wetlands across New York to observe patterns under a range of ecosystem variables and water chemistry conditions. THg concentrations ranged from 0.041 to 1.50 μg/g and 0.47 to 7.43 μg/g wet weight of muscle tissue and shell, respectively. The vast majority of mercury (~94%) was in the MeHg form. Sixty-one percent of turtle muscle samples exceeded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) consumption advisory limit of 0.3 μg Hg/g for fish. Muscle THg concentrations were significantly correlated with sulfate in water and the maximum elevation of the watershed. Shell THg concentrations were significantly correlated with the acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) of water, the maximum elevation of the watershed, the percent open water in the watershed, the lake to watershed size, and various forms of atmospheric Hg deposition. Thus, our results demonstrate that THg concentrations in snapping turtles are spatially variable, frequently exceed advisory limits, and are significantly correlated with several landscape and water characteristics.

  16. Unique features of Myf-5 in turtles: nucleotide deletion, alternative splicing, and unusual expression pattern.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ohya, Yoshie Kawashima; Usuda, Ryo; Kuraku, Shigehiro; Nagashima, Hiroshi; Kuratani, Shigeru

    2006-01-01

    Turtles characteristically possess a bony shell and show an extensive reduction of the trunk muscles. To gain insight into the evolution of this animal group, we focused on the underlying mechanism of the turtle-specific developmental pattern associated with the somitic mesoderm, which differentiates into both skeleton and muscle. We isolated Myf-5, a member of the myogenic-transcription-factor-encoding gene family expressed in the myotome, from the Chinese soft-shelled turtle Pelodiscus sinensis. We detected a deletion of 12 sequential nucleotides in P. sinensis Myf-5 (PsMyf-5), which appears to be shared by the turtle group. The expression pattern of PsMyf-5 in P. sinensis embryos differed from those of its orthologs in other amniotes, especially in the hypaxial region of the flank. We also identified two isoforms of the PsMyf-5 protein, a normal form similar to those of other vertebrates, and a short form produced by a translational frameshift. The short PsMyf-5 showed weaker myogenic activity in cultured cells than that of the normal protein, although the tissue distribution of the two isoforms overlapped perfectly. We propose that the unusual features of PsMyf-5 may be related to the unique developmental patterns of this animal group, and constitute one of the molecular bases for their evolutionary origin.

  17. A new xinjiangchelyid turtle from the Middle Jurassic of Xinjiang, China and the evolution of the basipterygoid process in Mesozoic turtles

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-01

    Background Most turtles from the Middle and Late Jurassic of Asia are referred to the newly defined clade Xinjiangchelyidae, a group of mostly shell-based, generalized, small to mid-sized aquatic froms that are widely considered to represent the stem lineage of Cryptodira. Xinjiangchelyids provide us with great insights into the plesiomorphic anatomy of crown-cryptodires, the most diverse group of living turtles, and they are particularly relevant for understanding the origin and early divergence of the primary clades of extant turtles. Results Exceptionally complete new xinjiangchelyid material from the ?Qigu Formation of the Turpan Basin (Xinjiang Autonomous Province, China) provides new insights into the anatomy of this group and is assigned to Xinjiangchelys wusu n. sp. A phylogenetic analysis places Xinjiangchelys wusu n. sp. in a monophyletic polytomy with other xinjiangchelyids, including Xinjiangchelys junggarensis, X. radiplicatoides, X. levensis and X. latiens. However, the analysis supports the unorthodox, though tentative placement of xinjiangchelyids and sinemydids outside of crown-group Testudines. A particularly interesting new observation is that the skull of this xinjiangchelyid retains such primitive features as a reduced interpterygoid vacuity and basipterygoid processes. Conclusions The homology of basipterygoid processes is confidently demonstrated based on a comprehensive review of the basicranial anatomy of Mesozoic turtles and a new nomenclatural system is introduced for the carotid canal system of turtles. The loss of the basipterygoid process and the bony enclosure of the carotid circulation system occurred a number of times independently during turtle evolution suggesting that the reinforcement of the basicranial region was essential for developing a rigid skull, thus paralleling the evolution of other amniote groups with massive skulls. PMID:24053145

  18. A new xinjiangchelyid turtle from the Middle Jurassic of Xinjiang, China and the evolution of the basipterygoid process in Mesozoic turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rabi, Márton; Zhou, Chang-Fu; Wings, Oliver; Ge, Sun; Joyce, Walter G

    2013-09-22

    Most turtles from the Middle and Late Jurassic of Asia are referred to the newly defined clade Xinjiangchelyidae, a group of mostly shell-based, generalized, small to mid-sized aquatic froms that are widely considered to represent the stem lineage of Cryptodira. Xinjiangchelyids provide us with great insights into the plesiomorphic anatomy of crown-cryptodires, the most diverse group of living turtles, and they are particularly relevant for understanding the origin and early divergence of the primary clades of extant turtles. Exceptionally complete new xinjiangchelyid material from the ?Qigu Formation of the Turpan Basin (Xinjiang Autonomous Province, China) provides new insights into the anatomy of this group and is assigned to Xinjiangchelys wusu n. sp. A phylogenetic analysis places Xinjiangchelys wusu n. sp. in a monophyletic polytomy with other xinjiangchelyids, including Xinjiangchelys junggarensis, X. radiplicatoides, X. levensis and X. latiens. However, the analysis supports the unorthodox, though tentative placement of xinjiangchelyids and sinemydids outside of crown-group Testudines. A particularly interesting new observation is that the skull of this xinjiangchelyid retains such primitive features as a reduced interpterygoid vacuity and basipterygoid processes. The homology of basipterygoid processes is confidently demonstrated based on a comprehensive review of the basicranial anatomy of Mesozoic turtles and a new nomenclatural system is introduced for the carotid canal system of turtles. The loss of the basipterygoid process and the bony enclosure of the carotid circulation system occurred a number of times independently during turtle evolution suggesting that the reinforcement of the basicranial region was essential for developing a rigid skull, thus paralleling the evolution of other amniote groups with massive skulls.

  19. Development of a quantitative PCR for rapid and sensitive diagnosis of an intranuclear coccidian parasite in Testudines (TINC), and detection in the critically endangered Arakan forest turtle (Heosemys depressa).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alvarez, W Alexander; Gibbons, Paul M; Rivera, Sam; Archer, Linda L; Childress, April L; Wellehan, James F X

    2013-03-31

    The intranuclear coccidian parasite of Testudines (TINC) is responsible for significant disease in turtles and tortoises causing high mortality and affecting several threatened species. Diagnostic testing has been limited to relatively labor intensive and expensive pan-coccidial PCR and sequencing techniques. A qPCR assay targeting a specific and conserved region of TINC 18S rRNA was designed. The qPCR reaction was run on samples known to be TINC positive and the results were consistent and analytically specific. The assay was able to detect as little as 10 copies of target DNA in a sample. Testing of soil and invertebrates was negative and did not provide any further insights into life cycles. This assay was used to identify TINC in a novel host species, the critically endangered Arakan forest turtle (Heosemys depressa). Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. The Genome of a Tortoise Herpesvirus (Testudinid Herpesvirus 3) Has a Novel Structure and Contains a Large Region That Is Not Required for Replication In Vitro or Virulence In Vivo

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gandar, Frédéric; Wilkie, Gavin S.; Gatherer, Derek; Kerr, Karen; Marlier, Didier; Diez, Marianne; Marschang, Rachel E.; Mast, Jan; Dewals, Benjamin G.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Testudinid herpesvirus 3 (TeHV-3) is the causative agent of a lethal disease affecting several tortoise species. The threat that this virus poses to endangered animals is focusing efforts on characterizing its properties, in order to enable the development of prophylactic methods. We have sequenced the genomes of the two most studied TeHV-3 strains (1976 and 4295). TeHV-3 strain 1976 has a novel genome structure and is most closely related to a turtle herpesvirus, thus supporting its classification into genus Scutavirus, subfamily Alphaherpesvirinae, family Herpesviridae. The sequence of strain 1976 also revealed viral counterparts of cellular interleukin-10 and semaphorin, which have not been described previously in members of subfamily Alphaherpesvirinae. TeHV-3 strain 4295 is a mixture of three forms (m1, m2, and M), in which, in comparison to strain 1976, the genomes exhibit large, partially overlapping deletions of 12.5 to 22.4 kb. Viral subclones representing these forms were isolated by limiting dilution assays, and each replicated in cell culture comparably to strain 1976. With the goal of testing the potential of the three forms as attenuated vaccine candidates, strain 4295 was inoculated intranasally into Hermann's tortoises (Testudo hermanni). All inoculated subjects died, and PCR analyses demonstrated the ability of the m2 and M forms to spread and invade the brain. In contrast, the m1 form was detected in none of the organs tested, suggesting its potential as the basis of an attenuated vaccine candidate. Our findings represent a major step toward characterizing TeHV-3 and developing prophylactic methods against it. IMPORTANCE Testudinid herpesvirus 3 (TeHV-3) causes a lethal disease in tortoises, several species of which are endangered. We have characterized the viral genome and used this information to take steps toward developing an attenuated vaccine. We have sequenced the genomes of two strains (1976 and 4295), compared their growth in

  1. Seroepidemiology of upper respiratory tract disease in the desert tortoise of California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Mary B.; Berry, Kristin H.; Schumacher, Isabella M.; Nagy, Kenneth A.; Christopher, Mary M.; Klein, Paul A.

    1999-01-01

    Several factors have combined with an upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) to produce declines on some population numbers of desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) in the western USA. This study was designed to determine the seroepidemiology of URTD in a population of wild adult tortoises at the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area (DTNA) study site in Kern County (California, USA). Prior to initiation of the study, there was a dramatic decline in the number of individuals in this population. At each individual time point, samples were obtained from 12 to 20 tortoises with radiotransmitters during winter, spring, summer, and fall from 1992 through 1995. During the course of the study, 35 animals were sampled at one or more times. Only 10 animals were available for consistent monitoring throughout the 4 yr period. Specific antibody (Ab) levels to Mycoplasma agassizii were determined for individual tortoises by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test. Specific Ab levels were not influenced by the gender of the tortoise. Levels of Ab and distribution of ELISA+, ELISA– and suspect animals were not consistently affected by season within a single year or for a season among the study years. Significantly more tortoises presented with clinical signs in 1992 and 1995. The profile of ELISA+ animals with clinical signs shifted from 5% (1992) to 42% (1995). In 1992, 52% of tortoises lacked clinical signs and were ELISA–. In 1995, this category accounted for only 19% of tortoises. Based on the results of this study, we conclude that URTD was present in this population as evidenced by the presence of ELISA+ individual animals, and that the infectious agent is still present as evidenced by seroconversion of previously ELISA– animals during the course of the study. There is evidence to suggest that animals may remain ELISA+ without showing overt disease, a clinical pattern consistent with the chronic nature of most mycoplasmal infections. Further, there are

  2. Specific accumulation of arsenic compounds in green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) from Ishigaki Island, Japan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Agusa, Tetsuro; Takagi, Kozue; Kubota, Reiji; Anan, Yasumi; Iwata, Hisato; Tanabe, Shinsuke

    2008-01-01

    Concentrations of total arsenic (As) and individual compounds were determined in green and hawksbill turtles from Ishigaki Island, Japan. In both species, total As concentrations were highest in muscle among the tissues. Arsenobetaine was a major compound in most tissues of both turtles. High concentrations of trimethylarsine oxide were detected in hawksbill turtles. A significant negative correlation between standard carapace length (SCL), an indicator of age, and total As levels in green turtles was found. In contrast, the levels increased with SCL of hawksbill turtles. Shifts in feeding habitats with growth may account for such a growth-dependent accumulation of As. Although concentrations of As in marine sponges, the major food of hawksbill turtles are not high compared to those in algae eaten by green turtles, As concentrations in hawksbill turtles were higher than those in green turtles, indicating that hawksbill turtles may have a specific accumulation mechanism for As. - Green turtles and hawksbill turtles have specific accumulation features of arsenic

  3. Specific accumulation of arsenic compounds in green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) from Ishigaki Island, Japan

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Agusa, Tetsuro; Takagi, Kozue [Center for Marine Environmental Studies (CMES), Ehime University, Bunkyo-cho 2-5, Matsuyama 790-8577 (Japan); Kubota, Reiji [Division of Environmental Chemistry, National Institute of Health Sciences, Kamiyoga 1-18-1, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-8501 (Japan); Anan, Yasumi [Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chiba University, Inohana 1-8-1, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8675 (Japan); Iwata, Hisato [Center for Marine Environmental Studies (CMES), Ehime University, Bunkyo-cho 2-5, Matsuyama 790-8577 (Japan); Tanabe, Shinsuke [Center for Marine Environmental Studies (CMES), Ehime University, Bunkyo-cho 2-5, Matsuyama 790-8577 (Japan)], E-mail: shinsuke@agr.ehime-u.ac.jp

    2008-05-15

    Concentrations of total arsenic (As) and individual compounds were determined in green and hawksbill turtles from Ishigaki Island, Japan. In both species, total As concentrations were highest in muscle among the tissues. Arsenobetaine was a major compound in most tissues of both turtles. High concentrations of trimethylarsine oxide were detected in hawksbill turtles. A significant negative correlation between standard carapace length (SCL), an indicator of age, and total As levels in green turtles was found. In contrast, the levels increased with SCL of hawksbill turtles. Shifts in feeding habitats with growth may account for such a growth-dependent accumulation of As. Although concentrations of As in marine sponges, the major food of hawksbill turtles are not high compared to those in algae eaten by green turtles, As concentrations in hawksbill turtles were higher than those in green turtles, indicating that hawksbill turtles may have a specific accumulation mechanism for As. - Green turtles and hawksbill turtles have specific accumulation features of arsenic.

  4. Captive sea turtle rearing inventory, feeding, and water chemistry in sea turtle rearing tanks at NOAA Galveston 1995-present

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The database contains daily records of sea turtle inventories by species feeding rates type of food fed sick sea turtles sea turtles that have died log of tanks...

  5. Notes upon some Sea Turtles

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Brongersma, L.D.

    1961-01-01

    In recent years much attention is being paid to marine turtles, and it is the merit of Deraniyagala, Carr, and others to have contributed much to our knowledge of this group. Nevertheless, our knowledge of the species and subspecies that may be recognized, and that of their distribution is as yet

  6. Analysis of epibiont data in relation with the Debilitated Turtle Syndrome of sea turtles in Chelonia mydas and Lepidochelys olivacea from Concepción coast, Chile

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Italo Fernández

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Epibionts on the surface of the skin and shell of a specimen of Chelonia mydas and three Lepidochelys olivacea found floating on the coast of Concepción, Chile, between June 2010 and December 2012, were analyzed. These epibionts were analyzed during the clinical inspection and the tissue changes related to its settlement, with filamentous algae around, were observed. Subsequently, the epibionts were identified by morphological observation. The knowledge about theses epibionts in Chile is reviewed and the potential occurrence of Debilitated Turtle Syndrome (DTS in these turtles is discussed. The presence of sea turtles in the Chilean coast is considered a casual event, so there is little information on this issue. We propose it is necessary to carry out more studies on the association between turtles and epibionts because their identification, colonizing reptiles’ surface may give relevant information to a better understanding of different diseases, including DTS, that affect these marine reptiles and facilitates the development of strategies intended to recover their populations.

  7. Sea Turtle Conservation on Bonaire. Sea Turtle Club Bonaire 1997. Project Report

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schuit, M.; Put, van A.L.L.M.; Valkering, N.P.; Eijck, van T.J.W.

    1998-01-01

    The Sea Turtle Club Bonaire (STCB) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization. Its main goal is the conservation of the sea turtles that occur on Bonaire. To reach this goal, annual projects are undertaken, such as research and the promotion of public awareness on sea turtle conservation. The

  8. Evolution of neck vertebral shape and neck retraction at the transition to modern turtles: an integrated geometric morphometric approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Werneburg, Ingmar; Wilson, Laura A B; Parr, William C H; Joyce, Walter G

    2015-03-01

    The unique ability of modern turtles to retract their head and neck into the shell through a side-necked (pleurodiran) or hidden-necked (cryptodiran) motion is thought to have evolved independently in crown turtles. The anatomical changes that led to the vertebral shapes of modern turtles, however, are still poorly understood. Here we present comprehensive geometric morphometric analyses that trace turtle vertebral evolution and reconstruct disparity across phylogeny. Disparity of vertebral shape was high at the dawn of turtle evolution and decreased after the modern groups evolved, reflecting a stabilization of morphotypes that correspond to the two retraction modes. Stem turtles, which had a very simple mode of retraction, the lateral head tuck, show increasing flexibility of the neck through evolution towards a pleurodiran-like morphotype. The latter was the precondition for evolving pleurodiran and cryptodiran vertebrae. There is no correlation between the construction of formed articulations in the cervical centra and neck mobility. An increasing mobility between vertebrae, associated with changes in vertebral shape, resulted in a more advanced ability to retract the neck. In this regard, we hypothesize that the lateral tucking retraction of stem turtles was not only the precondition for pleurodiran but also of cryptodiran retraction. For the former, a kink in the middle third of the neck needed to be acquired, whereas for the latter modification was necessary between the eighth cervical vertebra and first thoracic vertebra. Our paper highlights the utility of 3D shape data, analyzed in a phylogenetic framework, to examine the magnitude and mode of evolutionary modifications to vertebral morphology. By reconstructing and visualizing ancestral anatomical shapes, we provide insight into the anatomical features underlying neck retraction mode, which is a salient component of extant turtle classification. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press

  9. The Embryonic Transcriptome of the Red-Eared Slider Turtle (Trachemys scripta.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas J Kaplinsky

    Full Text Available The bony shell of the turtle is an evolutionary novelty not found in any other group of animals, however, research into its formation has suggested that it has evolved through modification of conserved developmental mechanisms. Although these mechanisms have been extensively characterized in model organisms, the tools for characterizing them in non-model organisms such as turtles have been limited by a lack of genomic resources. We have used a next generation sequencing approach to generate and assemble a transcriptome from stage 14 and 17 Trachemys scripta embryos, stages during which important events in shell development are known to take place. The transcriptome consists of 231,876 sequences with an N50 of 1,166 bp. GO terms and EC codes were assigned to the 61,643 unique predicted proteins identified in the transcriptome sequences. All major GO categories and metabolic pathways are represented in the transcriptome. Transcriptome sequences were used to amplify several cDNA fragments designed for use as RNA in situ probes. One of these, BMP5, was hybridized to a T. scripta embryo and exhibits both conserved and novel expression patterns. The transcriptome sequences should be of broad use for understanding the evolution and development of the turtle shell and for annotating any future T. scripta genome sequences.

  10. The Embryonic Transcriptome of the Red-Eared Slider Turtle (Trachemys scripta).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaplinsky, Nicholas J; Gilbert, Scott F; Cebra-Thomas, Judith; Lilleväli, Kersti; Saare, Merly; Chang, Eric Y; Edelman, Hannah E; Frick, Melissa A; Guan, Yin; Hammond, Rebecca M; Hampilos, Nicholas H; Opoku, David S B; Sariahmed, Karim; Sherman, Eric A; Watson, Ray

    2013-01-01

    The bony shell of the turtle is an evolutionary novelty not found in any other group of animals, however, research into its formation has suggested that it has evolved through modification of conserved developmental mechanisms. Although these mechanisms have been extensively characterized in model organisms, the tools for characterizing them in non-model organisms such as turtles have been limited by a lack of genomic resources. We have used a next generation sequencing approach to generate and assemble a transcriptome from stage 14 and 17 Trachemys scripta embryos, stages during which important events in shell development are known to take place. The transcriptome consists of 231,876 sequences with an N50 of 1,166 bp. GO terms and EC codes were assigned to the 61,643 unique predicted proteins identified in the transcriptome sequences. All major GO categories and metabolic pathways are represented in the transcriptome. Transcriptome sequences were used to amplify several cDNA fragments designed for use as RNA in situ probes. One of these, BMP5, was hybridized to a T. scripta embryo and exhibits both conserved and novel expression patterns. The transcriptome sequences should be of broad use for understanding the evolution and development of the turtle shell and for annotating any future T. scripta genome sequences.

  11. Evolution of the turtle bauplan: the topological relationship of the scapula relative to the ribcage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyson, Tyler R; Joyce, Walter G

    2012-12-23

    The turtle shell and the relationship of the shoulder girdle inside or 'deep' to the ribcage have puzzled neontologists and developmental biologists for more than a century. Recent developmental and fossil data indicate that the shoulder girdle indeed lies inside the shell, but anterior to the ribcage. Developmental biologists compare this orientation to that found in the model organisms mice and chickens, whose scapula lies laterally on top of the ribcage. We analyse the topological relationship of the shoulder girdle relative to the ribcage within a broader phylogenetic context and determine that the condition found in turtles is also found in amphibians, monotreme mammals and lepidosaurs. A vertical scapula anterior to the thoracic ribcage is therefore inferred to be the basal amniote condition and indicates that the condition found in therian mammals and archosaurs (which includes both developmental model organisms: chickens and mice) is derived and not appropriate for studying the developmental origin of the turtle shell. Instead, among amniotes, either monotreme mammals or lepidosaurs should be used.

  12. Status of marine turtle rehabilitation in Queensland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jaylene Flint

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Rehabilitation of marine turtles in Queensland has multifaceted objectives. It treats individual animals, serves to educate the public, and contributes to conservation. We examined the outcome from rehabilitation, time in rehabilitation, and subsequent recapture and restranding rates of stranded marine turtles between 1996 and 2013 to determine if the benefits associated with this practice are cost-effective as a conservation tool. Of 13,854 marine turtles reported as stranded during this 18-year period, 5,022 of these turtles were stranded alive with the remainder verified as dead or of unknown condition. A total of 2,970 (59% of these live strandings were transported to a rehabilitation facility. Overall, 1,173/2,970 (39% turtles were released over 18 years, 101 of which were recaptured: 77 reported as restrandings (20 dead, 13 alive subsequently died, 11 alive subsequently euthanized, 33 alive and 24 recaptured during normal marine turtle population monitoring or fishing activities. Of the turtles admitted to rehabilitation exhibiting signs of disease, 88% of them died, either unassisted or by euthanasia and 66% of turtles admitted for unknown causes of stranding died either unassisted or by euthanasia. All turtles recorded as having a buoyancy disorder with no other presenting problem or disorder recorded, were released alive. In Queensland, rehabilitation costs approximately $1,000 per animal per year admitted to a center, $2,583 per animal per year released, and $123,750 per animal per year for marine turtles which are presumably successfully returned to the functional population. This practice may not be economically viable in its present configuration, but may be more cost effective as a mobile response unit. Further there is certainly benefit giving individual turtles a chance at survival and educating the public in the perils facing marine turtles. As well, rehabilitation can provide insight into the diseases and environmental

  13. Status of marine turtle rehabilitation in Queensland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flint, Jaylene; Flint, Mark; Limpus, Colin James; Mills, Paul

    2017-01-01

    Rehabilitation of marine turtles in Queensland has multifaceted objectives. It treats individual animals, serves to educate the public, and contributes to conservation. We examined the outcome from rehabilitation, time in rehabilitation, and subsequent recapture and restranding rates of stranded marine turtles between 1996 and 2013 to determine if the benefits associated with this practice are cost-effective as a conservation tool. Of 13,854 marine turtles reported as stranded during this 18-year period, 5,022 of these turtles were stranded alive with the remainder verified as dead or of unknown condition. A total of 2,970 (59%) of these live strandings were transported to a rehabilitation facility. Overall, 1,173/2,970 (39%) turtles were released over 18 years, 101 of which were recaptured: 77 reported as restrandings (20 dead, 13 alive subsequently died, 11 alive subsequently euthanized, 33 alive) and 24 recaptured during normal marine turtle population monitoring or fishing activities. Of the turtles admitted to rehabilitation exhibiting signs of disease, 88% of them died, either unassisted or by euthanasia and 66% of turtles admitted for unknown causes of stranding died either unassisted or by euthanasia. All turtles recorded as having a buoyancy disorder with no other presenting problem or disorder recorded, were released alive. In Queensland, rehabilitation costs approximately $1,000 per animal per year admitted to a center, $2,583 per animal per year released, and $123,750 per animal per year for marine turtles which are presumably successfully returned to the functional population. This practice may not be economically viable in its present configuration, but may be more cost effective as a mobile response unit. Further there is certainly benefit giving individual turtles a chance at survival and educating the public in the perils facing marine turtles. As well, rehabilitation can provide insight into the diseases and environmental stressors causing

  14. Status of marine turtle rehabilitation in Queensland

    OpenAIRE

    Jaylene Flint; Mark Flint; Colin James Limpus; Paul Mills

    2017-01-01

    Rehabilitation of marine turtles in Queensland has multifaceted objectives. It treats individual animals, serves to educate the public, and contributes to conservation. We examined the outcome from rehabilitation, time in rehabilitation, and subsequent recapture and restranding rates of stranded marine turtles between 1996 and 2013 to determine if the benefits associated with this practice are cost-effective as a conservation tool. Of 13,854 marine turtles reported as stranded during this 18-...

  15. Status of marine turtle rehabilitation in Queensland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flint, Mark; Limpus, Colin James; Mills, Paul

    2017-01-01

    Rehabilitation of marine turtles in Queensland has multifaceted objectives. It treats individual animals, serves to educate the public, and contributes to conservation. We examined the outcome from rehabilitation, time in rehabilitation, and subsequent recapture and restranding rates of stranded marine turtles between 1996 and 2013 to determine if the benefits associated with this practice are cost-effective as a conservation tool. Of 13,854 marine turtles reported as stranded during this 18-year period, 5,022 of these turtles were stranded alive with the remainder verified as dead or of unknown condition. A total of 2,970 (59%) of these live strandings were transported to a rehabilitation facility. Overall, 1,173/2,970 (39%) turtles were released over 18 years, 101 of which were recaptured: 77 reported as restrandings (20 dead, 13 alive subsequently died, 11 alive subsequently euthanized, 33 alive) and 24 recaptured during normal marine turtle population monitoring or fishing activities. Of the turtles admitted to rehabilitation exhibiting signs of disease, 88% of them died, either unassisted or by euthanasia and 66% of turtles admitted for unknown causes of stranding died either unassisted or by euthanasia. All turtles recorded as having a buoyancy disorder with no other presenting problem or disorder recorded, were released alive. In Queensland, rehabilitation costs approximately $1,000 per animal per year admitted to a center, $2,583 per animal per year released, and $123,750 per animal per year for marine turtles which are presumably successfully returned to the functional population. This practice may not be economically viable in its present configuration, but may be more cost effective as a mobile response unit. Further there is certainly benefit giving individual turtles a chance at survival and educating the public in the perils facing marine turtles. As well, rehabilitation can provide insight into the diseases and environmental stressors causing

  16. Using motion-sensor camera technology to infer seasonal activity and thermal niche of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agha, Mickey; Augustine, Benjamin; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Delaney, David F.; Sinervo, Barry; Murphy, Mason O.; Ennen, Joshua R.; Briggs, Jessica R.; Cooper, Robert J.; Price, Steven J.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the relationships between environmental variables and wildlife activity is an important part of effective management. The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), an imperiled species of arid environments in the southwest US, may have increasingly restricted windows for activity due to current warming trends. In summer 2013, we deployed 48 motion sensor cameras at the entrances of tortoise burrows to investigate the effects of temperature, sex, and day of the year on the activity of desert tortoises. Using generalized estimating equations, we found that the relative probability of activity was associated with temperature (linear and quadratic), sex, and day of the year. Sex effects showed that male tortoises are generally more active than female tortoises. Temperature had a quadratic effect, indicating that tortoise activity was heightened at a range of temperatures. In addition, we found significant support for interactions between sex and day of the year, and sex and temperature as predictors of the probability of activity. Using our models, we were able to estimate air temperatures and times (days and hours) that were associated with maximum activity during the study. Because tortoise activity is constrained by environmental conditions such as temperature, it is increasingly vital to conduct studies on how tortoises vary their activity throughout the Sonoran Desert to better understand the effects of a changing climate.

  17. Sea Turtles and Strategies for Language Skills.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tippins, Deborah; And Others

    1993-01-01

    Describes teaching strategies, including science activities, for challenging students' misconceptions about turtles and helping limited-English-proficiency students enhance their language proficiency. (PR)

  18. Transitional fossils and the origin of turtles

    OpenAIRE

    Lyson, Tyler R.; Bever, Gabe S.; Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S.; Joyce, Walter G.; Gauthier, Jacques A.

    2010-01-01

    The origin of turtles is one of the most contentious issues in systematics with three currently viable hypotheses: turtles as the extant sister to (i) the crocodile–bird clade, (ii) the lizard–tuatara clade, or (iii) Diapsida (a clade composed of (i) and (ii)). We reanalysed a recent dataset that allied turtles with the lizard–tuatara clade and found that the inclusion of the stem turtle Proganochelys quenstedti and the ‘parareptile’ Eunotosaurus africanus results in a single overriding morph...

  19. A Mycoplasma species of Emydidae turtles in the northeastern USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ossiboff, Robert J; Raphael, Bonnie L; Ammazzalorso, Alyssa D; Seimon, Tracie A; Niederriter, Holly; Zarate, Brian; Newton, Alisa L; McAloose, Denise

    2015-04-01

    Mycoplasma infections can cause significant morbidity and mortality in captive and wild chelonians. As part of a health assessment of endangered bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) in the northeastern US, choanal and cloacal swabs from these and other sympatric species, including spotted turtles (Clemmys guttata), eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina), wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta), and common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) from 10 sampling sites in the states (US) of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, were tested by PCR for Mycoplasma. Of 108 turtles tested, 63 (58.3%) were PCR positive for Mycoplasma including 58 of 83 bog turtles (70%), three of three (100%) eastern box turtles, and two of 11 (18%) spotted turtles; all snapping turtles (n = 7) and wood turtles (n = 4) were negative. Sequence analysis of portions of the 16S-23S intergenic spacer region and the 16S ribosomal RNA gene revealed a single, unclassified species of Mycoplasma that has been previously reported in eastern box turtles, ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata), western pond turtles (Emys marmorata), and red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans). We document a high incidence of Mycoplasma, in the absence of clinical disease, in wild emydid turtles. These findings, along with wide distribution of the identified Mycoplasma sp. across a broad geographic region, suggest this bacterium is likely a commensal inhabitant of bog turtles, and possibly other species of emydid turtles, in the northeastern US.

  20. Plant cover effect on Bolson tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus Legler 1959, Testudinidae burrow use

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge Luis Becerra-López

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available The Bolson tortoise, Gopherus flavomarginatus, occurs within a restricted geographical area in the Mexican Chihuahuan Desert. We analyzed the variation in surface microhabitat with relation to the burrow occupancy for this tortoise at the Mapimí Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. In summer 2010, we monitored burrow activity (active, inactive, or abandoned and measured environmental factors that might influence the burrow’s occupancy by tortoises (air temperature, relative humidity and substrate temperature, both inside and outside the burrow, and the plant cover around it. Discriminant analysis was used to identify the importance of these variables influencing burrow occupancy. Correlation and linear regression analyses were performed to quantify the relation between environmental factors in the sampled burrows. Results. Sixty-one burrows were identified at the Tortugas locality. The first function’s auto-value analysis indicates that this function explains 97.9% of the variation in burrow activity status; high occupancy scores were associated with low substrate temperature inside the burrow. Plant cover was inversely proportional to substrate temperature inside the burrow. These results suggest the importance the density of plants surrounding the tortoise’s burrow as a key factor influencing the burrow microclimate and occupancy by the tortoises. Conclusions. Gopherus flavomarginatus inhabits burrows, in part, based on microhabitat structure, with plant cover being a main factor influencing burrow occupancy. Our findings indicate that human land use and vegetation management are important for conserving Bolson tortoises, and for understanding habitat conditions necessary for the successful establishment of populations elsewhere.

  1. Survey of co-infection by Salmonella and oxyurids in tortoises

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dipineto Ludovico

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Salmonella spp. and oxyurids are among the most prevalent bacterial and parasitic agents in reptiles. These organisms are routinely isolated in healthy tortoises, although heavy infections may cause significant pathology. Tortoises are considered a common source of reptile-associated salmonellosis, an important zoonosis reported worldwide. A survey of the prevalence of Salmonella spp. and oxyurids in 53 tortoises was conducted in southern Italy and a possible correlation between the two pathogens was therefore investigated. Results Salmonella spp. and oxyurids were detected with a prevalence of 49.1 and 81.1%, respectively. A significant positive correlation between Salmonella spp. and oxyurids was demonstrated. However, confounding factors related to husbandry could have been involved in determining this correlation. Conclusions Our results suggest that caution should be exercised in translocation, husbandry, and human contact with tortoises and other exotic pets. Further studies on the epidemiology, molecular characterization and pathogenesis of Salmonella and oxyurids are needed to assess the actual impact of these organisms, as single or associated infections, on tortoises and on other exotic pets.

  2. Parasites of domestic and wild animals in South Africa. XLVII. Ticks of tortoises and other reptiles

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I.G. Horak

    2006-09-01

    Full Text Available A total of 586 reptiles, belonging to 35 species and five subspecies, were examined in surveys aimed at determining the species spectrum and geographic distribution of ticks that infest them. Of these reptiles 509 were tortoises, 28 monitor or other lizards, and 49 snakes. Nine ixodid tick species, of which seven belonged to the genus Amblyomma, and one argasid tick, Ornithodoros compactus were recovered. Seven of the ten tick species are parasites of reptiles. Amongst these seven species Amblyomma marmoreum was most prevalent and numerous on leopard tortoises, Geochelone pardalis; Amblyomma nuttalli was present only on Bell's hinged tortoises, Kinixys belliana; and most Amblyomma sylvaticum were collected from angulate tortoises, Chersina angulata. Amblyomma exornatum (formerly Aponomma exornatum was only recovered from monitor lizards, Varanus spp.; most Amblyomma latum (formerly Aponomma latum were from snakes; and a single nymph of Amblyomma transversale (formerly Aponomma transversale was collected from a southern African python, Python natalensis. All 30 Namaqualand speckled padloper tortoises, Homopus signatus signatus, examined were infested with O. compactus. The seasonal occurrence of A. sylvaticum and the geographic distribution of this tick and of A. marmoreum, A. nuttalli, A. exornatum, A. latum and O. compactus are illustrated.

  3. Hyalomma aegyptium on Spur-thighed Tortoise (Testudo graeca in Urmia Region West Azerbaijan, Iran

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M Tavassoli

    2007-05-01

    Full Text Available Background: Ticks are obligate blood feeders that parasitize a wide variety of animals. Hyalomma aegyptium, parasitize tortoises and other small wild life and livestock. This study was carried out to determine spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca infestation to H. ageyptium in Urmia region West Azerbaijan of Iran. Methods: The study was carried out over a 16 month period from the spring of 2004 to the fall of 2005. A total of 32 tor¬toises were sampled. Results: The results indicated that 14 tortoises infected with ticks. A total of 117 ticks were collected from infested animals, the minimum and maximum tick infestation was 1-60. Ticks were attached to the axilla of fore and hind legs of tortoises. All ticks were determined to be H. aegyptium. Conclusion: H. aegyptium was the most common tick species in the study area. Due to tendency of some people to keeping tortoise as pet animal, more attention must be done to tortoise’s tick infestation. Due to existence of H. aegyptium on tor¬toises in this region more study will need to evaluate presence of this tick on other animal species and its role on transmis¬sion of diseases.

  4. Oviductal morphology in relation to hormonal levels in the snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alkindi, A Y A; Mahmoud, I Y; Woller, M J; Plude, J L

    2006-02-01

    Microscopic and in situ visual observations were used to relate circulating hormone levels to morphological changes in the oviduct of the snapping turtle Chelydra serpentina throughout the ovarian cycle. Increase in levels of progesterone (P), estradiol (E2) and testosterone (T) levels coincide with an increase in number and growth of endometrial glands, luminal epithelial cells and secretory droplets throughout the oviduct. Testosterone and estradiol levels rose significantly (P < 0.05) after the May-June period and remained high throughout the rest of the summer. Progesterone levels remained stable throughout the summer, with a brief decline in July due to luteolysis. Hormonal values declined significantly (P < 0.001) at the end of the ovarian cycle in the fall. In situ visual observation of fresh oviducts at different stages of gravidity in recently ovulated turtles revealed that proteinaceous like components from the endometrial glands were released into the lumen to form fibers. The morphological features of the oviduct remained active throughout the summer months even though the snapping turtle is a monoclutch species which deposits all the eggs in late-May to mid-June. The high steroid levels correlate with and may be responsible for the secretory activity present throughout the summer and their decline correlates with change to low secretory activity in the fall. Calcium deposition accompanied by morphological changes in luminal cells are suggestive of secretory activity. In the egg-bearing turtles, uterine Ca2+ concentrations measured by flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry revealed significantly higher Ca2+ concentrations (P < 0.001) in eggs with soft shell than eggs without shell. There was a significant increase in calcium granules and proteinaceous fibers in luminal surface of the uterus during the period of eggshelling. This supports the fact that in the snapping turtle like in other reptiles, eggshelling process occurs in the uterus.

  5. Solomon Islands largest hawksbill turtle rookery shows signs of recovery after 150 years of excessive exploitation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Richard J Hamilton

    Full Text Available The largest rookery for hawksbill turtles in the oceanic South Pacific is the Arnavon Islands, which are located in the Manning Strait between Isabel and Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands. The history of this rookery is one of overexploitation, conflict and violence. Throughout the 1800s Roviana headhunters from New Georgia repeatedly raided the Manning Strait to collect hawksbill shell which they traded with European whalers. By the 1970s the Arnavons hawksbill population was in severe decline and the national government intervened, declaring the Arnavons a sanctuary in 1976. But this government led initiative was short lived, with traditional owners burning down the government infrastructure and resuming intensive harvesting in 1982. In 1991 routine beach monitoring and turtle tagging commenced at the Arnavons along with extensive community consultations regarding the islands' future, and in 1995 the Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area (ACMCA was established. Around the same time national legislation banning the sale of all turtle products was passed. This paper represents the first analysis of data from 4536 beach surveys and 845 individual turtle tagging histories obtained from the Arnavons between 1991-2012. Our results and the results of others, reveal that many of the hawksbill turtles that nest at the ACMCA forage in distant Australian waters, and that nesting on the Arnavons occurs throughout the year with peak nesting activity coinciding with the austral winter. Our results also provide the first known evidence of recovery for a western pacific hawksbill rookery, with the number of nests laid at the ACMCA and the remigration rates of turtles doubling since the establishment of the ACMCA in 1995. The Arnavons case study provides an example of how changes in policy, inclusive community-based management and long term commitment can turn the tide for one of the most charismatic and endangered species on our planet.

  6. Comprehensive survey of carapacial ridge-specific genes in turtle implies co-option of some regulatory genes in carapace evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuraku, Shigehiro; Usuda, Ryo; Kuratani, Shigeru

    2005-01-01

    The turtle shell is an evolutionary novelty in which the developmental pattern of the ribs is radically modified. In contrast to those of other amniotes, turtle ribs grow laterally into the dorsal dermis to form a carapace. The lateral margin of carapacial primordium is called the carapacial ridge (CR), and is thought to play an essential role in carapace patterning. To reveal the developmental mechanisms underlying this structure, we systematically screened for genes expressed specifically in the CR of the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis, using microbead-based differential cDNA analysis and real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. We identified orthologs of Sp5, cellular retinoic acid-binding protein-I (CRABP-I), adenomatous polyposis coli down-regulated 1 (APCDD1), and lymphoid enhancer-binding factor-1 (LEF-1). Although these genes are conserved throughout the major vertebrate lineages, comparison of their expression patterns with those in chicken and mouse indicated that these genes have acquired de novo expression in the CR in the turtle lineage. In association with the expression of LEF-1, the nuclear localization of beta-catenin protein was detected in the CR ectoderm, suggesting that the canonical Wnt signaling triggers carapace development. These findings indicate that the acquisition of the turtle shell did not involve the creation of novel genes, but was based on the co-option of pre-existing genes.

  7. Turtle geometry the Python way

    OpenAIRE

    Battle, S.

    2014-01-01

    An introduction to coding using Python’s on-screen ‘turtle’ that can be commanded with a few simple instructions including forward, backward, left and right. The turtle leaves a trace that can be used to draw geometric figures. This workshop is aimed at beginners of all ages. The aim is to learn a smattering of programming and a little bit of geometry in a fun way.

  8. Heavy metals in sea turtles

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Witkowski, S.A. (Millersville State College, PA); Frazier, J.G.

    1982-07-01

    Bone and barnacle samples from sea turtles (Hepidochelys olivacea) in Ecuador were analyzed for manganese, iron, copper, zinc and lead. Analysis was performed by flame atomic absorption spectroscopy. Results show that zinc and iron levels in bone and barnacles were greater than copper, manganese and lead levels. The significance of the findings is difficult to interpret because so little is known about baseline levels and physiological effects of heavy metals in the animals. (JMT)

  9. 78 FR 44878 - Turtles Intrastate and Interstate Requirements

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-07-25

    .... FDA-2013-N-0639] Turtles Intrastate and Interstate Requirements AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration... turtle eggs and live turtles with a carapace length of less than 4 inches to remove procedures for... 21 CFR 1240.62 on May 23, 1975 (40 FR 22543), that ban the sale and distribution of viable turtle...

  10. Observations of sea turtles nesting on Misali islan, Pemba | Pharoah ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    A nest-recording programme has collected data over five years from turtles nesting on Misali Island, off the West coast of Pemba, Tanzania. Five species of sea turtle are known to occur in Zanzibar waters, two of these species nested regularly on the island, with green turtle nests outnumbering hawksbill turtle nests by a ...

  11. Cystic calculi removal in African spurred Tortoise (Geochelone sulcata using transplstron coeliotomy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Azlan Che' Amat

    Full Text Available The present report was carried out to manage a case of calculi in the bladder of African spurred tortoise. A 6 year old African spurred tortoise presented with history of anorexia and whitish discharged from the vent. Upon physical examination, the tortoise were 10% dehydrated, hindlegs muscle wasting and whitish materials came out from the vent. Plain radiograph revealed increased radiopacity in the bladder and also both right and left kidney. Contrast gastrointestinal radiograph showed less possibility of foreign body. Inconclusive radiological findings required the decision to proceed with exploratory transplastron coeliotomy by using dental burr. About 4 cm solid, hard whitish mass was removed from the bladder and both kidney was congested with whitish material. The findings were suggestive for urates crystal calculi based on histology result. [Vet. World 2012; 5(8.000: 489-492

  12. Short-Term Space-Use Patterns of Translocated Mojave Desert Tortoise in Southern California.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew L Farnsworth

    Full Text Available Increasingly, renewable energy comprises a larger share of global energy production. Across the western United States, public lands are being developed to support renewable energy production. Where there are conflicts with threatened or endangered species, translocation can be used in an attempt to mitigate negative effects. For the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii, we sought to compare habitat- and space-use patterns between short-distance translocated, resident, and control groups. We tested for differences in home range size based on utilization distributions and used linear mixed-effects models to compare space-use intensity, while controlling for demographic and environmental variables. In addition, we examined mean movement distances as well as home range overlap between years and for male and female tortoises in each study group. During the first active season post-translocation, home range size was greater and space-use intensity was lower for translocated tortoises than resident and control groups. These patterns were not present in the second season. In both years, there was no difference in home range size or space-use intensity between control and resident groups. Translocation typically resulted in one active season of questing followed by a second active season characterized by space-use patterns that were indistinguishable from control tortoises. Across both years, the number of times a tortoise was found in a burrow was positively related to greater space-use intensity. Minimizing the time required for translocated tortoises to exhibit patterns similar to non-translocated individuals may have strong implications for conservation by reducing exposure to adverse environmental conditions and predation. With ongoing development, our results can be used to guide future efforts aimed at understanding how translocation strategies influence patterns of animal space use.

  13. No evidence of contagious yawning in the red-footed tortoise Geochelone carbonaria

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anna WILKINSON, Natalie SEBANZ, Isabella MANDL, Ludwig HUBER

    2011-08-01

    Full Text Available Three hypotheses have attempted to explain the phenomenon of contagious yawning. It has been hypothesized that it is a fixed action pattern for which the releasing stimulus is the observation of another yawn, that it is the result of non-conscious mimicry emerging through close links between perception and action or that it is the result of empathy, involving the ability to engage in mental state attribution. This set of experiments sought to distinguish between these hypotheses by examining contagious yawning in a species that is unlikely to show nonconscious mimicry and empathy but does respond to social stimuli: the red-footed tortoise Geochelone carbonaria. A demonstrator tortoise was conditioned to yawn when presented with a red square-shaped stimulus. Observer tortoises were exposed to three conditions: observation of conditioned yawn, non demonstration control, and stimulus only control. We measured the number of yawns for each observer animal in each condition. There was no difference between conditions. Experiment 2 therefore increased the number of conditioned yawns presented. Again, there was no significant difference between conditions. It seemed plausible that the tortoises did not view the conditioned yawn as a real yawn and therefore a final experiment was run using video recorded stimuli. The observer tortoises were presented with three conditions: real yawn, conditioned yawns and empty background. Again there was no significant difference between conditions. We therefore conclude that the red-footed tortoise does not yawn in response to observing a conspecific yawn. This suggests that contagious yawning is not the result of a fixed action pattern but may involve more complex social processes [Current Zoology 57 (4: 477–484, 2011].

  14. Persistence of distinctive morphotypes in the native range of the CITES-listed Aldabra giant tortoise.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turnbull, Lindsay A; Ozgul, Arpat; Accouche, Wilna; Baxter, Rich; ChongSeng, Lindsay; Currie, Jock C; Doak, Naomi; Hansen, Dennis M; Pistorius, Pierre; Richards, Heather; van de Crommenacker, Janske; von Brandis, Rainer; Fleischer-Dogley, Frauke; Bunbury, Nancy

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the extent of morphological variation in the wild population of Aldabra giant tortoises is important for conservation, as morphological variation in captive populations has been interpreted as evidence for lingering genes from extinct tortoise lineages. If true, this could impact reintroduction programmes in the region. The population of giant tortoises on Aldabra Atoll is subdivided and distributed around several islands. Although pronounced morphological variation was recorded in the late 1960s, it was thought to be a temporary phenomenon. Early researchers also raised concerns over the future of the population, which was perceived to have exceeded its carrying capacity. We analyzed monthly monitoring data from 12 transects spanning a recent 15-year period (1998-2012) during which animals from four subpopulations were counted, measured, and sexed. In addition, we analyzed survival data from individuals first tagged during the early 1970s. The population is stable with no sign of significant decline. Subpopulations differ in density, but these differences are mostly due to differences in the prevailing vegetation type. However, subpopulations differ greatly in both the size of animals and the degree of sexual dimorphism. Comparisons with historical data reveal that phenotypic differences among the subpopulations of tortoises on Aldabra have been apparent for the last 50 years with no sign of diminishing. We conclude that the giant tortoise population on Aldabra is subject to varying ecological selection pressures, giving rise to stable morphotypes in discrete subpopulations. We suggest therefore that (1) the presence of morphological differences among captive Aldabra tortoises does not alone provide convincing evidence of genes from other extinct species; and (2) Aldabra serves as an important example of how conservation and management in situ can add to the scientific value of populations and perhaps enable them to better adapt to future

  15. Hierarchical structure and mechanical properties of snake (Naja atra) and turtle (Ocadia sinensis) eggshells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Yin; Chen, Po-Yu

    2016-02-01

    After hundreds of million years of evolution, natural armors have evolved in various organisms, and has manifested in diverse forms such as eggshells, abalone shells, alligator osteoderms, turtle shells, and fish scales. Eggshells serve as multifunctional shields for successful embryogenesis, such as protection, moisture control and thermal regulation. Unlike calcareous avian eggshells which are brittle and hard, reptilians have leathery eggshells that are tough and flexible. Reptilian eggshells can withstand collision damages when laid in holes and dropped onto each other, and reduce abrasion caused by buried sand. In this study, we investigate structure and mechanical properties of eggshells of Taiwan cobra snake (Naja atra) and Chinese striped-neck turtle (Ocadia sinensis). From Acid Fuchsin Orange G (AFOG) staining and ATR-FTIR examination, we found that both eggshells are mainly composed of keratin. The mechanical properties of demineralized snake and turtle eggshells were evaluated by tensile and fracture tests and show distinctly difference. Turtle eggshells are relatively stiff and rigid, while snake eggshells behave as elastomers, which are highly extensible and reversible. The exceptional deformability (110-230% tensile strain) and toughness of snake eggshells are contributed by the wavy and random arrangement of keratin fibers as well as collagen layers. Multi-scale toughening mechanisms of snake eggshells were observed and elucidated, including crack deflection and twisting, fibers reorientation, sliding and bridging, inter-laminar shear effect, as well as the α-β phase transition of keratin. Inspirations from the structural and mechanical designs of reptilian eggshells may lead to the synthesis of tough, extensible, lightweight composites which could be further applied in the flexible devices, packaging and bio-medical fields. Amniotic eggshells serve as multifunctional shields for successful embryogenesis. The avian eggshells have been extensively

  16. North American box turtles: A natural history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dodd, C. Kenneth

    2002-01-01

    Once a familiar backyard visitor in many parts of the United States and Mexico, the box turtle is losing the battle against extinction. In North American Box Turtles, C. Kenneth Dodd, Jr., has written the first book-length natural history of the twelve species and subspecies of this endangered animal. This volume includes comprehensive information on the species’ evolution, behavior, courtship and reproduction, habitat use, diet, population structure, systematics, and disease. Special features include color photos of all species, subspecies, and their habitats; a simple identification guide to both living and fossil species; and a summary of information on fossil Terrapene and Native uses of box turtles. End-of-chapter sections highlight future research directions, including the need for long-term monitoring and observation of box turtles within their natural habitat and conservation applications. A glossary and a bibliography of literature on box turtles accompany the text.

  17. Marine turtle mitogenome phylogenetics and evolution

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Duchene, Sebastián; Frey, Amy; Alfaro-Núñez, Luis Alonso

    2012-01-01

    The sea turtles are a group of cretaceous origin containing seven recognized living species: leatherback, hawksbill, Kemp's ridley, olive ridley, loggerhead, green, and flatback. The leatherback is the single member of the Dermochelidae family, whereas all other sea turtles belong in Cheloniidae...... distributions, shedding light on complex migration patterns and possible geographic or climatic events as driving forces of sea-turtle distribution. We have sequenced complete mitogenomes for all sea-turtle species, including samples from their geographic range extremes, and performed phylogenetic analyses...... to assess sea-turtle evolution with a large molecular dataset. We found variation in the length of the ATP8 gene and a highly variable site in ND4 near a proton translocation channel in the resulting protein. Complete mitogenomes show strong support and resolution for phylogenetic relationships among all...

  18. Modern turtle origins: the oldest known cryptodire.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaffney, E S; Hutchison, J H; Jenkins, F A; Meeker, L J

    1987-07-17

    The discovery of a turtle in the Early Jurassic(185 million years before present) Kayenta Formation of northeastern Arizona provides significant evidence about the origin of modern turtles. This new taxon possesses many of the primitive features expected in the hypothetical common ancestor of pleurodires and cryptodires, the two groups of modern turtles. It is identified as the oldest known cryptodire because of the presence of a distinctive cryptodiran jaw mechanism consisting of a trochlea over the otic chamber that redirects the line of action of the adductor muscle. Aquatic habits appear to have developed very early in turtle evolution. Kayentachelys extends the known record of cryptodires back at least 45 million years and documents a very early stage in the evolution of modern turtles.

  19. Transitional fossils and the origin of turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyson, Tyler R; Bever, Gabe S; Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S; Joyce, Walter G; Gauthier, Jacques A

    2010-12-23

    The origin of turtles is one of the most contentious issues in systematics with three currently viable hypotheses: turtles as the extant sister to (i) the crocodile-bird clade, (ii) the lizard-tuatara clade, or (iii) Diapsida (a clade composed of (i) and (ii)). We reanalysed a recent dataset that allied turtles with the lizard-tuatara clade and found that the inclusion of the stem turtle Proganochelys quenstedti and the 'parareptile' Eunotosaurus africanus results in a single overriding morphological signal, with turtles outside Diapsida. This result reflects the importance of transitional fossils when long branches separate crown clades, and highlights unexplored issues such as the role of topological congruence when using fossils to calibrate molecular clocks.

  20. Thesis Abstract Morphological and phylogeographic analysis of Brazilian tortoises (Testudinidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silva, T L; Venancio, L P R; Bonini-Domingos, C R

    2015-12-29

    The discriminative potentials of biogeography, vocalization, morphology, cytogenetics, hemoglobin, and molecular profiling of cytochrome b as taxonomic techniques for differentiating Brazilian tortoises were evaluated in this study. In Brazil, two species of tortoises are described, Chelonoidis carbonarius and Chelonoidis denticulatus. However, in the present study, some animals that were initially recognized based on morphological characters and coloring did not correspond to the typical pattern of C. carbonarius; these animals were classified as morphotypes 1 and 2. It was proposed that these morphotypes are differentiated species, and they should not be considered as a single taxonomic unit with C. carbonarius. Tortoises analyzed were provided by the National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA); the Emilio Goeldi Museum, PA; municipal zoos in São José do Rio Preto, SP, and Araçatuba, SP; and the Reginaldo Uvo Leone breeding farm for Wild and Exotic Animals, Tabapuã, SP. Based on the data obtained using biogeographic evaluation of specimens in the literature, it was found that C. carbonarius is distributed in the Northeast Region of Brazil, and no animal of this pattern was observed in the investigated collections. On the other hand, C. denticulatus is found in all the states of the Legal Amazonia. In addition, isolated individual records of this species exist in the Atlantic Forest in Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro and in the Midwest Region composed of the states of Goiás, Mato Grosso, and Mato Grosso do Sul. In the Northeast Region, C. denticulatus occurs in the State of Bahia. Morphotype 1 has a wider geographical distribution than C. carbonarius, possibly because of several distribution reports associated with C. carbonarius, indicating erroneous association of morphotype 1 as a single taxonomic unit with C. carbonarius. Morphotype 2 is found only in the states of Pará, Maranhão, and Piauí. These biogeographic data indicate that the

  1. Effects of subsidized predators, resource variability, and human population density on desert tortoise populations in the Mojave Desert, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Drake, K. Kristina; Walde, Andrew D.; Berry, Kristin H.; Averill-Murray, Roy C.; Woodman, A. Peter; Boarman, William I.; Medica, Phil A.; Mack, Jeremy S.; Heaton, Jill S.

    2010-01-01

    Understanding predator–prey relationships can be pivotal in the conservation of species. For 2 decades, desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii populations have declined, yet quantitative evidence regarding the causes of declines is scarce. In 2005, Ft. Irwin National Training Center, California, USA, implemented a translocation project including 2 yr of baseline monitoring of desert tortoises. Unusually high predation on tortoises was observed after translocation occurred. We conducted a retrospective analysis of predation and found that translocation did not affect the probability of predation: translocated, resident, and control tortoises all had similar levels of predation. However, predation rates were higher near human population concentrations, at lower elevation sites, and for smaller tortoises and females. Furthermore, high mortality rates were not limited to the National Training Center. In 2008, elevated mortality (as high as 43%) occurred throughout the listed range of the desert tortoise. Although no temporal prey base data are available for analysis from any of the study sites, we hypothesize that low population levels of typical coyote Canis latrans prey (i.e. jackrabbits Lepus californicus and other small animals) due to drought conditions influenced high predation rates in previous years. Predation may have been exacerbated in areas with high levels of subsidized predators. Many historical reports of increased predation, and our observation of a range-wide pattern, may indicate that high predation rates are more common than generally considered and may impact recovery of the desert tortoise throughout its range.

  2. Husbandry and propagation of the Chinese big-headed turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) at the Wildlife Conservation Society's Prospect Park Zoo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shelmidine, Nichole; Murphy, Brittany; Massarone, Katelyn

    2016-01-01

    Turtles worldwide are facing increasing pressures on their wild populations and many are listed as endangered or critically endangered. Chinese big-headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum) are currently listed on IUCN's Red List as endangered and on Cites Appendix II. As part of the Wildlife Conservation Society's initiative on turtle and tortoise conservation, this species became a focus for propagation at Prospect Park Zoo (PPZ) in 2008. PPZ successfully bred and obtained eggs, with successful hatchings in 2013 and 2014. The staff fluctuated water and ambient temperatures along with photoperiod in order to simulate seasonal changes. Each May, the female was placed in the male's enclosure daily for at least 15 min for breeding. Once two confirmed copulations were observed, breeding introductions were discontinued. The female laid her eggs in July and August, and clutch sizes ranged from 5 to 6 eggs. Eggs were successfully incubated in a RCOM Juragon reptile incubator at 23.3°C with 90-95% humidity. The eggs hatched after an average incubation period of 102 days (98-105 days, n = 9). Hatchlings had a mean body mass of 8.84 g (8.11-10 g) and average carapace length × width of 36.17 × 32.20 mm. This article aims to share the team's experiences working with this species as well as build upon previous publications and successes. Our hope is that with continued efforts to increase our knowledgebase a future viable, sustainable North American captive population will become a reality for this species. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  3. Heavy metal residues in tissues of marine turtles

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Storelli, M.M.; Marcotrigiano, G.O.

    2003-01-01

    Heavy metal concentrations in the tissues of marine turtles are presented. The most frequently monitored elements are mercury, cadmium and lead; and the tissues mainly analysed in nearly all the stranded individuals are muscle, liver and kidney. The highest mercury and cadmium levels were found in liver and kidney respectively; the majority of the lead burden existed in bones and carapace, while arsenic was present mainly in muscle tissue. Mercury occurred quite completely as methylmercury in muscle, whereas in liver the main form was the inorganic one. Arsenic was exclusively present in the metallorganic form either in muscle tissue or in liver. Metals in the eggs were mainly present in the yolk. Significantly higher concentration of mercury, copper, zinc and iron were found in yolk than albumen, while shell contained highest levels of manganese and copper. The load of trace metals in these animals strictly correlated with the species seems to depend on their different food behaviour

  4. Heavy metal residues in tissues of marine turtles

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Storelli, M.M.; Marcotrigiano, G.O

    2003-04-01

    Heavy metal concentrations in the tissues of marine turtles are presented. The most frequently monitored elements are mercury, cadmium and lead; and the tissues mainly analysed in nearly all the stranded individuals are muscle, liver and kidney. The highest mercury and cadmium levels were found in liver and kidney respectively; the majority of the lead burden existed in bones and carapace, while arsenic was present mainly in muscle tissue. Mercury occurred quite completely as methylmercury in muscle, whereas in liver the main form was the inorganic one. Arsenic was exclusively present in the metallorganic form either in muscle tissue or in liver. Metals in the eggs were mainly present in the yolk. Significantly higher concentration of mercury, copper, zinc and iron were found in yolk than albumen, while shell contained highest levels of manganese and copper. The load of trace metals in these animals strictly correlated with the species seems to depend on their different food behaviour.

  5. Host-specific phenotypic plasticity of the turtle barnacle Chelonibia testudinaria: a widespread generalist rather than a specialist.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chi Chiu Cheang

    Full Text Available Turtle barnacles are common epibionts on marine organisms. Chelonibia testudinaria is specific on marine turtles whereas C. patula is a host generalist, but rarely found on turtles. It has been questioned why C. patula, being abundant on a variety of live substrata, is almost absent from turtles. We evaluated the genetic (mitochondrial COI, 16S and 12S rRNA, and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP and morphological differentiation of C. testudinaia and C. patula from different hosts, to determine the mode of adaptation exhibited by Chelonibia species on different hosts. The two taxa demonstrate clear differences in shell morphology and length of 4-6(th cirri, but very similar in arthropodal characters. Moreover, we detected no genetic differentiation in mitochondrial DNA and AFLP analyses. Outlier detection infers insignificant selection across loci investigated. Based on combined morphological and molecular evidence, we proposed that C. testudinaria and C. patula are conspecific, and the two morphs with contrasting shell morphologies and cirral length found on different host are predominantly shaped by developmental plasticity in response to environmental setting on different hosts. Chelonibia testudinaria is, thus, a successful general epibiotic fouler and the phenotypic responses postulated can increase the fitness of the animals when they attach on hosts with contrasting life-styles.

  6. Modeling population response to anthropogenic threats for a long-lived reptile, the desert tortoise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Background/Question/Methods The decline in desert tortoise population densities and abundances since the 1970s has been attributed to numerous threats, leading scientists, land managers, and conservationists to describe the plight of the species as a “death by a thousand cuts.” ...

  7. Individual, local and subspecific variation in female Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni) reproductive characters

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Longepierre, S.; Grenot, C.; Hailey, A.

    2003-01-01

    We studied reproductive characters of a population of the tortoise Testudo h. hermanni in the Plaine des Maures (Var), and compared these to another population in southern France and to T. h. boettgeri in Greece. Clutch characters, which are measures of total reproductive investment, showed no

  8. On the Regge-Wheeler Tortoise and the Kruskal-Szekeres Coordinates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Crothers S. J.

    2006-07-01

    Full Text Available The Regge-Wheeler tortoise “coordinate” and the the Kruskal-Szekeres “extension” are built upon a latent set of invalid assumptions. Consequently, they have led to fallacious conclusions about Einstein’s gravitational field. The persistent unjustified claims made for the aforesaid alleged coordinates are not sustained by mathematical rigour. They must therefore be discarded.

  9. If Animals Could Talk: Bald Eagle, Bear, Florida Panther, Gopher Tortoise, Indigo Snake, Manatee, Otter, Raccoon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinellas County District School Board, Clearwater, FL.

    In this series of booklets, eight Florida animals describe their appearance, habitats, food, behavior, and relationships with humans. Each entry is written for elementary students from the animal's point of view and includes a bibliography. Contained are the life stories of the bald eagle, black bear, Florida panther, gopher tortoise, Eastern…

  10. Illegal trade of tortoises (Testudinata) in Colombia: A network analysis approach

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Arroyave Bermudez, Felber Jair; Romero Goyeneche, Oscar Yandy; Bonilla Gomez, Maria Argenis; Hurtado Heredia, Rafael German

    2014-01-01

    The use of wildlife is important for supporting the economic and demographic growth in emerging countries. Nevertheless, the products of wildlife usually come from illegal trade to supply fur, wild meat and pet markets. Illegal trade puts great pressure over wild populations and threats some endangered species. In Colombia, the trade of wildlife is important because of the volumes traded and the cultural and economic connotation of some products. We describe the spatial structure of illegal trade of wildlife at departmental level for the five most traded genera of Colombian tortoises (Trachemys, Chelonoidis, Kinosternon, Podocnemis and Rhinoclemmys). This study is based on the reports of seizures between 2005 and 2009 compiled by the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo of Colombia. We apply network analysis to study and evidence that the illegal trade network of tortoises includes international markets and supplies the Andean region. The Caribbean, Pacific and Orinoquia regions are the principal suppliers. Quindio, Santander, Antioquia and Putumayo are the biggest jobbers and consumers of wild tortoises. We propose sociocultural and cohercitive actions to fragment the trade network and their illegal market as well as promoting the conservation and sustainable use of tortoises.

  11. Daily energy expenditure in free-ranging Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jodice, PGR; Epperson, DM; Visser, GH

    2006-01-01

    Studies of ecological energetics in chelonians are rare. Here, we report the first measurements of daily energy expenditure (DEE) and water influx rates (WIRS) in free-ranging adult Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus). We used the doubly labeled water (DLW) method to measure DEE in six adult

  12. Handbook on Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus): Health Evaluation Procedures for Use by Land Managers and Researchers

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-01-01

    H12 Swollen forelimb (a) and hind limb (b)....................................................................................58 H13 Predator...tortoises have been impacted by incidental take permits issued to developers in the past 14 years (J. Berish, pers. comm.). The inherent impacts of...respect to the potential infectious diseases present within wild populations, the impact of disease status on relocation or reproduction of species

  13. A note on scavenging behaviour of adult Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nikolić, M.

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Report of the first observation of scavenging behaviour in the population of Testudo hermanni boettgeri that has been monitored for six years in the village Kunovica near the city of Niš in Serbia. On 31 May 2015 at 10:18 a.m., the adult tortoise was observed while eating a dead European green lizard (Lacerta viridis.

  14. Diet of desert tortoises at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and implications for habitat reclamation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rakestraw, D.L.; Holt, E.A.; Rautenstrauch, K.R.

    1995-12-01

    The diet of desert tortoises at Yucca Mountain was assessed during 1992 to 1995 using a combination of feeding observations and scat analysis. Feeding observation data (1993 through 1995) showed that tortoises fed on a wide variety of items. The most frequently eaten items were forbs and annual grasses. These two forage groups comprised more than 90% of all bites taken. Analysis of scat (1992 and 1993) also showed that grasses and forbs were the most common groups, making up more than 80% of the composition of scat. Yearly differences between proportions of species in the diet were observed and were most likely attributable to differences in plant productivity, which is linked to rainfall patterns. Non-native species were an important component of the diet in all years, accounting for 13 to 50% of all bites observed and 6 to 24% of scat contents. A list of all items encountered in the diet is provided. To facilitate reclamation of desert tortoise habitat disturbed by the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project, native forage species that should be included in reclamation seed mixes, when feasible, were identified. Although shrubs make up only a small proportion of the diet, they should also be included in reclamation efforts because they provide habitat structure. Tortoise cover sites, and microhabitats amenable to seed germination and seedling establishment. In addition, non-native species should not be planted on reclaimed sites and, if necessary, sites should be recontoured and soil compaction reduced prior to planting

  15. Hematologic and plasma biochemical changes associated with fenbendazole administration in Hermann's tortoises (testudo hermanni).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neiffer, Donald L; Lydick, Dianna; Burks, Kyle; Doherty, Donna

    2005-12-01

    Toxicosis associated with benzimidazole anthelmintics has been reported with increasing frequency in zoologic collections. Clinical signs, clinicopathologic abnormalities, and gross and histologic lesions are primarily the result of damage to the gastrointestinal and hematopoietic systems. Profound leukopenia, especially granulocytopenia, is the most common and severe clinicopathologic change associated with benzimidazole administration. Death usually occurs from overwhelming systemic bacterial and/or fungal infections secondary to severe immunosuppression. In this 125-day study, six male Hermann's tortoises (Testudo hermanni) were treated orally with two 5-day courses of fenbendazole 2 wk apart at a dosage of 50 mg/kg. Serial blood samples were used to assess hematologic and plasma biochemical changes before, during, and following the treatment period. Although the tortoises remained healthy, blood sampling indicated an extended heteropenia with transient hypoglycemia, hyperuricemia, hyperphosphatemia, and equivocal hyperproteinemia/hyperglobulinemia, which were considered to be in response to fenbendazole administration. Changes in several other clinicopathologic parameters appeared to correlate with fenbendazole administration. The hematologic and biochemical changes seen in the healthy animals in this study should be considered when treating compromised tortoises with fenbendazole. Hematologic and plasma biochemical status of tortoises/reptiles should be determined before treatment and monitored during the treatment period. The risk of mortality of an individual from nematode infection should be assessed relative to the potential for metabolic alteration and secondary septicemia following damage to hematopoietic and gastrointestinal systems by fenbendazole.

  16. Contribution to the knowledge of spatial movements of adult Hermann’s tortoises

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stojadinović Dragana M.

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available We recorded the movements of adult Eastern Hermann’s tortoises (Testudo hermanni boettgeri in a local population situated in a complex forested habitat system. The average total movement range size (TMRS calculated over three consecutive years was 4.56 ha and 7.53 ha for males and females, respectively. The largest estimated TMRS of male and female tortoises was 27 ha and 90 ha, respectively. Six females and three males (or 9% and 4%, respectively, of the overall sample had a movement range size (MRS greater than 10 ha. Significant differences between male and female MRS were not detected. Body size had no influence on the MRS of individuals in the sample, except on the core movement range size (CMRS in males. Although the collected data did not enable calculation of the home range in the studied population, the results indicate that the calculated average TMRS of local Hermann tortoises is larger than the average home range in some other populations. Therefore, in the absence of information on the home range size of local adult tortoises, the MRS could be a suitable alternative for planning local species reserves. [Project of the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Grant no. 173025

  17. Nest site characteristics, nesting movements, and lack of long-term nest site fidelity in Agassiz's desert tortoises at a wind energy facility in southern California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Agha, Mickey; Yackulic, Charles B.; Meyer-Wilkins, Kathie; Bjurlin, Curtis; Ennen, Joshua R.; Arundel, Terry R.; Austin, Meaghan

    2014-01-01

    Nest site selection has important consequences for maternal and offspring survival and fitness. Females of some species return to the same nesting areas year after year. We studied nest site characteristics, fidelity, and daily pre-nesting movements in a population of Agassiz’s desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) at a wind energy facility in southern California during two field seasons separated by over a decade. No females returned to the same exact nest site within or between years but several nested in the same general area. However, distances between first and second clutches within a year (2000) were not significantly different from distances between nests among years (2000 and 2011) for a small sample of females, suggesting some degree of fidelity within their normal activity areas. Environmental attributes of nest sites did not differ significantly among females but did among years due largely to changes in perennial plant structure as a result of multiple fires. Daily pre-nesting distances moved by females decreased consistently from the time shelled eggs were first visible in X-radiographs until oviposition, again suggesting some degree of nest site selection. Tortoises appear to select nest sites that are within their long-term activity areas, inside the climate-moderated confines of one of their self-constructed burrows, and specifically, at a depth in the burrow that minimizes exposure of eggs and embryos to lethal incubation temperatures. Nesting in “climate-controlled” burrows and nest guarding by females relaxes some of the constraints that drive nest site selection in other oviparous species.

  18. Phylogeography, Genetic Diversity, and Management Units of Hawksbill Turtles in the Indo-Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vargas, Sarah M; Jensen, Michael P; Ho, Simon Y W; Mobaraki, Asghar; Broderick, Damien; Mortimer, Jeanne A; Whiting, Scott D; Miller, Jeff; Prince, Robert I T; Bell, Ian P; Hoenner, Xavier; Limpus, Colin J; Santos, Fabrício R; FitzSimmons, Nancy N

    2016-05-01

    Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) populations have experienced global decline because of a history of intense commercial exploitation for shell and stuffed taxidermied whole animals, and harvest for eggs and meat. Improved understanding of genetic diversity and phylogeography is needed to aid conservation. In this study, we analyzed the most geographically comprehensive sample of hawksbill turtles from the Indo-Pacific Ocean, sequencing 766 bp of the mitochondrial control region from 13 locations (plus Aldabra, n = 4) spanning over 13500 km. Our analysis of 492 samples revealed 52 haplotypes distributed in 5 divergent clades. Diversification times differed between the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic lineages and appear to be related to the sea-level changes that occurred during the Last Glacial Maximum. We found signals of demographic expansion only for turtles from the Persian Gulf region, which can be tied to a more recent colonization event. Our analyses revealed evidence of transoceanic migration, including connections between feeding grounds from the Atlantic Ocean and Indo-Pacific rookeries. Hawksbill turtles appear to have a complex pattern of phylogeography, showing a weak isolation by distance and evidence of multiple colonization events. Our novel dataset will allow mixed-stock analyses of hawksbill turtle feeding grounds in the Indo-Pacific by providing baseline data needed for conservation efforts in the region. Eight management units are proposed in our study for the Indo-Pacific region that can be incorporated in conservation plans of this critically endangered species. © The American Genetic Association. 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  19. Metals in Blood and Eggs of Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) from Nesting Colonies of the Northern Coast of the Sea of Oman.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sinaei, Mahmood; Bolouki, Mehdi

    2017-11-01

    The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) has been a species of global concern for decades. In this study, heavy metals (mercury: Hg; Cadmium: Cd; Lead: Pb; Copper: Cu; and Zinc: Zn) were measured in blood and three egg fraction of green sea turtles nesting on the northern coast of Sea of Oman. Heavy metals concentrations in blood, yolk, albumen, and egg shell ranged between 0.16-36.78, 0.006-33.88, 0.003-4.02, and 0.002-6.85 μg/g (ww), respectively. According to the results, all heavy metals found in blood samples (n = 12) also were detected in the various parts of the eggs (n = 48). Moreover, there were no significant differences between concentrations of heavy metals in different clutches laid in a nesting season. However, Pb concentrations in blood samples significantly increased in later clutches (p Oman. Results of this study suggest that heavy metals could be one of the factors influencing reductions in fertilization and hatching success. Results also indicate that green sea turtle on the northern coast of Sea of Oman have high capacity in rapid response and detoxification of heavy metals and/or from the low exposure levels of these turtles to the heavy metals. Further research is required concerning the effects of heavy metals on green sea turtles, especially on their possible influence of fetal development of turtles.

  20. From continental priorities to local conservation: a multi-level analysis for African tortoises.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pierluigi Bombi

    Full Text Available Terrestrial tortoises are the most endangered group of vertebrates but they are still largely ignored for defining global conservation priorities. In this paper, we explored within a hierarchical framework the potential contribution of prioritization studies at the continental scale to the planning of local initiatives for the conservation of African tortoises at the regional level. First, we modeled the distribution of all the African tortoise species, we calculated three indicators of conservation priority (i.e., species richness, conservation value, and complementarity, and we carried out a gap analysis at continental scale. Second, we focused on the most important region for tortoise conservation and performed the same analyses at higher resolution. Finally, we compared the results from the two scales for understanding the degree to which they are complementary. Southern Africa emerged from the continental analysis as the most important region for tortoises. Within this area, the high-resolution analysis pointed out specific core sites for conservation. The relative degree of species protection was assessed similarly at the two different resolutions. Two species appeared particularly vulnerable at both scales. Priority indices calculated at high resolution were correlated to the values calculated for the corresponding cells at low resolution but the congruence was stronger for species richness. Our results suggest to integrate the calculation of conservation value and complementarity into a hierarchical framework driven by species richness. The advantages of large scale planning include its broad perspective on complementarity and the capability to identify regions with greatest conservation potential. In this light, continental analyses allow targeting fine scale studies toward regions with maximum priority. The regional analyses at fine scale allow planning conservation measure at a resolution similar to that required for the practical

  1. Evidence for a new species of Cryptosporidium infecting tortoises: Cryptosporidium ducismarci

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Traversa Donato

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Cryptosporidiosis affects the gastrointestinal and respiratory tract of humans as well as of a wide range of companion, farm, laboratory and wild animals. In the past few years, three independent studies have provided strong evidence for the existence of a distinct Cryptosporidium species affecting tortoises and likely circulating in other reptile species as well. A new Cryptosporidium genotype was firstly detected and genetically characterized in a marginated tortoise in Italy in 2007 and named Cryptosporidium sp. ex Testudo marginata CrIT-20. The phylogenetic analysis of this isolate indicated that this Cryptosporidium was unique and belonged to the intestinal clade. These findings were later on confirmed by the detection of genetic homologies of isolates from a python and a chameleon from Spain and by recent research in the United States. The latter study presented both the occurrence of intestinal lesions in a pancake tortoise and a Russian tortoise and the genetic characterization of the isolates, together with the first pictures of the endogenous stages of Cryptosporidium CrIT-20. Phylogenetic inference based on the sequences representing small subunit of the nuclear ribosomal RNA gene (SSU of these isolates confirmed the pathological findings because this Cryptosporidium was related to the intestinal group and supported previous results in T. marginata from Italy. The present scientific data on the Cryptosporidium CrIT-20 support its classification as a new species of Cryptosporidium causing intestinal diseases in tortoises. Although further morphological (i.e. exogenous stages and biological aspects (i.e. complete host range are yet to be elucidated, it is proposed that this Cryptosporidium is designated Cryptosporidium ducismarci.

  2. Shell supports

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Almegaard, Henrik

    2004-01-01

    A new statical and conceptual model for membrane shell structures - the stringer system - has been found. The principle was first published at the IASS conference in Copenhagen (OHL91), and later the theory has been further developed (ALMO3)(ALMO4). From the analysis of the stringer model it can...... be concluded that all membrane shells can be described by a limited number of basic configurations of which quite a few have free edges....

  3. Hemolivia mauritanica (Haemogregarinidae: Apicomplexa infection in the tortoise Testudo graeca in the Near East with data on sporogonous development in the tick vector Hyalomna aegyptium

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paperna I.

    2006-12-01

    Full Text Available Testudo graeca tortoises were collected in the northern and southern Golan Heights (Israeli occupied territory of south Syria, and various locations in Israel and Palestine. Hyalomma aegyptium ticks were found only on Golan Height tortoises, and only the tortoises and ticks from the northern Golan Heights were infected with Hemolivia mauritanica. Tortoises became infected after ingesting infected ticks. Male ticks carrying sporocysts, which remain attached to tortoises for extended durations, apparently served as the source for dissemination of new infections among tortoises. Sporogenesis followed the pattern observed in the two other known species of Hemolivia, though there was some evident variation in fine-structural detail. The sutural slit detected in the H. mauritanica mature sporocyst wall was reminiscent of the suture characteristic of Coccidia of heterothermic vertebrate hosts; it could be a common ancestral character for both hemogregarines and Coccidia.

  4. Pasteurella testudinis associated with respiratory disease and septicaemia in leopard (Geochelone pardalis and other tortoises in South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M.M. Henton

    2003-07-01

    Full Text Available The first recorded isolates of Pasteurella testudinis from South African tortoises kept in captivity is presented. P. testudinis was found in association with respiratory disease in affected animals.

  5. Calcium transport in turtle bladder

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sabatini, S.; Kurtzman, N.A.

    1987-01-01

    Unidirectional 45 Ca fluxes were measured in the turtle bladder under open-circuit and short-circuit conditions. In the open-circuited state net calcium flux (J net Ca ) was secretory (serosa to mucosa). Ouabain reversed J net Ca to an absorptive flux. Amiloride reduced both fluxes such that J net Ca was not significantly different from zero. Removal of mucosal sodium caused net calcium absorption; removal of serosal sodium caused calcium secretion. When bladders were short circuited, J net Ca decreased to approximately one-third of control value but remained secretory. When ouabain was added under short-circuit conditions, J net Ca was similar in magnitude and direction to ouabain under open-circuited conditions (i.e., absorptive). Tissue 45 Ca content was ≅30-fold lower when the isotope was placed in the mucosal bath, suggesting that the apical membrane is the resistance barrier to calcium transport. The results obtained in this study are best explained by postulating a Ca 2+ -ATPase on the serosa of the turtle bladder epithelium and a sodium-calcium antiporter on the mucosa. In this model, the energy for calcium movement would be supplied, in large part, by the Na + -K + -ATPase. By increasing cell sodium, ouabain would decrease the activity of the mucosal sodium-calcium exchanger (or reverse it), uncovering active calcium transport across the serosa

  6. Biogeography of Parasitic Nematode Communities in the Galápagos Giant Tortoise: Implications for Conservation Management.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guillaume Fournié

    Full Text Available The Galápagos giant tortoise is an icon of the unique, endemic biodiversity of Galápagos, but little is known of its parasitic fauna. We assessed the diversity of parasitic nematode communities and their spatial distributions within four wild tortoise populations comprising three species across three Galápagos islands, and consider their implication for Galápagos tortoise conservation programmes. Coprological examinations revealed nematode eggs to be common, with more than 80% of tortoises infected within each wild population. Faecal samples from tortoises within captive breeding centres on Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristobal islands also were examined. Five different nematode egg types were identified: oxyuroid, ascarid, trichurid and two types of strongyle. Sequencing of the 18S small-subunit ribosomal RNA gene from adult nematodes passed with faeces identified novel sequences indicative of rhabditid and ascaridid species. In the wild, the composition of nematode communities varied according to tortoise species, which co-varied with island, but nematode diversity and abundance were reduced or altered in captive-reared animals. Evolutionary and ecological factors are likely responsible for the variation in nematode distributions in the wild. This possible species/island-parasite co-evolution has not been considered previously for Galápagos tortoises. We recommend that conservation efforts, such as the current Galápagos tortoise captive breeding/rearing and release programme, be managed with respect to parasite biogeography and host-parasite co-evolutionary processes in addition to the biogeography of the host.

  7. Inferring social structure and its drivers from refuge use in the desert tortoise, a relatively solitary species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sah, Pratha; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Esque, Todd C.; Aiello, Christina M.; Hudson, Peter J.; Bansal, Shweta

    2016-01-01

    For several species, refuges (such as burrows, dens, roosts, nests) are an essential resource for protection from predators and extreme environmental conditions. Refuges also serve as focal sites for social interactions, including mating, courtship, and aggression. Knowledge of refuge use patterns can therefore provide information about social structure, mating, and foraging success, as well as the robustness and health of wildlife populations, especially for species considered to be relatively solitary. In this study, we construct networks of burrow use to infer social associations in a threatened wildlife species typically considered solitary—the desert tortoise. We show that tortoise social networks are significantly different than null networks of random associations, and have moderate spatial constraints. We next use statistical models to identify major mechanisms behind individual-level variation in tortoise burrow use, popularity of burrows in desert tortoise habitat, and test for stressor-driven changes in refuge use patterns. We show that seasonal variation has a strong impact on tortoise burrow switching behavior. On the other hand, burrow age and topographical condition influence the number of tortoises visiting a burrow in desert tortoise habitat. Of three major population stressors affecting this species (translocation, drought, disease), translocation alters tortoise burrow switching behavior, with translocated animals visiting fewer unique burrows than residents. In a species that is not social, our study highlights the importance of leveraging refuge use behavior to study the presence of and mechanisms behind non-random social structure and individual-level variation. Our analysis of the impact of stressors on refuge-based social structure further emphasizes the potential of this method to detect environmental or anthropogenic disturbances.

  8. Green sea turtle age, growth, population characteristics

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Morphology, sex ratio, body condition, disease status, age structure, and growth patterns were characterized for 448 green sea turtles cold stunned in St. Joseph...

  9. Adult loggerhead turtle size, age, stage duration

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This study involves analysis of skeletal growth marks in humerus bones of 313 loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) stranded dead along the Atlantic US coast...

  10. Leatherback sea turtle age and growth

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This study involves analysis of skeletal growth marks in scleral ossicle bones of 33 leatherback sea turtles stranded dead along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico US...

  11. PIR Marine Turtle Ocean Captures & Observations

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Effective management of marine turtle data is essential to maximize their research value and enable timely population assessments and recovery monitoring. To provide...

  12. Turtle Hearing Capability Based on ABR Signal assessment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raja Bidin Raja Hassan

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Sea turtles have existed for millions of years. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN has reported that the Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata is classified as critically endangered. Turtle excluder device (TED deployment on shrimpnet fisheries is needed for turtle conservation.TED using sound technique is challenge method in fisheries development.The knowledge on turtle hearing capability is limited. The auditory brainstem response (ABR assessment is method to determine turtle hearing capability. Turtle hearing assessment is basis to design TED. The objective of this paper is to determine turtle hearing cability by analyze its ABR spectral.The subject is Hawksbill turtle with number 2 turtles ie: 3 and 2 years. The measurement was taken at Pusat Pengurusan Penyu (Turtle Management Centre Padang Kemunting Masjid Tanah Melaka Malaysia. The results shows that turtle 3 years have peak power frequencies 50.78, 101.6, 152.3, 304.7, 355.5, 457, and 507.8Hz respectively whereas the spectral amplitude is ranging 0.03-32.44% spectral. Turtle 2 years has peak power at 457Hz in whole stimulus frequencies while the spectral amplitude is ranging 0.01-2.5% spectral.

  13. Endangered species: where leatherback turtles meet fisheries.

    OpenAIRE

    Ferraroli , S.; Georges , J.-Y.; Gaspar , P.; Le Maho , Y.

    2004-01-01

    International audience; The dramatic worldwide decline in populations of the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is largely due to the high mortality associated with their interaction with fisheries, so a reduction of this overlap is critical to their survival. The discovery of narrow migration corridors used by the leatherbacks in the Pacific Ocean raised the possibility of protecting the turtles by restricting fishing in these key areas. Here we use satellite tracking to show that the...

  14. Molecular methods to detect Mycoplasma spp. And Testudinid herpesvirus 2 in desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) and implications for disease management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braun, Josephine; Schrenzel, Mark; Witte, Carmel; Gokool, Larisa; Burchell, Jennifer; Rideout, Bruce A

    2014-10-01

    Abstract Mycoplasmas are an important cause of upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) in desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) and have been a main focus in attempts to mitigate disease-based population declines. Infection risk can vary with an animal's population of origin, making screening tests popular tools for determining infection status in individuals and populations. To provide additional methods for investigating URTD we developed quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays specific for agents causing clinical signs of URTD: Mycoplasma agassizii, Mycoplasma testudineum, and Testudinid herpesvirus 2 (TeHV2) and tested necropsied desert tortoises housed at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, as well as wild desert tortoises (n=3), during 2010. Findings were compared with M. agassizii enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) data. Based on qPCR, the prevalence of M. agassizii was 75% (33/44) and the prevalence of TeHV2 was 48% (20/42) in the evaluated population. Both agents were also present in the wild tortoises. Mycoplasma testudineum was not detected. The M. agassizii ELISA and qPCR results did not always agree. More tortoises were positive for M. agassizii by nasal mucosa testing than by nasal flush. Our findings suggest that mycoplasmas are not the only agents of concern and that a single M. agassizii ELISA or nasal flush qPCR alone failed to identify all potentially infected animals in a population. Caution should be exercised in using these tests for disposition decisions.

  15. Sea Turtle Conservation on Bonaire. Sea Turtle Club Bonaire 1995 Project Report and Long Term Proposal

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Valkering, N.P.; Nugteren, Van P.; Eijck, Van T.J.W.

    1996-01-01

    Bonaire (12°12’N, 68°77’W), Netherlands Antilles, is famous for its unspoiled coral reefs. Reefs and lush sea grass provide forage and refuge for two species of endangered sea turtle, the green turtle ( Chelonia mydas) and the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata). Loggerhead ( Caretta caretta ) and

  16. Emydid herpesvirus 1 infection in northern map turtles (Graptemys geographica) and painted turtles (Chrysemys picta).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ossiboff, Robert J; Newton, Alisa L; Seimon, Tracie A; Moore, Robert P; McAloose, Denise

    2015-05-01

    A captive, juvenile, female northern map turtle (Graptemys geographica) was found dead following a brief period of weakness and nasal discharge. Postmortem examination identified pneumonia with necrosis and numerous epithelial, intranuclear viral inclusion bodies, consistent with herpesviral pneumonia. Similar intranuclear inclusions were also associated with foci of hepatocellular and splenic necrosis. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screening of fresh, frozen liver for the herpesviral DNA-dependent DNA polymerase gene yielded an amplicon with 99.2% similarity to recently described emydid herpesvirus 1 (EmyHV-1). Molecular screening of turtles housed in enclosures that shared a common circulation system with the affected map turtle identified 4 asymptomatic, EmyHV-1 PCR-positive painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) and 1 asymptomatic northern map turtle. Herpesvirus transmission between painted and map turtles has been previously suggested, and our report provides the molecular characterization of a herpesvirus in asymptomatic painted turtles that can cause fatal herpesvirus-associated disease in northern map turtles. © 2015 The Author(s).

  17. The western pond turtle: Habitat and history. Final report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Holland, D.C.

    1994-08-01

    The western pond turtle is known from many areas of Oregon. The majority of sightings and other records occur in the major drainages of the Klamath, Rogue, Umpqua, Willamette and Columbia River systems. A brief overview is presented of the evolution of the Willamette-Puget Sound hydrographic basin. A synopsis is also presented of the natural history of the western pond turtle, as well as, the status of this turtle in the Willamette drainage basin. The reproductive ecology and molecular genetics of the western pond turtle are discussed. Aquatic movements and overwintering of the western pond turtle are evaluated. The effect of introduced turtle species on the status of the western pond turtle was investigated in a central California Pond. Experiments were performed to determine if this turtle could be translocated as a mitigation strategy

  18. The amino acid sequence of snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) ribonuclease

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Beintema, Jacob; Broos, Jaap; Meulenberg, Janneke; Schüller, Cornelis

    1985-01-01

    Snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) ribonuclease was isolated from pancreatic tissue. Turtle ribonuclease binds much more weakly to the affinity chromatography matrix used than mammalian ribonucleases. The amino acid sequence was determined from overlapping peptides obtained from three different

  19. Assessment of MEGA BORG impacts on sea turtles

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gitschlag, G.

    1993-01-01

    Studies were conducted to assess the impacts of the MEGA BORG oil spill on sea turtles in the path of the oil plume. Aerial surveys were performed to determine the presence of turtles and provide a gross visual assessment of potential impacts. Although extensive efforts were made to capture sea turtles around oil and gas platforms only one loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta, was captured. Neither external visual inspection nor laboratory fecal analysis showed evidence of petroleum contamination

  20. Epibiotic Diatoms Are Universally Present on All Sea Turtle Species

    OpenAIRE

    Robinson, Nathan J.; Majewska, Roksana; Lazo-Wasem, Eric A.; Nel, Ronel; Paladino, Frank V.; Rojas, Lourdes; Zardus, John D.; Pinou, Theodora

    2016-01-01

    The macro-epibiotic communities of sea turtles have been subject to growing interest in recent years, yet their micro-epibiotic counterparts are almost entirely unknown. Here, we provide the first evidence that diatoms are epibionts for all seven extant species of sea turtle. Using Scanning Electron Microscopy, we inspected superficial carapace or skin samples from a single representative of each turtle species. We distinguished 18 diatom taxa from these seven individuals, with each sea turtl...

  1. Reptilian prey of the sonora mud turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense) with comments on saurophagy and ophiophagy in North American Turtles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, J.; Drost, C.; Monatesti, A.J.; Casper, D.; Wood, D.A.; Girard, M.

    2010-01-01

    We detected evidence of predation by the Sonora mud turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense) on the Arizona alligator lizard (Elgaria kingii nobilis) and the ground snake (Sonora semiannulata) at Montezuma Well, Yavapai County, Arizona. Lizards have not been reported in the diet of K. sonoriense, and saurophagy is rare in turtles of the United States, having been reported previously in only two other species:, the false map turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica) and the eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina). While the diet of K. sonoriense includes snakes, ours is the first record of S. semiannulata as food of this turtle. Ophiophagy also is rare in turtles of the United States with records for only five other species of turtles. Given the opportunistic diets of many North American turtles, including K. sonoriense, the scarcity of published records of saurophagy and ophiophagy likely represents a shortage of observations, not rarity of occurrence.

  2. Application of thin-plate spline transformations to finite element models, or, how to turn a bog turtle into a spotted turtle to analyze both.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stayton, C Tristan

    2009-05-01

    Finite element (FE) models are popular tools that allow biologists to analyze the biomechanical behavior of complex anatomical structures. However, the expense and time required to create models from specimens has prevented comparative studies from involving large numbers of species. A new method is presented for transforming existing FE models using geometric morphometric methods. Homologous landmark coordinates are digitized on the FE model and on a target specimen into which the FE model is being transformed. These coordinates are used to create a thin-plate spline function and coefficients, which are then applied to every node in the FE model. This function smoothly interpolates the location of points between landmarks, transforming the geometry of the original model to match the target. This new FE model is then used as input in FE analyses. This procedure is demonstrated with turtle shells: a Glyptemys muhlenbergii model is transformed into Clemmys guttata and Actinemys marmorata models. Models are loaded and the resulting stresses are compared. The validity of the models is tested by crushing actual turtle shells in a materials testing machine and comparing those results to predictions from FE models. General guidelines, cautions, and possibilities for this procedure are also presented.

  3. Decline of the Sea Turtles: Causes and Prevention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    National Academy of Sciences - National Research Council, Washington, DC. Commission on Life Sciences.

    A report submitted by the Committee on Sea Turtle Conservation, addresses threats to the world's sea turtle populations to fulfill a mandate of the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 1988. It presents information on the populations, biology, ecology, and behavior of five endangered or threatened turtle species: the Kemp's ridley, loggerhead,…

  4. Turtle bycatch in the pelagic longline fishery off southern Africa ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Capture by pelagic longline fisheries has been identified as a key threat to turtle populations. This study is the first assessment of turtle bycatch in the South African pelagic longline fishery for tunas Thunnus spp. and swordfish Xiphias gladius. A total of 181 turtles was caught on observed sets between 1998 and 2005, at a ...

  5. 77 FR 27411 - Sea Turtle Conservation; Shrimp Trawling Requirements

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-05-10

    ... imbricata) turtles are listed as endangered. The loggerhead (Caretta caretta; Northwest Atlantic distinct... populations of green turtles in Florida and on the Pacific coast of Mexico, which are listed as endangered... regulations (50 CFR 223.206) are followed. The same conservation measures also apply to endangered sea turtles...

  6. Morphological study of the plastron of the African sideneck turtle ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The morphological analysis of the plastron of the African sideneck turtle (Pelusios castaneus) was carried out using fifty adult turtles comprising twenty female and thirty male turtles picked up at different times from various river banks in Ibadan, Nigeria. The aim of the study was to provide baseline information that could be ...

  7. Demography and conservation of an isolated Spur-thighed tortoise Testudo graeca population in Dobrogea (Romania

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gabriel Buică

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Spur-thighed tortoise is a vulnerable species. The local declines of populations led to an imperative need for conservation. Testudo graeca reaches its northern range limit in Dobrogea region, Romania. We studied a population from this region, which occupies an enclosed area of 32 ha within Histria Archaeological Complex. Based on a capture-mark-recapture study we estimated the population size of 221 ± 12.2 individuals. The observed density was 5.1 individuals/ha. The predicted population size suggests a relatively high density in relation to the area thus raising attention for a future conservation strategy. The population structure shows reduced sexual dimorphism and an unbiased sex ratio, implying a young population structure. We suggest correlating the future archaeological studies with conservation requirements of tortoises.

  8. Non-metastatic squamous cell carcinoma in two Hermann’s tortoises (Testudo hermanni

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marie-Charlotte von Deetzen

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available Squamous cell carcinomas (SCC are malignant tumors of the epidermal cells with varying degrees of keratinocyte differentiation. They are common tumors in mammalian and avian species but there are, however, only two description of SCC in tortoises. In this case report we describe two cases of non-metastatic squamous cell carcinomas of the carapax and the plastron in Hermann’s tortoises with evidence of humoral hypercalcemia of malignancy (HHM in one case. HHM is thought to be associated with SCC in mammals due to de novo secretion of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP by the tumor cells or tumor induced osteolysis but has not been described in reptiles so far.

  9. Discriminating patterns and drivers of multiscale movement in herpetofauna: The dynamic and changing environment of the Mojave desert tortoise.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sadoti, Giancarlo; Gray, Miranda E; Farnsworth, Matthew L; Dickson, Brett G

    2017-09-01

    Changes to animal movement in response to human-induced changes to the environment are of growing concern in conservation. Most research on this problem has focused on terrestrial endotherms, but changes to herpetofaunal movement are also of concern given their limited dispersal abilities and specialized thermophysiological requirements. Animals in the desert region of the southwestern United States are faced with environmental alterations driven by development (e.g., solar energy facilities) and climate change. Here, we study the movement ecology of a desert species of conservation concern, the Mojave desert tortoise ( Gopherus agassizii ). We collected weekly encounter locations of marked desert tortoises during the active (nonhibernation) seasons in 2013-2015, and used those data to discriminate movements among activity centers from those within them. We then modeled the probability of movement among activity centers using a suite of covariates describing characteristics of tortoises, natural and anthropogenic landscape features, vegetation, and weather. Multimodel inference indicated greatest support for a model that included individual tortoise characteristics, landscape features, and weather. After controlling for season, date, age, and sex, we found that desert tortoises were more likely to move among activity centers when they were further from minor roads and in the vicinity of barrier fencing; we also found that movement between activity centers was more common during periods of greater rainfall and during periods where cooler temperatures coincided with lower rainfall. Our findings indicate that landscape alterations and climate change both have the potential to impact movements by desert tortoises during the active season. This study provides an important baseline against which we can detect future changes in tortoise movement behavior.

  10. Unravelling the microbiome of eggs of the endangered sea turtle Eretmochelys imbricata identifies bacteria with activity against the emerging pathogen Fusarium falciforme.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jullie M Sarmiento-Ramírez

    Full Text Available Habitat bioaugmentation and introduction of protective microbiota have been proposed as potential conservation strategies to rescue endangered mammals and amphibians from emerging diseases. For both strategies, insight into the microbiomes of the endangered species and their habitats is essential. Here, we sampled nests of the endangered sea turtle species Eretmochelys imbricata that were infected with the fungal pathogen Fusarium falciforme. Metagenomic analysis of the bacterial communities associated with the shells of the sea turtle eggs revealed approximately 16,664 operational taxonomic units, with Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes as the most dominant phyla. Subsequent isolation of Actinobacteria from the eggshells led to the identification of several genera (Streptomyces, Amycolaptosis, Micromomospora Plantactinospora and Solwaraspora that inhibit hyphal growth of the pathogen F. falciforme. These bacterial genera constitute a first set of microbial indicators to evaluate the potential role of microbiota in conservation of endangered sea turtle species.

  11. Unravelling the microbiome of eggs of the endangered sea turtle Eretmochelys imbricata identifies bacteria with activity against the emerging pathogen Fusarium falciforme.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sarmiento-Ramírez, Jullie M; van der Voort, Menno; Raaijmakers, Jos M; Diéguez-Uribeondo, Javier

    2014-01-01

    Habitat bioaugmentation and introduction of protective microbiota have been proposed as potential conservation strategies to rescue endangered mammals and amphibians from emerging diseases. For both strategies, insight into the microbiomes of the endangered species and their habitats is essential. Here, we sampled nests of the endangered sea turtle species Eretmochelys imbricata that were infected with the fungal pathogen Fusarium falciforme. Metagenomic analysis of the bacterial communities associated with the shells of the sea turtle eggs revealed approximately 16,664 operational taxonomic units, with Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes as the most dominant phyla. Subsequent isolation of Actinobacteria from the eggshells led to the identification of several genera (Streptomyces, Amycolaptosis, Micromomospora Plantactinospora and Solwaraspora) that inhibit hyphal growth of the pathogen F. falciforme. These bacterial genera constitute a first set of microbial indicators to evaluate the potential role of microbiota in conservation of endangered sea turtle species.

  12. Aspects of the reproductive ecology of female turtles in New Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Agha, Mickey; Painter, Charlie; Cole, Levi; Fitzgerald, Austin; Narum, Kevin; Jennings, Randy

    2016-01-01

    Data on reproductive ecology of turtles in New Mexico are limited, and some species living there are among the least studied in the United States. We trapped 4 native species of turtles (Apalone spinifera, Chrysemys picta, Pseudemys gorzugi, and Trachemys gaigeae gaigeae) in the Rio Grande and Black River (Pecos River drainage) of New Mexico in June 2012 and 2013 to collect data on female reproductive ecology, including clutch size, egg size, timing of egg production, and percentage of gravid females. During our sampling, we found shelled eggs via X-radiography in only 3 native species: C. picta, P. gorzugi, and T. g. gaigeae. Clutch and egg sizes were within the range of previously reported values, although clutch size for P. gorzugi (10 eggs) is only the second published record for that data-deficient species. Clutch size increased with body size in T. g. gaigeae. We observed few differences between reproductive parameters for turtles in New Mexico and their conspecifics and congeners elsewhere in the United States, other than the observation that female C. picta may mature at smaller body sizes in New Mexico relative to other western populations elsewhere in its vast, primarily eastern North American range.

  13. Problems with sampling desert tortoises: A simulation analysis based on field data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freilich, J.E.; Camp, R.J.; Duda, J.J.; Karl, A.E.

    2005-01-01

    The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) was listed as a U.S. threatened species in 1990 based largely on population declines inferred from mark-recapture surveys of 2.59-km2 (1-mi2) plots. Since then, several census methods have been proposed and tested, but all methods still pose logistical or statistical difficulties. We conducted computer simulations using actual tortoise location data from 2 1-mi2 plot surveys in southern California, USA, to identify strengths and weaknesses of current sampling strategies. We considered tortoise population estimates based on these plots as "truth" and then tested various sampling methods based on sampling smaller plots or transect lines passing through the mile squares. Data were analyzed using Schnabel's mark-recapture estimate and program CAPTURE. Experimental subsampling with replacement of the 1-mi2 data using 1-km2 and 0.25-km2 plot boundaries produced data sets of smaller plot sizes, which we compared to estimates from the 1-mi 2 plots. We also tested distance sampling by saturating a 1-mi 2 site with computer simulated transect lines, once again evaluating bias in density estimates. Subsampling estimates from 1-km2 plots did not differ significantly from the estimates derived at 1-mi2. The 0.25-km2 subsamples significantly overestimated population sizes, chiefly because too few recaptures were made. Distance sampling simulations were biased 80% of the time and had high coefficient of variation to density ratios. Furthermore, a prospective power analysis suggested limited ability to detect population declines as high as 50%. We concluded that poor performance and bias of both sampling procedures was driven by insufficient sample size, suggesting that all efforts must be directed to increasing numbers found in order to produce reliable results. Our results suggest that present methods may not be capable of accurately estimating desert tortoise populations.

  14. Qualtum cosmics-and-chaotics--the ultimate tortoise in physics and modern medicine.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kothari M

    1997-10-01

    Full Text Available Qualtum cosmics is the qualitative opposite of quantum mechanics. The flip-side of qualtum cosmics is qualtum chaotics, the two governing much of what is seen as inscrutable in medicine. The Ultimate (Last Tortoise is close to Einsteinean idea of a Unified Theory, a single concept that can explain whatsoever there is in physics, (and in medicine, or what have you.

  15. THE NORTHERN MOST RECORD OF HERMANN’S TORTOISE (TESTUDO HERMANNI BOETTGERI IN ROMANIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diana POP

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Hermann's tortoise is a strictly protected reptile species. It comprises three subspecies occurring Mediterranean countries. In Romania, only T. h. boettgeri is living, located in the southern part of the country. In this paper we documented recent observations of the species outside of its known distribution area. This is the northernmost observation of this species, raising the question of its provenience. Two hypotheses were launched: human translocation or natural expansion.

  16. The Broken Zig-Zag: Late Cenozoic large mammal and tortoise extintion in South America

    OpenAIRE

    Tonni, Eduardo Pedro; Cione, Alberto Luis; Soibelzon, Leopoldo Héctor

    2003-01-01

    During the latest Pleistocene-earliest Holocene, South American terrestrial vertebrate faunas suffered one of the largest (and probably the youngest) extinction in the world for this lapse. Megamammals, most of the large mammals and a giant terrestrial tortoise became extinct in the continent, and several complete ecological guilds and their predators disappeared. This mammal extinction had been attributed mainly to overkill, climatic change or a combination of both. We agree with the idea th...

  17. Effects of opioids in the formalin test in the Speke's hinged tortoise (Kinixy's spekii)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wambugu, SN; Towett, PK; Kiama, SG

    2010-01-01

    decrease in the duration of limb retraction in the formalin test. The anti-nociceptive effects were naloxone (5 mg/kg) reversible. The data suggest that the formalin test is a good test for studying nociception and anti-nociception in tortoises and that the opioidergic system plays a role in the control......Little is known about analgesia in lower vertebrates such as the Speke's hinged tortoise (Kinixy's spekii), yet of late they are increasingly being adopted as pets. The effects of morphine (5, 7.5, 10 and 20 mg/kg), pethidine (10, 20, and 50 mg/kg) and naloxone (5 mg/kg) on nociception induced...... by the formalin test (12.5%, 100 microL) were studied in the Speke's hinged tortoise. Formalin induced a monophasic limb retraction behavioural response and its duration was recorded. The behaviour lasted for 16.4 +/- 0.8 min. Morphine (7.5, 10 and 20 mg/kg) and pethidine (20 and 50 mg/kg) induced significant...

  18. Coastal leatherback turtles reveal conservation hotspot

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Nathan J.; Morreale, Stephen J.; Nel, Ronel; Paladino, Frank V.

    2016-01-01

    Previous studies have shown that the world’s largest reptile – the leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea – conducts flexible foraging migrations that can cover thousands of kilometres between nesting sites and distant foraging areas. The vast distances that may be travelled by migrating leatherback turtles have greatly complicated conservation efforts for this species worldwide. However, we demonstrate, using a combination of satellite telemetry and stable isotope analysis, that approximately half of the nesting leatherbacks from an important rookery in South Africa do not migrate to distant foraging areas, but rather, forage in the coastal waters of the nearby Mozambique Channel. Moreover, this coastal cohort appears to remain resident year-round in shallow waters (turtles Caretta caretta. The rare presence of a resident coastal aggregation of leatherback turtles not only presents a unique opportunity for conservation, but alongside the presence of loggerhead turtles and other endangered marine megafauna in the Mozambique Channel, highlights the importance of this area as a marine biodiversity hotspot. PMID:27886262

  19. Tracking sea turtles in the Everglades

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hart, Kristin M.

    2008-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has a long history of conducting research on threatened, endangered, and at-risk species inhabiting both terrestrial and marine environments, particularly those found within national parks and protected areas. In the coastal Gulf of Mexico region, for example, USGS scientist Donna Shaver at Padre Island National Seashore in Texas has focused on “headstarting” hatchlings of the rare Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii). She is also analyzing trends in sea turtle strandings onshore and interactions with Gulf shrimp fisheries. Along south Florida’s Gulf coast, the USGS has focused on research and monitoring for managing the greater Everglades ecosystem. One novel project involves the endangered green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). The ecology and movements of adult green turtles are reasonably well understood, largely due to decades of nesting beach monitoring by a network of researchers and volunteers. In contrast, relatively little is known about the habitat requirements and movements of juvenile and subadult sea turtles of any species in their aquatic environment.

  20. Epibiotic Diatoms Are Universally Present on All Sea Turtle Species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Majewska, Roksana; Lazo-Wasem, Eric A.; Nel, Ronel; Paladino, Frank V.; Rojas, Lourdes; Zardus, John D.; Pinou, Theodora

    2016-01-01

    The macro-epibiotic communities of sea turtles have been subject to growing interest in recent years, yet their micro-epibiotic counterparts are almost entirely unknown. Here, we provide the first evidence that diatoms are epibionts for all seven extant species of sea turtle. Using Scanning Electron Microscopy, we inspected superficial carapace or skin samples from a single representative of each turtle species. We distinguished 18 diatom taxa from these seven individuals, with each sea turtle species hosting at least two diatom taxa. We recommend that future research is undertaken to confirm whether diatom communities vary between sea turtle species and whether these diatom taxa are facultative or obligate commensals. PMID:27257972

  1. Overcoming low environmental temperatures in the primary feeding season: low-level activity and long basking in the tortoise Homopus signatus

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Loehr, V.J.T.; Stark, T.; Weterings, M.J.A.; Kuipers, H.

    2015-01-01

    Tortoises that live in regions where food plants grow in winter may have to cope with relatively low environmental temperatures to obtain resources. The speckled tortoise, Homopus signatus, inhabits an arid winter rainfall range where it is active in winter and spring at environmental temperatures

  2. Do roads reduce painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) populations?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorland, Alexandra; Rytwinski, Trina; Fahrig, Lenore

    2014-01-01

    Road mortality is thought to be a leading cause of turtle population decline. However, empirical evidence of the direct negative effects of road mortality on turtle population abundance is lacking. The purpose of this study was to provide a strong test of the prediction that roads reduce turtle population abundance. While controlling for potentially confounding variables, we compared relative abundance of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) in 20 ponds in Eastern Ontario, 10 as close as possible to high traffic roads (Road sites) and 10 as far as possible from any major roads (No Road sites). There was no significant effect of roads on painted turtle relative abundance. Furthermore, our data do not support other predictions of the road mortality hypothesis; we observed neither a higher relative frequency of males to females at Road sites than at No Road sites, nor a lower average body size of turtles at Road than at No Road sites. We speculate that, although roads can cause substantial adult mortality in turtles, other factors, such as release from predation on adults and/or nests close to roads counter the negative effect of road mortality in some populations. We suggest that road mitigation for painted turtles can be limited to locations where turtles are forced to migrate across high traffic roads due, for example, to destruction of local nesting habitat or seasonal drying of ponds. This conclusion should not be extrapolated to other species of turtles, where road mortality could have a larger population-level effect than on painted turtles.

  3. Occurrence of health-compromising protozoan and helminth infections in tortoises kept as pet animals in Germany.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hallinger, Malek J; Taubert, Anja; Hermosilla, Carlos; Mutschmann, Frank

    2018-06-18

    Exotic reptiles such as tortoises, have become increasingly common domestic pets worldwide and are known to host different gastrointestinal parasites. Some of these parasites bear zoonotic potential. In the present survey, we parasitologically examined tortoise faecal samples (n = 1005) from 19 different species held as pets in private German households and German zoological gardens. Saline faecal smears were used to generate prevalence data for potentially health-compromising gastrointestinal parasites. In addition, we performed complete parasitological dissections of dead tortoises (n = 49) to estimate endoparasite burdens precisely. Analysed tortoise faecal samples contained a broad spectrum of endoparasites. We detected ten taxa of endoparasites; oxyurid nematodes (e.g. Tachygonetria spp.) were the most prevalent parasites in faecal samples (43.18%), followed by ascarids (Angusticaecum spp.) (0.01%), Hexamita spp. (0.007%), Balantidium spp. (0.007%), trichomonads (0.004%), Strongyloides spp. (0.003%), Entamoeba spp. (0.005%), Hartmanella spp. (0.001%), Blastocystis spp. (0.002%), heterakids (0.001%) and Trimitus spp. (0.001%). Additionally, we investigated dead tortoise individuals (n = 49; of 10 different species) for aetiological diagnosis and estimation of endoparasite burden. Of these individuals, 38 (77.6%) were infected with parasites and 14 (28.6%) of them died most probably due to severe parasitic infection. Oxyurid infections correlated positively with calcium deficiency and metabolic bone disease (MBD) as well as nephrosis/nephritis, mainly occurring in juvenile tortoises (< 5 years of age). The saline faecal smear technique proved to be efficient in detecting different metazoan and protozoan parasite stages in tortoise faeces. The prevalence of oxyurid infections was particularly high. In combination with pathological findings in clinical oxyuridosis obtained from necropsied animals, our findings call for further, detailed investigations on

  4. Effectiveness of post-fire seeding in desert tortoise Critical Habitat following the 2005 Southern Nevada Fire Complex

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeFalco, Lesley; Drake, Karla K.; Scoles-Sciulla, S. J.; Bauer, Kyla L.

    2010-01-01

    In June 2005, lightning strikes ignited multiple wildfires in southern Nevada. The Southern Nevada Fire Complex burned more than 32,000 acres of designated desert tortoise Critical Habitat and an additional 403,000 acres of Mojave Desert habitat characterized as potentially suitable for the tortoise. Mortalities of desert tortoises were observed after the fires, but altered habitat is likely to prolong and magnify the impacts of wildfire on desert tortoise populations. To accelerate the re-establishment of plants commonly used by tortoises for food and shelter, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) distributed seeds of native annual and perennial species in burned areas within desert tortoise Critical Habitat. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) established monitoring plots to evaluate broadcast seeding as a means to restore habitat and tortoise activity compared with natural recovery. Within the standard three-year Emergency and Stabilization Response (ESR) monitoring timeline, seeding augmented perennial seed banks by four to six-fold within a year of seed applications compared with unseeded areas. By the end of the three-year monitoring period, seedling densities of seeded perennial species were 33% higher in seeded areas than in unseeded areas, particularly for the disturbance-adapted desert globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) and desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata). Seeded annuals, in contrast, did not increase significantly in seed banks or biomass production, likely due to low seeding rates of these species. Production of non-native annuals that helped carry the fires was not reduced by seeding efforts but instead was strongly correlated with site-specific rainfall, as were native annual species. The short-term vegetation changes measured in seeded areas were not yet associated with a return of tortoise activity to unburned levels. By focusing on a combination of native species that can withstand disturbance conditions, including species that are found in

  5. Checklist of sea turtles endohelminth in Neotropical region

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Werneck M. R.

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents a list of parasites described in sea turtles from the Neotropical region. Through the review of literature the occurrence of 79 taxa of helminthes parasites were observed, mostly consisting of the Phylum Platyhelminthes with 76 species distributed in 14 families and 2 families of the Phylum Nematoda within 3 species. Regarding the parasite records, the most studied host was the green turtle (Chelonia mydas followed by the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata, olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea, loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta and leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea. Overall helminths were reported in 12 countries and in the Caribbean Sea region. This checklist is the largest compilation of data on helminths found in sea turtles in the Neotropical region.

  6. TURTLE 24.0 diffusion depletion code

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Altomare, S.; Barry, R.F.

    1971-09-01

    TURTLE is a two-group, two-dimensional (x-y, x-z, r-z) neutron diffusion code featuring a direct treatment of the nonlinear effects of xenon, enthalpy, and Doppler. Fuel depletion is allowed. TURTLE was written for the study of azimuthal xenon oscillations, but the code is useful for general analysis. The input is simple, fuel management is handled directly, and a boron criticality search is allowed. Ten thousand space points are allowed (over 20,000 with diagonal symmetry). TURTLE is written in FORTRAN IV and is tailored for the present CDC-6600. The program is core-contained. Provision is made to save data on tape for future reference. (auth)

  7. Endangered species: where leatherback turtles meet fisheries.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferraroli, Sandra; Georges, Jean-Yves; Gaspar, Philippe; Le Maho, Yvon

    2004-06-03

    The dramatic worldwide decline in populations of the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is largely due to the high mortality associated with their interaction with fisheries, so a reduction of this overlap is critical to their survival. The discovery of narrow migration corridors used by the leatherbacks in the Pacific Ocean raised the possibility of protecting the turtles by restricting fishing in these key areas. Here we use satellite tracking to show that there is no equivalent of these corridors in the North Atlantic Ocean, because the turtles disperse actively over the whole area. But we are able to identify a few 'hot spots' where leatherbacks meet fisheries and where conservation efforts should be focused.

  8. Fatal trematodiasis in research turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, C A; Griffith, J W; Tenorio, P; Hytrek, S; Lang, C M

    1998-08-01

    During a 5-year period, 16 freshwater turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans and Chrysemys picta) that were purchased for research purposes died spontaneously. Clinical signs of disease included lethargy, constant swimming, swimming sideways, hemiplegia, and ulcerative lesions on the carapace. At necropsy, subcutaneous edema, hepatic necrosis, pancreatic necrosis, splenic necrosis, and intestinal parasites were identified. Histologically, trematode eggs were seen within the liver, brain, spleen, kidney, myocardium, lung, pancreas, testes, and bladder, and were associated with granulomatous reactions. The size and distribution of the eggs were consistent with Spirorchis sp. infection, although adults could not be found to confirm the species. Spirorchid flukes are 1 to 2 mm long and inhabit the heart and blood vessels where they produce eggs. Spirorchis parvus are capable of invading various tissues, including pancreas and the central nervous system. The pathogenicity of the flukes seems to be related to widespread deposition of the eggs, which may block small blood vessels within the intestines, causing necrosis and bacteremia. Antemortem diagnosis is made by direct examination of fecal smears for eggs. Postmortem diagnosis is accomplished by examination of tissues for adult parasites and microgranulomas associated with the fluke eggs. The parasite requires a snail intermediate host to complete its life cycle. Intramuscular or oral administration of praziquantel is reported to be an effective treatment.

  9. Helminth communities of the exotic introduced turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans in southwestern Spain: Transmission from native turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hidalgo-Vila, J; Díaz-Paniagua, C; Ribas, A; Florencio, M; Pérez-Santigosa, N; Casanova, J C

    2009-06-01

    We report the prevalence and diversity of helminth parasites found in native turtles Mauremys leprosa and Emys orbicularis from three localities in southwestern Spain and we describe the helminth communities of exotic turtles Trachemys scripta elegans coexisting in the wild with both native turtle species. Five nematodes species were identified, of which Serpinema microcephalus was the only species common between two localities, although infection parameters were different between them. This is the first report of cross transmission of S. microcephalus and Falcaustra donanaensis from native to exotic turtles and the first report of genus Physaloptera in turtles of the Palearctic Region. Continuous releasing of exotic pet turtles in wildlife ecosystems increases the risk of parasite introductions and, consequently, potential transmission to native species, and highlights the impending need for regulation of pet turtle trade in Europe.

  10. A sinemydid turtle from the Jehol Biota provides insights into the basal divergence of crown turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Chang-Fu; Rabi, Márton

    2015-11-10

    Morphological phylogenies stand in a major conflict with molecular hypotheses regarding the phylogeny of Cryptodira, the most diverse and widely distributed clade of extant turtles. However, molecular hypotheses are often considered a better estimate of phylogeny given that it is more consistent with the stratigraphic and geographic distribution of extinct taxa. That morphology fails to reproduce the molecular topology partly originates from problematic character polarization due to yet another contradiction around the composition of the cryptodiran stem lineage. Extinct sinemydids are one of these problematic clades: they have been either placed among stem-cryptodires, stem-chelonioid sea turtles, or even stem-turtles. A new sinemydid from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota (Yixian Formation, Barremian-Early Aptian) of China, Xiaochelys ningchengensis gen. et sp. nov., allows for a reassessment of the phylogenetic position of Sinemydidae. Our analysis indicates that sinemydids mostly share symplesiomorphies with sea turtles and their purported placement outside the crown-group of turtles is an artefact of previous datasets. The best current phylogenetic estimate is therefore that sinemydids are part of the stem lineage of Cryptodira together with an array of other Jurassic to Cretaceous taxa. Our study further emphasises the importance of using molecular scaffolds in global turtle analyses.

  11. Using Range-Wide Abundance Modeling to Identify Key Conservation Areas for the Micro-Endemic Bolson Tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cinthya A Ureña-Aranda

    Full Text Available A widespread biogeographic pattern in nature is that population abundance is not uniform across the geographic range of species: most occurrence sites have relatively low numbers, whereas a few places contain orders of magnitude more individuals. The Bolson tortoise Gopherus flavomarginatus is endemic to a small region of the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico, where habitat deterioration threatens this species with extinction. In this study we combined field burrows counts and the approach for modeling species abundance based on calculating the distance to the niche centroid to obtain range-wide abundance estimates. For the Bolson tortoise, we found a robust, negative relationship between observed burrows abundance and distance to the niche centroid, with a predictive capacity of 71%. Based on these results we identified four priority areas for the conservation of this microendemic and threatened tortoise. We conclude that this approach may be a useful approximation for identifying key areas for sampling and conservation efforts in elusive and rare species.

  12. Morphological characteristics of the Hermann's tortoise (Testudo hermanni Gmelin, 1789 in the south-eastern part of Kosovo and Metohija

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Labus Nenad

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available In this paper we present the results of the analysis of morphological characteristics of the Hermann's tortoise from three localities in south­eastern part of Kosovo and Metohija. 75 adult Hermann's tortoises (33 males and 42 females have been analyzed. Morphometric analysis has been done on 7 traits. We considered the plastron black pigmentation patterns and frequencies for each pigmentation states were calculated. Females were larger than males for all morphometric traits. Based on the most important dimensions of carapace and plastron length and width, the Hermann's tortoises from the south-eastern part of Kosovo and Metohija are the most similar to the individuals of the population from the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula (the southern part of Serbia and the northern part of Greece. In relation to the populations from central and eastern Serbia, individuals from our studied area have higher values.

  13. Description of a New Galapagos Giant Tortoise Species (Chelonoidis; Testudines: Testudinidae from Cerro Fatal on Santa Cruz Island.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nikos Poulakakis

    Full Text Available The taxonomy of giant Galapagos tortoises (Chelonoidis spp. is currently based primarily on morphological characters and island of origin. Over the last decade, compelling genetic evidence has accumulated for multiple independent evolutionary lineages, spurring the need for taxonomic revision. On the island of Santa Cruz there is currently a single named species, C. porteri. Recent genetic and morphological studies have shown that, within this taxon, there are two evolutionarily and spatially distinct lineages on the western and eastern sectors of the island, known as the Reserva and Cerro Fatal populations, respectively. Analyses of DNA from natural populations and museum specimens, including the type specimen for C. porteri, confirm the genetic distinctiveness of these two lineages and support elevation of the Cerro Fatal tortoises to the rank of species. In this paper, we identify DNA characters that define this new species, and infer evolutionary relationships relative to other species of Galapagos tortoises.

  14. Hawking effect and quantum nonthermal radiation of an arbitrarily accelerating charged black hole using a new tortoise coordinate transformation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pan Wei-Zhen; Yang Xue-Jun; Xie Zhi-Kun

    2011-01-01

    Using a new tortoise coordinate transformation, this paper investigates the Hawking effect from an arbitrarily accelerating charged black hole by the improved Damour—Ruffini method. After the tortoise coordinate transformation, the Klein—Gordon equation can be written as the standard form at the event horizon. Then extending the outgoing wave from outside to inside of the horizon analytically, the surface gravity and Hawking temperature can be obtained automatically. It is found that the Hawking temperatures of different points on the surface are different. The quantum nonthermal radiation characteristics of a black hole near the event horizon is also discussed by studying the Hamilton—Jacobi equation in curved spacetime and the maximum overlap of the positive and negative energy levels near the event horizon is given. There is a dimensional problem in the standard tortoise coordinate and the present results may be more reasonable. (geophysics, astronomy, and astrophysics)

  15. Subsistence hunting for turtles in Northwestern Ecuador

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carr, John L; Almendariz, Ana; Simmons, John E; Nielsen, Mark T

    2014-01-01

    We describe the subsistence exploitation of an entire turtle fauna in Esmerald's Province, Ecuador. We collected first hand accounts and witnessed a number of capture techniques used by rural afroecuadorian and chachi inhabitants of the Cayapas Santiago River basin. The diversity of techniques indicated a practical knowledge of the ecology of the species. Chelydra acutirostris, Kinosternon leucostomum, Rhinoclemmys annulata, Melanosterna, and R. nasuta were captured and eaten. Poziando involved cleaning pools in a stream bed during the relatively dry season by removing live plants, organic detritus, and then seining with baskets; we observed R. melanosterna and K. leucostomum captured in this way. Pitfall traps baited with fruit were used to catch R. melanosterna during forays on land. Basket traps (Canasto tortuguero) with a wooden slat funnel across the opening are floated with balsa lashed to the sides. Banana or Xanthosoma leaf bait in the basket traps caught R. melanosterna, R. nasuta, and K. leucostomum. Marshy areas were probed for R. melanosterna and K. leucostomum. Direct capture by hand was also common. Turtles were relished as food items; all turtles captured were consumed, usually in soup or stew. Use of turtles for food in the region was pervasive, perhaps because fish and game populations were depleted.

  16. Reference intervals and physiologic alterations in hematologic and biochemical values of free-ranging desert tortoises in the Mojave Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christopher, Mary M.; Berry, Kristin H.; Wallis, I.R.; Nagy, K.A.; Henen, B.T.; Peterson, C.C.

    1999-01-01

    Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) populations have experienced precipitous declines resulting from the cumulative impact of habitat loss, and human and disease-related mortality. Evaluation of hematologic and biochemical responses of desert tortoises to physiologic and environmental factors can facilitate the assessment of stress and disease in tortoises and contribute to management decisions and population recovery. The goal of this study was to obtain and analyze clinical laboratory data from free-ranging desert tortoises at three sites in the Mojave Desert (California, USA) between October 1990 and October 1995, to establish reference intervals, and to develop guidelines for the interpretation of laboratory data under a variety of environmental and physiologic conditions. Body weight, carapace length, and venous blood samples for a complete blood count and clinical chemistry profile were obtained from 98 clinically healthy adult desert tortoises of both sexes at the Desert Tortoise Research Natural area (western Mojave), Goffs (eastern Mojave) and Ivanpah Valley (northeastern Mojave). Samples were obtained four times per year, in winter (February/March), spring (May/June), summer (July/August), and fall (October). Years of near-, above- and below-average rainfall were represented in the 5 yr period. Minimum, maximum and median values, and central 95 percentiles were used as reference intervals and measures of central tendency for tortoises at each site and/or season. Data were analyzed using repeated measures analysis of variance for significant (P < 0.01) variation on the basis of sex, site, season, and interactions between these variables. Significant sex differences were observed for packed cell volume, hemoglobin concentration, aspartate transaminase activity, and cholesterol, triglyceride, calcium, and phosphorus concentrations. Marked seasonal variation was observed in most parameters in conjunction with reproductive cycle, hibernation, or seasonal

  17. A toothed turtle from the Late Jurassic of China and the global biogeographic history of turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joyce, Walter G; Rabi, Márton; Clark, James M; Xu, Xing

    2016-10-28

    Turtles (Testudinata) are a successful lineage of vertebrates with about 350 extant species that inhabit all major oceans and landmasses with tropical to temperate climates. The rich fossil record of turtles documents the adaptation of various sub-lineages to a broad range of habitat preferences, but a synthetic biogeographic model is still lacking for the group. We herein describe a new species of fossil turtle from the Late Jurassic of Xinjiang, China, Sichuanchelys palatodentata sp. nov., that is highly unusual by plesiomorphically exhibiting palatal teeth. Phylogenetic analysis places the Late Jurassic Sichuanchelys palatodentata in a clade with the Late Cretaceous Mongolochelys efremovi outside crown group Testudines thereby establishing the prolonged presence of a previously unrecognized clade of turtles in Asia, herein named Sichuanchelyidae. In contrast to previous hypotheses, M. efremovi and Kallokibotion bajazidi are not found within Meiolaniformes, a clade that is here reinterpreted as being restricted to Gondwana. A revision of the global distribution of fossil and recent turtle reveals that the three primary lineages of derived, aquatic turtles, including the crown, Paracryptodira, Pan-Pleurodira, and Pan-Cryptodira can be traced back to the Middle Jurassic of Euramerica, Gondwana, and Asia, respectively, which resulted from the primary break up of Pangaea at that time. The two primary lineages of Pleurodira, Pan-Pelomedusoides and Pan-Chelidae, can similarly be traced back to the Cretaceous of northern and southern Gondwana, respectively, which were separated from one another by a large desert zone during that time. The primary divergence of crown turtles was therefore driven by vicariance to the primary freshwater aquatic habitat of these lineages. The temporally persistent lineages of basal turtles, Helochelydridae, Meiolaniformes, Sichuanchelyidae, can similarly be traced back to the Late Mesozoic of Euramerica, southern Gondwana, and Asia. Given

  18. Global conservation priorities for marine turtles.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bryan P Wallace

    Full Text Available Where conservation resources are limited and conservation targets are diverse, robust yet flexible priority-setting frameworks are vital. Priority-setting is especially important for geographically widespread species with distinct populations subject to multiple threats that operate on different spatial and temporal scales. Marine turtles are widely distributed and exhibit intra-specific variations in population sizes and trends, as well as reproduction and morphology. However, current global extinction risk assessment frameworks do not assess conservation status of spatially and biologically distinct marine turtle Regional Management Units (RMUs, and thus do not capture variations in population trends, impacts of threats, or necessary conservation actions across individual populations. To address this issue, we developed a new assessment framework that allowed us to evaluate, compare and organize marine turtle RMUs according to status and threats criteria. Because conservation priorities can vary widely (i.e. from avoiding imminent extinction to maintaining long-term monitoring efforts we developed a "conservation priorities portfolio" system using categories of paired risk and threats scores for all RMUs (n = 58. We performed these assessments and rankings globally, by species, by ocean basin, and by recognized geopolitical bodies to identify patterns in risk, threats, and data gaps at different scales. This process resulted in characterization of risk and threats to all marine turtle RMUs, including identification of the world's 11 most endangered marine turtle RMUs based on highest risk and threats scores. This system also highlighted important gaps in available information that is crucial for accurate conservation assessments. Overall, this priority-setting framework can provide guidance for research and conservation priorities at multiple relevant scales, and should serve as a model for conservation status assessments and priority

  19. Characterization of seasonal reproductive and stress steroid hormones in wild Radiated Tortoises, Astrochelys radiata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Currylow, Andrea F T; Rafeliarisoa, Tsilavo H; Louis, Edward E; Stanford, Craig B; Randrianjafizanaka, Soary T; Chinn, Sarah M; Crocker, Daniel E

    2017-11-01

    The critically endangered Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) is endemic to the southern coastlines of Madagascar. Once common, wild populations of this tortoise have undergone dramatic declines in recent years. Although there have been studies documenting reproductive activities, reproductive physiological parameters are unknown yet may be crucial in the recovery of the species. Over four research seasons in remote field locations native to A. radiata, we surveyed for, radio-tracked, and sampled wild, free ranging tortoises. We sampled and measured stress and reproductive parameters (corticosterone [CORT], testosterone [T], estradiol-17β [E2], and progesterone [P]) in 311 plasma samples from 203 wild A. radiata, capturing their active period. Generally, hormone concentrations were associated with body condition, temperature, and humidity. There was wide variation in CORT that varied monthly and by group. Juvenile tortoises maintained more than twice the mean basal CORT concentrations than either adult sex, with the most dramatic distinctions in the middle of the wet season. For adult sex hormones, the last months of the dry season and into the wet season when ground humidities are low and just begin to rise prior to temperature declines, male T concentrations gradually increased to a peak before returning to near undetectable values into the dry season. We had limited data for T concentrations in females, but found average T concentrations were much lower than in males and positively correlated with larger female home range sizes. For female hormone cycles, E2 also peaked in the early 1/3 of the wet season along with male T, and was followed by an uptick in P which correlates to the putative ovulatory cycle. Females tracked over four years showed variation in patterns of P, indicating that number and frequency of clutches vary. Our results suggest that 1) there is high species plasticity in response to stress; 2) A. radiata reproductive cycling is somewhat

  20. Global Distribution of Two Fungal Pathogens Threatening Endangered Sea Turtles

    OpenAIRE

    Sarmiento-Ramírez, Jullie M.; Abella-Pérez, Elena; Phillott, Andrea D.; Sim, Jolene; van West, Pieter; Martín, María P.; Marco, Adolfo; Diéguez-Uribeondo, Javier

    2014-01-01

    Nascent fungal infections are currently considered as one of the main threats for biodiversity and ecosystem health, and have driven several animal species into critical risk of extinction. Sea turtles are one of the most endangered groups of animals and only seven species have survived to date. Here, we described two pathogenic species, i.e., Fusarium falciforme and Fusarium keratoplasticum, that are globally distributed in major turtle nesting areas for six sea turtle species and that are i...

  1. ISOLATION AND IDENTIFICATION OF STRAINS OF Salmonella spp IN RED-FOOT-TORTOISES FROM WILDLIFE TRADE ISOLAMENTO E IDENTIFICAÇÃO DE CEPAS DE Salmonella spp DE JABUTIS-PIRANGA ORIUNDOS DO TRÁFICO DE ANIMAIS SILVESTRES

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Oberdan Coutinho Nunes

    2010-04-01

    Full Text Available We investigated Salmonella sp. in red-foot tortoise (Chelonoides carbonaria because of the fact this particular reptile shows high frequency of illegal commerce, and also because this situation represents a serious risk for health. We collected feces of 89 turtles from the wildlife center “Chico Mendes” - IBAMA/SUPES-BA. Characteristic colonies of Salmonella sp. were isolated in 12.36% of the tortoises (11/89. Nine colonies were identificated at the Adolfo Lutz Institute, distributed into six different sorotypes: S. enterica salamae 47:b:-; S. enterica houtenae 21:g,z51; S. Panama; S. Poona; S. Javiana e S. Michigan. All of them, according to literature, without previous description of infection in C. carbonaria whatsoever. However, there are previous cases of infections and antibiotics resistance involving these sorotypes, confirming the risk represented by wildlife trade to public health concerning the children’s exposition to the source of infection as well as the dissemination of resistant sorotypes.

    KEY WORDS: Epidemiology, reptiles, zoonosis.

    Este trabalho objetivou investigar a ocorrência de Salmonella sp. em jabutis-piranga (Chelonoides carbonaria, dada sua elevada frequência no comércio ilegal e risco que representa para a saúde. Coletaram-se fezes de 89 jabutis mantidos no Centro de Triagem de Animais Silvestres Chico Mendes – IBAMA/SUPES-BA. Isolaram-se colônias características de Salmonella sp. em 12,36% dos jabutis (11/89. Destas, nove foram identificadas no Instituto Adolfo Lutz (São Paulo, distribuindo-se em seis diferentes sorovares: S. enterica salamae 47:b:-; S. enterica houtenae 21:g,z51; S. Panama; S. Poona; S. Javiana e S. Michigan, todas, segundo a literatura consultada, sem prévia descrição para C. carbonária. No entanto, estão presentes em relatos de infecções e em estudos sobre resistência a antibióticos, confirmando o risco representado pelo tráfico de animais para a sa

  2. "On the Fence" versus "All in": Insights from Turtles for the Evolution of Aquatic Locomotor Specializations and Habitat Transitions in Tetrapod Vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blob, Richard W; Mayerl, Christopher J; Rivera, Angela R V; Rivera, Gabriel; Young, Vanessa K H

    2016-12-01

    Though ultimately descended from terrestrial amniotes, turtles have deep roots as an aquatic lineage and are quite diverse in the extent of their aquatic specializations. Many taxa can be viewed as "on the fence" between aquatic and terrestrial realms, whereas others have independently hyperspecialized and moved "all in" to aquatic habitats. Such differences in specialization are reflected strongly in the locomotor system. We have conducted several studies to evaluate the performance consequences of such variation in design, as well as the mechanisms through which specialization for aquatic locomotion is facilitated in turtles. One path to aquatic hyperspecialization has involved the evolutionary transformation of the forelimbs from rowing, tubular limbs with distal paddles into flapping, flattened flippers, as in sea turtles. Prior to the advent of any hydrodynamic advantages, the evolution of such flippers may have been enabled by a reduction in twisting loads on proximal limb bones that accompanied swimming in rowing ancestors, facilitating a shift from tubular to flattened limbs. Moreover, the control of flapping movements appears related primarily to shifts in the activity of a single forelimb muscle, the deltoid. Despite some performance advantages, flapping may entail a locomotor cost in terms of decreased locomotor stability. However, other morphological specializations among rowing species may enhance swimming stability. For example, among highly aquatic pleurodiran turtles, fusion of the pelvis to the shell appears to dramatically reduce motions of the pelvis compared to freshwater cryptodiran species. This could contribute to advantageous increases in aquatic stability among predominantly aquatic pleurodires. Thus, even within the potential constraints of a body plan in which the body is encased by a shell, turtles exhibit diverse locomotor capacities that have enabled diversification into a wide range of aquatic habitats. © The Author 2016. Published

  3. “On the Fence” versus “All in”: Insights from Turtles for the Evolution of Aquatic Locomotor Specializations and Habitat Transitions in Tetrapod Vertebrates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blob, Richard W.; Mayerl, Christopher J.; Rivera, Angela R. V.; Rivera, Gabriel; Young, Vanessa K. H.

    2016-01-01

    Though ultimately descended from terrestrial amniotes, turtles have deep roots as an aquatic lineage and are quite diverse in the extent of their aquatic specializations. Many taxa can be viewed as “on the fence” between aquatic and terrestrial realms, whereas others have independently hyperspecialized and moved “all in” to aquatic habitats. Such differences in specialization are reflected strongly in the locomotor system. We have conducted several studies to evaluate the performance consequences of such variation in design, as well as the mechanisms through which specialization for aquatic locomotion is facilitated in turtles. One path to aquatic hyperspecialization has involved the evolutionary transformation of the forelimbs from rowing, tubular limbs with distal paddles into flapping, flattened flippers, as in sea turtles. Prior to the advent of any hydrodynamic advantages, the evolution of such flippers may have been enabled by a reduction in twisting loads on proximal limb bones that accompanied swimming in rowing ancestors, facilitating a shift from tubular to flattened limbs. Moreover, the control of flapping movements appears related primarily to shifts in the activity of a single forelimb muscle, the deltoid. Despite some performance advantages, flapping may entail a locomotor cost in terms of decreased locomotor stability. However, other morphological specializations among rowing species may enhance swimming stability. For example, among highly aquatic pleurodiran turtles, fusion of the pelvis to the shell appears to dramatically reduce motions of the pelvis compared to freshwater cryptodiran species. This could contribute to advantageous increases in aquatic stability among predominantly aquatic pleurodires. Thus, even within the potential constraints of a body plan in which the body is encased by a shell, turtles exhibit diverse locomotor capacities that have enabled diversification into a wide range of aquatic habitats. PMID:27940619

  4. Thalassemys bruntrutana n. sp., a new coastal marine turtle from the Late Jurassic of Porrentruy (Switzerland, and the paleobiogeography of the Thalassemydidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian Püntener

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Background. The Swiss Jura Mountains are a key region for Late Jurassic eucryptodiran turtles. Already in the mid 19th century, the Solothurn Turtle Limestone (Solothurn, NW Switzerland yielded a great amount of Kimmeridgian turtles that are traditionally referred to Plesiochelyidae, Thalassemydidae, and Eurysternidae. In the past few years, fossils of these coastal marine turtles were also abundantly discovered in the Kimmeridgian of the Porrentruy region (NW Switzerland. These findings include numerous sub-complete shells, out of which we present two new specimens of Thalassemys (Thalassemydidae in this study.Methods. We compare the new material from Porrentruy to the type species Th. hugii, which is based on a well preserved specimen from the Solothurn Turtle Limestone (Solothurn, Switzerland. In order to improve our understanding of the paleogeographic distribution of Thalassemys, anatomical comparisons are extended to Thalassemys remains from other European countries, notably Germany and England.Results. While one of the two Thalassemys specimens from Porrentruy can be attributed to Th. hugii, the other specimen represents a new species, Th. bruntrutana n. sp. It differs from Th. hugii by several features: more elongated nuchal that strongly thickens anterolaterally; wider vertebral scales; proportionally longer plastron; broader and less inclined xiphiplastron; wider angle between scapular process and acromion process. Our results show that Th. hugii and Th. bruntrutana also occur simultaneously in the Kimmeridgian of Solothurn as well as in the Kimmeridgian of England (Kimmeridge Clay. This study is an important step towards a better understanding of the paleobiogeographic distribution of Late Jurassic turtles in Europe.

  5. Effects of body position and extension of the neck and extremities on lung volume measured via computed tomography in red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mans, Christoph; Drees, Randi; Sladky, Kurt K; Hatt, Jean-Michel; Kircher, Patrick R

    2013-10-15

    To determine the effects of body position and extension of the neck and extremities on CT measurements of ventilated lung volume in red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans). Prospective crossover-design study. 14 adult red-eared slider turtles. CT was performed on turtles in horizontal ventral recumbent and vertical left lateral recumbent, right lateral recumbent, and caudal recumbent body positions. In sedated turtles, evaluations were performed in horizontal ventral recumbent body position with and without extension of the neck and extremities. Lung volumes were estimated from helical CT images with commercial software. Effects of body position, extremity and neck extension, sedation, body weight, and sex on lung volume were analyzed. Mean ± SD volume of dependent lung tissue was significantly decreased in vertical left lateral (18.97 ± 14.65 mL), right lateral (24.59 ± 19.16 mL), and caudal (9.23 ± 12.13 mL) recumbent positions, compared with the same region for turtles in horizontal ventral recumbency (48.52 ± 20.08 mL, 50.66 ± 18.08 mL, and 31.95 ± 15.69 mL, respectively). Total lung volume did not differ among positions because of compensatory increases in nondependent lung tissue. Extension of the extremities and neck significantly increased total lung volume (127.94 ± 35.53 mL), compared with that in turtles with the head, neck, and extremities withdrawn into the shell (103.24 ± 40.13 mL). Vertical positioning of red-eared sliders significantly affected lung volumes and could potentially affect interpretation of radiographs obtained in these positions. Extension of the extremities and neck resulted in the greatest total lung volume.

  6. Long-horned Beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae and Tortoise Beetles (Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae of Tripura, northeastern India with some new additions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B.K. Agarwala

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available This paper reports the occurrence of nineteen species of Long-horned Beetles (Cerambycidae and eleven species of Tortoise Beetles (Cassidinae from Tripura state, northeastern India. These include 11 species of Cerambycidae and seven species of Cassidinae, respectively, as new records from the state. Distribution of these beetles in different parts of the state are provided.

  7. Draft genome sequence of Chelonobacter oris strain 1662T, associated with respiratory disease in Hermann’s tortoises

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kudirkiene, Egle; Hansen, Mie Johanne; Bojesen, Anders Miki

    2014-01-01

    Chelonobacter oris 1662T is a type strain of the recently described species of the Pasteurellaceae family. The strain was isolated from the choanae of a captive tortoise with signs of respiratory tract infection. The genome reported here is approximately 2.6 Mb in size and has a G+C content of 47.1%....

  8. Origins of endemic island tortoises in the western Indian Ocean : A critique of the human-translocation hypothesis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hansen, Dennis M.; Austin, Jeremy J.; Baxter, Rich H.; de Boer, Erik J.; Falcón, Wilfredo; Norder, Sietze J.; Rijsdijk, Kenneth F.; Thébaud, Christophe; Bunbury, Nancy J.; Warren, Ben H.

    How do organisms arrive on isolated islands, and how do insular evolutionary radiations arise? In a recent paper, Wilmé et al. () argue that early Austronesians that colonized Madagascar from Southeast Asia translocated giant tortoises to islands in the western Indian Ocean. In the Mascarene

  9. 77 FR 60981 - TGP Granada, LLC and Roosevelt Wind Ranch, LLC v. Public Service Company of New Mexico, Tortoise...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-10-05

    ...; EL12-43-000, EL12-43-001 TGP Granada, LLC and Roosevelt Wind Ranch, LLC v. Public Service Company of New Mexico, Tortoise Capital Resources Corp.; TGP Granada, LLC and Roosevelt Wind Ranch, LLC; Notice... over capacity on the Eastern Interconnection Project. \\1\\ TGP Granada, LLC v. Pub. Serv. Co. of New...

  10. 77 FR 14514 - TGP Granada, LLC v. Public Service Company of New Mexico; Tortoise Capital Resources Corp...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-03-12

    ...] TGP Granada, LLC v. Public Service Company of New Mexico; Tortoise Capital Resources Corp.: Notice of...), and 385.212 (2012), TGP Granada, LLC (Complainant) filed (1) a formal complaint against the Public... waives sections 22.2 and 23.2 of the PNM tariff, to allow TGP to change the POR without losing its...

  11. TurtleCam: A “Smart” Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for Investigating Behaviors and Habitats of Sea Turtles

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kara L. Dodge

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Sea turtles inhabiting coastal environments routinely encounter anthropogenic hazards, including fisheries, vessel traffic, pollution, dredging, and drilling. To support mitigation of potential threats, it is important to understand fine-scale sea turtle behaviors in a variety of habitats. Recent advancements in autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs now make it possible to directly observe and study the subsurface behaviors and habitats of marine megafauna, including sea turtles. Here, we describe a “smart” AUV capability developed to study free-swimming marine animals, and demonstrate the utility of this technology in a pilot study investigating the behaviors and habitat of leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea. We used a Remote Environmental Monitoring UnitS (REMUS-100 AUV, designated “TurtleCam,” that was modified to locate, follow and film tagged turtles for up to 8 h while simultaneously collecting environmental data. The TurtleCam system consists of a 100-m depth rated vehicle outfitted with a circular Ultra-Short BaseLine receiver array for omni-directional tracking of a tagged animal via a custom transponder tag that we attached to the turtle with two suction cups. The AUV collects video with six high-definition cameras (five mounted in the vehicle nose and one mounted aft and we added a camera to the animal-borne transponder tag to record behavior from the turtle's perspective. Since behavior is likely a response to habitat factors, we collected concurrent in situ oceanographic data (bathymetry, temperature, salinity, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, currents along the turtle's track. We tested the TurtleCam system during 2016 and 2017 in a densely populated coastal region off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, where foraging leatherbacks overlap with fixed fishing gear and concentrated commercial and recreational vessel traffic. Here we present example data from one leatherback turtle to demonstrate the utility of TurtleCam. The

  12. Three synonymous genes encode calmodulin in a reptile, the Japanese tortoise, Clemmys japonica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kouji Shimoda

    2002-01-01

    Full Text Available Three distinct calmodulin (CaM-encoding cDNAs were isolated from a reptile, the Japanese tortoise (Clemmys japonica, based on degenerative primer PCR. Because of synonymous codon usages, the deduced amino acid (aa sequences were exactly the same in all three genes and identical to the aa sequence of vertebrate CaM. The three cDNAs, referred to as CaM-A, -B, and -C, seemed to belong to the same type as CaMI, CaMII, and CaMIII, respectively, based on their sequence identity with those of the mammalian cDNAs and the glutamate codon biases. Northern blot analysis detected CaM-A and -B as bands corresponding to 1.8 kb, with the most abundant levels in the brain and testis, while CaM-C was detected most abundantly in the brain as bands of 1.4 and 2.0 kb. Our results indicate that, in the tortoise, CaM protein is encoded by at least three non-allelic genes, and that the ‘multigene-one protein' principle of CaM synthesis is applicable to all classes of vertebrates, from fishes to mammals.

  13. Celiotomy by plastrotomy in a yellow-footed tortoise (Geochelone denticulata

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcelo C. Rodrigues

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available One herein reports a successful case of celiotomy by plastrotomy for removal of foreign bodies in yellow-footed tortoise (Geochelone denticulata. The animal was treated at the Veterinary Hospital of the Federal University of Piaui, with appetite loss, regurgitation, constipation, lethargy, reluctance to walk and slightly reddish ocular mucous membranes. Radiographic examination was performed, confirming the presence of foreign bodies in the stomach. The tortoise underwent celiotomy by plastrotomy for the removal of the foreign bodies. The opening of the plastron was performed through the abdominal shields, with the aid of a circular mini grinding saw. One performed an incision in the midline between the two abdominal veins to access the abdominal cavity. A gastrotomy for removal of the foreign bodies (nails, toothpicks, stones, pieces of plastic, glass and crockery pieces was performed after the location of the stomach. The surgery was successful and confirmed with radiographic evaluation in the immediate postoperative period. The celiotomy by plastrotomy for removal of foreign bodies in that animal proved to be a viable, very important and safe technique to the survival of chelonians.

  14. Testing taxon tenacity of tortoises: evidence for a geographical selection gradient at a secondary contact zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, Taylor; Berry, Kristin H.; Inman, Richard D.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Jones, Cristina A.; Culver, Melanie

    2015-01-01

    We examined a secondary contact zone between two species of desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii and G. morafkai. The taxa were isolated from a common ancestor during the formation of the Colorado River (4-8 mya) and are a classic example of allopatric speciation. However, an anomalous population of G. agassizii comes into secondary contact with G. morafkai east of the Colorado River in the Black Mountains of Arizona and provides an opportunity to examine reinforcement of species' boundaries under natural conditions. We sampled 234 tortoises representing G. agassizii in California (n = 103), G. morafkai in Arizona (n = 78), and 53 individuals of undetermined assignment in the contact zone including and surrounding the Black Mountains. We genotyped individuals for 25 STR loci and determined maternal lineage using mtDNA sequence data. We performed multilocus genetic clustering analyses and used multiple statistical methods to detect levels of hybridization. We tested hypotheses about habitat use between G. agassizii and G. morafkai in the region where they co-occur using habitat suitability models. Gopherus agassizii and G. morafkai maintain independent taxonomic identities likely due to ecological niche partitioning, and the maintenance of the hybrid zone is best described by a geographical selection gradient model.

  15. Do roads reduce painted turtle (Chrysemys picta populations?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexandra Dorland

    Full Text Available Road mortality is thought to be a leading cause of turtle population decline. However, empirical evidence of the direct negative effects of road mortality on turtle population abundance is lacking. The purpose of this study was to provide a strong test of the prediction that roads reduce turtle population abundance. While controlling for potentially confounding variables, we compared relative abundance of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta in 20 ponds in Eastern Ontario, 10 as close as possible to high traffic roads (Road sites and 10 as far as possible from any major roads (No Road sites. There was no significant effect of roads on painted turtle relative abundance. Furthermore, our data do not support other predictions of the road mortality hypothesis; we observed neither a higher relative frequency of males to females at Road sites than at No Road sites, nor a lower average body size of turtles at Road than at No Road sites. We speculate that, although roads can cause substantial adult mortality in turtles, other factors, such as release from predation on adults and/or nests close to roads counter the negative effect of road mortality in some populations. We suggest that road mitigation for painted turtles can be limited to locations where turtles are forced to migrate across high traffic roads due, for example, to destruction of local nesting habitat or seasonal drying of ponds. This conclusion should not be extrapolated to other species of turtles, where road mortality could have a larger population-level effect than on painted turtles.

  16. Ocular fibropapillomas of green turtles (Chelonia mydas).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooks, D E; Ginn, P E; Miller, T R; Bramson, L; Jacobson, E R

    1994-05-01

    Histologic evaluation of four eyes from three stranded juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas) from Florida, USA revealed ocular fibropapillomas composed of an overlying hyperplastic epithelium, various amounts of a thickened, well vascularized, collagenous stroma, and a moderate-to-dense population of reactive fibroblasts. The histologic morphology of the ocular fibropapillomas varied depending on whether the eyelid, conjunctiva, limbus, or cornea was the primary site of tumor origin. Fibropapillomas arising from the limbus, conjunctiva, or eyelid tended to be polyploid or pedunculated with a high degree of arborization. They often filled the conjunctival fornices and extended externally to be ulcerated on the distal aspects. Corneal fibropapillomas were more sessile and multinodular with less arborization. Some corneal tumors consisted primarily of a broad fibrovascular stroma and mild epithelial hyperplasia, whereas others had a markedly hyperplastic epithelium supported by stalks of fibrovascular stromal tissue. In green turtles ocular fibropapillomas may be locally invasive and associated with severe blindness and systemic debilitation.

  17. Negative density dependence of sympatric Hinge-back Tortoises (Kinixys erosa and K. homeana in West Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luca Luiselli

    2008-05-01

    Full Text Available A series of 59 transect surveys was conducted in selected wet forest habitats, along the coast of West Africa, to estimate the density distribution of African Hinge-back tortoises (Kinixys homeana and K. erosa. Line transect data were fed into a simple model to derive a detection function. The parameters estimated by the model produced an elaborate characterisation of tortoise distribution, which proved to be useful in the formulation of hypotheses about tortoise densities. Line transect data were analysed by DISTANCE, with a series of key and the series adjustment: the uniform function, the 1-parameter half-normal function, and the 2-parameter hazard-rate function were considered as key functions; the cosine series, simple polynomials, and Hermite polynomials were considered as series expansions. The detection function was estimated separately for Kinixys homeana and K. erosa, and for transects grouped for each study area by considering all the combinations of the above key functions and series expansions. The Akaike Information Criterion (AIC was computed for each candidate model and used for model selection. The best model of the detection function, for both the tortoise species was the uniform function with no series expansion. Model results indicated that the density of the two species was inversely related at the local scale, and complementary across the region; such that the density of one species increases from West to East while the other one declines. Overall, the comparison of density estimates between the two tortoises is consistent with a former hypothesis suggesting inter-specific competition and consequent resource partitioning. Other causes may contribute to explain the observed patterns, including the low productivity of rainforest habitats and long-term human perturbation.

  18. 77 FR 474 - 2012 Annual Determination for Sea Turtle Observer Requirement

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-01-05

    ... listed as endangered or threatened. All sea turtles found in U.S. waters are listed as either endangered... (Dermochelys coriacea), and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) sea turtles are listed as endangered. Loggerhead... ridley turtles away from the nesting beach, NMFS considers these turtles endangered wherever they occur...

  19. 78 FR 77428 - 2014 Annual Determination for Sea Turtle Observer Requirement

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-12-23

    ... listed as endangered or threatened. All sea turtles found in U.S. waters are listed as either endangered... imbricata) sea turtles are listed as endangered. Loggerhead (Caretta caretta; Northwest Atlantic distinct... and olive ridley turtles away from the nesting beach, NMFS considers these turtles endangered wherever...

  20. 77 FR 75999 - 2013 Annual Determination for Sea Turtle Observer Requirement

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-12-26

    ... to implement programs to conserve marine life listed as endangered or threatened. All sea turtles... (Dermochelys coriacea), and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) sea turtles are listed as endangered. Loggerhead... turtles endangered wherever they occur in U.S. waters. While some sea turtle populations have shown signs...

  1. The comparative kinetics of Ca, Sr, And Ra in a freshwater turtle, Trachemys scripta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hinton, T.G.

    1989-01-01

    The accumulation of 45 Ca, 47 Ca, 88 Sr, and 226 Ra was studied in the yellow-bellied slider, a common freshwater turtle of the Southeastern US. The author was particularly interested in testing the hypothesis of competitive inhibition, a concept whereby decreasing the intake of a stable dietary element increases the absorption and retention of chemically similar radionuclides. He established four specific hypotheses and examined the processes of absorption and elimination as a function of stable dietary calcium (2 and 20 mg g -1 ), season (summer, fall, winter and spring), and age and sex of the animals (hatchlings, juveniles, adult males, adult females, and gravid females). Turtles were gavaged with radionuclides and the gamma-emitting isotopes were detected during serial whole-body counts performed on the live animals for up to 480 d. The analysis of the beta-emitting 45 Ca was accomplished by chemical separation procedures. Data were fit to a two-component exponential retention model by nonlinear regression. The 10-fold reduction in dietary Ca did not affect the elimination rate constants, and increased the assimilation of Sr and Ra only within juveniles. For all animals the absorption of Ca was significantly greater than Sr, and likewise, Sr was greater than Ra. Mean absorptions were generally higher than values reported for other organisms. Unlike many other organisms, absorption rates did not decline at maturity. He suspects that high Ca demands in constructing and maintaining the massive shell, necessitated by the turtle's survival strategy, may contribute to the high absorption, as well as the lack of a decline at maturity. Elimination rate constants were greatest in the summer and declined to levels that were generally not distinguishable from zero in the spring, winter, and fall seasons

  2. Assessing Trophic Position and Mercury Accumulation in Sanpping Turtles

    Science.gov (United States)

    This study determined the trophic position and the total mercury concentrations of snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) captured from 26 freshwater sites in Rhode Island. Turtles were captured in baited wire cages, and a non-lethal sampling technique was used in which tips of ...

  3. Global analysis of anthropogenic debris ingestion by sea turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuyler, Qamar; Hardesty, Britta Denise; Wilcox, Chris; Townsend, Kathy

    2014-02-01

    Ingestion of marine debris can have lethal and sublethal effects on sea turtles and other wildlife. Although researchers have reported on ingestion of anthropogenic debris by marine turtles and implied incidences of debris ingestion have increased over time, there has not been a global synthesis of the phenomenon since 1985. Thus, we analyzed 37 studies published from 1985 to 2012 that report on data collected from before 1900 through 2011. Specifically, we investigated whether ingestion prevalence has changed over time, what types of debris are most commonly ingested, the geographic distribution of debris ingestion by marine turtles relative to global debris distribution, and which species and life-history stages are most likely to ingest debris. The probability of green (Chelonia mydas) and leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) ingesting debris increased significantly over time, and plastic was the most commonly ingested debris. Turtles in nearly all regions studied ingest debris, but the probability of ingestion was not related to modeled debris densities. Furthermore, smaller, oceanic-stage turtles were more likely to ingest debris than coastal foragers, whereas carnivorous species were less likely to ingest debris than herbivores or gelatinovores. Our results indicate oceanic leatherback turtles and green turtles are at the greatest risk of both lethal and sublethal effects from ingested marine debris. To reduce this risk, anthropogenic debris must be managed at a global level. © 2013 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc., on behalf of the Society for Conservation Biology.

  4. Snapping turtles, a biological screen for PCB's

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Olafsson, P.G.; Bryan, A.M.; Bush, B.; Stone, W.

    1983-01-01

    Snapping turtles are capable of storing extremely high concentration of organochlorine compounds in their fat without any apparent detrimental effect. This tolerance, to high bioconcentration, permits a wide gradation between the extremes in pollution levels and facilitates the detection of extremely toxic substances present in trace amounts. Consequently snapping turtles provide an excellent biological screen for these compounds.

  5. 50 CFR 660.720 - Interim protection for sea turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Interim protection for sea turtles. 660.720 Section 660.720 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND... Migratory Fisheries § 660.720 Interim protection for sea turtles. (a) Until the effective date of §§ 660.707...

  6. A large phylogeny of turtles (Testudines) using molecular data

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Guillon, J.-M.; Guéry, L.; Hulin, V.; Girondot, M.

    2012-01-01

    Turtles (Testudines) form a monophyletic group with a highly distinctive body plan. The taxonomy and phylogeny of turtles are still under discussion, at least for some clades. Whereas in most previous studies, only a few species or genera were considered, we here use an extensive compilation of DNA

  7. The status of marine turtles in Montserrat (Eastern Caribbean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martin, C. S.

    2005-12-01

    Full Text Available The status of marine turtles in Montserrat (Eastern Caribbean is reviewed following five years of monitoring (1999-2003. The mean number of nests recorded during the annual nesting season (June-October was 53 (± 24.9 SD; range: 13-43. In accordance with earlier reports, the nesting of hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata and green (Chelonia mydas turtles was confirmed on several beaches around the island. Only non-nesting emergences were documented for loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta and there was no evidence of nesting by leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea; however, it is possible that additional survey effort would reveal low density nesting by these species. Officially reported turtle capture data for 1993-2003 suggest that a mean of 0.9 turtle per year (±1.2 SD; range: 0-4 were landed island-wide, with all harvest having occurred during the annual open season (1 October to 31 May. Informed observers believe that the harvest is significantly under-reported and that fishermen avoid declaring their catch by butchering turtles at sea (both during and outside the open season. Of concern is the fact that breeding adults are potentially included in the harvest, and that the open season partially coincides with the breeding season. The present study has shown that although Montserrat is not a major nesting site for sea turtles, it remains important on a regional basis for the Eastern Caribbean.

  8. LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLE LATE NESTING ECOLOGY IN VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA

    Science.gov (United States)

    T'he.loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta came is the only recurrent nesting species of sea turtle in southeastern Virginia (Lutcavage & Musick, 1985; Dodd, 1988). Inasmuch as the loggerhead is a federally threatened species, the opportunity to gather data on its nesting ecology is imp...

  9. First records in Guinea Bissau of Adamawa Turtle Dove Streptopelia ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    There are no confirmed records of the Adamawa Turtle Dove Streptopelia hypopyrrha in north-eastern Guinea Bissau and there is very little information available on the biology of the species. Eight individuals of the Adamawa Turtle Dove were identified from the game bags of sport hunters in north-eastern Guinea Bissau, ...

  10. Spatially-Explicit Assessments of Genetic Biodiversity and Dispersal in Gopher Tortoises for Evaluation of Habitat Fragmentation at DoD Sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-10-01

    crocodilian population genetics questions. J. Herpetology . 35: 541-544. Diemer JE. 1992. Home range and movements of the tortoise Gopherus...polyphemus in northern Florida. Journal of Herpetology 26:158–162 Diffendorfer JE. 1998. Testing models of source-sink dynamics and balanced dispersal...associated with tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) burrows in four habitats in south-central Florida. Journal of Herpetology 25:477-481. Luikart G, Cornuet J-M

  11. Epibiotic Diatoms Are Universally Present on All Sea Turtle Species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nathan J Robinson

    Full Text Available The macro-epibiotic communities of sea turtles have been subject to growing interest in recent years, yet their micro-epibiotic counterparts are almost entirely unknown. Here, we provide the first evidence that diatoms are epibionts for all seven extant species of sea turtle. Using Scanning Electron Microscopy, we inspected superficial carapace or skin samples from a single representative of each turtle species. We distinguished 18 diatom taxa from these seven individuals, with each sea turtle species hosting at least two diatom taxa. We recommend that future research is undertaken to confirm whether diatom communities vary between sea turtle species and whether these diatom taxa are facultative or obligate commensals.

  12. Removal of nonnative slider turtles (Trachemys scripta) and effects on native Sonora mud turtles (Kinosternon sonoriense) at Montezuma Well, Yavapai County, Arizona

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drost, Charles A.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Madrak, Sheila V.; Monatesti, A.J.

    2011-01-01

    The National Park Service (NPS) estimates that 234 national parks contain nonnative, invasive animal species that are of management concern (National Park Service, 2004). Understanding and controlling invasive species is thus an important priority within the NPS (National Park Service, 1996). The slider turtle (Trachemys scripta) is one such invasive species. Native to the Southeastern United States (Ernst and Lovich, 2009), as well as Mexico, Central America, and portions of South America (Ernst and Barbour, 1989), the slider turtle has become established throughout the continental United States and in other locations around the world (Burke and others, 2000). Slider turtle introductions have been suspected to be a threat to native turtles (Holland 1994; da Silva and Blasco, 1995), however, there has not been serious study of their effects until recently. Cadi and Joly (2003) found that slider turtles outcompeted European pond turtles (Emys orbicularis) for preferred basking sites under controlled experimental conditions, demonstrating for the first time direct competition for resources between a native and an exotic turtle species. Similarly, Spinks and others (2003) suggested that competition for basking sites between slider turtles and Pacific pond turtles (Actinemys marmorata) was partly responsible for the decline of Pacific pond turtles observed at their study site in California. They concluded that the impact of introduced slider turtles was 'almost certainly negative' for the western pond turtle. In the most recent critical study to assess the effects of introduced slider turtles on native turtles, Cadi and Joly (2004) demonstrated that European pond turtles that were kept under experimentally controlled conditions with slider turtles lost body weight and exhibited higher rates of mortality than in control groups of turtles comprised of the same species, demonstrating potential population-level effects on native species. Slider turtles are not native to

  13. Surveys for desert tortoise on the proposed site of a high-level nuclear waste repository at the Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Collins, E.; Sauls, M.L.; O'Farrell, T.P.

    1983-01-01

    The National Waste Terminal Storage Program is a national search for suitable sites to isolate commercial spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste. The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigation (NNWSI) managed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Nevada Operations Office, was initiated to study the suitability of a portion of Yucca Mountain on the DOE's Nevada Test Site (NTS) as a location for such a repository. EG and G was contracted to provide information concerning the ecosystems encountered on the site. A comprehensive literature survey was conducted to evaluate the status and completeness of the existing biological information for the previously undisturbed area. Site specific studies were begun in 1981 when preliminary field surveys confirmed the presence of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizi) within the project area FY82 studies were designed to determine the overall distribution and abundance of the tortoise within the area likely to be impacted by NNWSI activities. The Yucca Mountain area of the Nevada Test Site is situated close to the northern range limit of the desert tortoise. Prior to the 1982 surveys, the desert tortoise was reported from only nine locations on NTS. A known population had been under study in Rock Valley about 25 miles southeast of the project area. However, the distribution and population densities of tortoise in the southwest portion of NTS were virtually unknown. Results of our surveys indicate that desert tortoise can be expected, albeit in small numbers, in a wide range of Mojavean and Transitional habitats

  14. The Biophysical Characteristics Of Hatching Habitat Of Lekang Turtle (Lepidhochelys olivacea) Eggs In Turtle Conservation And Education Center, Bali

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suryono; Ario, R.; Wibowo, E.; Handoyo, G.

    2018-02-01

    Lekang turtle (Lepidhochelys olivacea) is one of the fauna that is protected as an endangered population. This marine reptile was able to migrate in great distance along the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and South East Asia. Its existence has long been threatened, either by nature or human activities that endangered the population directly or indirectly. The decreasing number of sea turtle population that nest in Bali area is one indication of the reducing number of Lekang turtle in Indonesia. If left unchecked, it will result in the loss of Lekang turtle. This study aims to determine the successful percentage of conservation techniques and Lekang turtle hatching eggs (olive ridley sea turtle) in TCEC, Bali. The method used in this research is the method of observation or direct observation done in the field. Data collection is done by direct observation in the field. The results showed that the turtle breeding site is located in an area that is less strategic because too far from the sea, so that the temperature and humidity cannot be stable. Water content is most an important factor in the growth of embryo and egg hatching. This will lead to the decrease of hatching percentage of turtle eggs.

  15. Three novel herpesviruses of endangered Clemmys and Glyptemys turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ossiboff, Robert J; Raphael, Bonnie L; Ammazzalorso, Alyssa D; Seimon, Tracie A; Newton, Alisa L; Chang, Tylis Y; Zarate, Brian; Whitlock, Alison L; McAloose, Denise

    2015-01-01

    The rich diversity of the world's reptiles is at risk due to significant population declines of broad taxonomic and geographic scope. Significant factors attributed to these declines include habitat loss, pollution, unsustainable collection and infectious disease. To investigate the presence and significance of a potential pathogen on populations of critically endangered bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) as well sympatric endangered wood (G. insculpta) and endangered spotted (Clemmys guttata) turtles in the northeastern United States, choanal and cloacal swabs collected from 230 turtles from 19 sites in 5 states were screened for herpesvirus by polymerase chain reaction. We found a high incidence of herpesvirus infection in bog turtles (51.5%; 105/204) and smaller numbers of positive wood (5) and spotted (1) turtles. Sequence and phylogenetic analysis revealed three previously uncharacterized alphaherpesviruses. Glyptemys herpesvirus 1 was the predominant herpesvirus detected and was found exclusively in bog turtles in all states sampled. Glyptemys herpesvirus 2 was found only in wood turtles. Emydid herpesvirus 2 was found in a small number of bog turtles and a single spotted turtle from one state. Based on these findings, Glyptemys herpesvirus 1 appears to be a common infection in the study population, whereas Glyptemys herpesvirus 2 and Emydid herpesvirus 2 were not as frequently detected. Emydid herpesvirus 2 was the only virus detected in more than one species. Herpesviruses are most often associated with subclinical or mild infections in their natural hosts, and no sampled turtles showed overt signs of disease at sampling. However, infection of host-adapted viruses in closely related species can result in significant disease. The pathogenic potential of these viruses, particularly Emydid herpesvirus 2, in sympatric chelonians warrants additional study in order to better understand the relationship of these viruses with their endangered hosts.

  16. Three Novel Herpesviruses of Endangered Clemmys and Glyptemys Turtles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ossiboff, Robert J.; Raphael, Bonnie L.; Ammazzalorso, Alyssa D.; Seimon, Tracie A.; Newton, Alisa L.; Chang, Tylis Y.; Zarate, Brian; Whitlock, Alison L.; McAloose, Denise

    2015-01-01

    The rich diversity of the world’s reptiles is at risk due to significant population declines of broad taxonomic and geographic scope. Significant factors attributed to these declines include habitat loss, pollution, unsustainable collection and infectious disease. To investigate the presence and significance of a potential pathogen on populations of critically endangered bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) as well sympatric endangered wood (G. insculpta) and endangered spotted (Clemmys guttata) turtles in the northeastern United States, choanal and cloacal swabs collected from 230 turtles from 19 sites in 5 states were screened for herpesvirus by polymerase chain reaction. We found a high incidence of herpesvirus infection in bog turtles (51.5%; 105/204) and smaller numbers of positive wood (5) and spotted (1) turtles. Sequence and phylogenetic analysis revealed three previously uncharacterized alphaherpesviruses. Glyptemys herpesvirus 1 was the predominant herpesvirus detected and was found exclusively in bog turtles in all states sampled. Glyptemys herpesvirus 2 was found only in wood turtles. Emydid herpesvirus 2 was found in a small number of bog turtles and a single spotted turtle from one state. Based on these findings, Glyptemys herpesvirus 1 appears to be a common infection in the study population, whereas Glyptemys herpesvirus 2 and Emydid herpesvirus 2 were not as frequently detected. Emydid herpesvirus 2 was the only virus detected in more than one species. Herpesviruses are most often associated with subclinical or mild infections in their natural hosts, and no sampled turtles showed overt signs of disease at sampling. However, infection of host-adapted viruses in closely related species can result in significant disease. The pathogenic potential of these viruses, particularly Emydid herpesvirus 2, in sympatric chelonians warrants additional study in order to better understand the relationship of these viruses with their endangered hosts. PMID

  17. Three novel herpesviruses of endangered Clemmys and Glyptemys turtles.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert J Ossiboff

    Full Text Available The rich diversity of the world's reptiles is at risk due to significant population declines of broad taxonomic and geographic scope. Significant factors attributed to these declines include habitat loss, pollution, unsustainable collection and infectious disease. To investigate the presence and significance of a potential pathogen on populations of critically endangered bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii as well sympatric endangered wood (G. insculpta and endangered spotted (Clemmys guttata turtles in the northeastern United States, choanal and cloacal swabs collected from 230 turtles from 19 sites in 5 states were screened for herpesvirus by polymerase chain reaction. We found a high incidence of herpesvirus infection in bog turtles (51.5%; 105/204 and smaller numbers of positive wood (5 and spotted (1 turtles. Sequence and phylogenetic analysis revealed three previously uncharacterized alphaherpesviruses. Glyptemys herpesvirus 1 was the predominant herpesvirus detected and was found exclusively in bog turtles in all states sampled. Glyptemys herpesvirus 2 was found only in wood turtles. Emydid herpesvirus 2 was found in a small number of bog turtles and a single spotted turtle from one state. Based on these findings, Glyptemys herpesvirus 1 appears to be a common infection in the study population, whereas Glyptemys herpesvirus 2 and Emydid herpesvirus 2 were not as frequently detected. Emydid herpesvirus 2 was the only virus detected in more than one species. Herpesviruses are most often associated with subclinical or mild infections in their natural hosts, and no sampled turtles showed overt signs of disease at sampling. However, infection of host-adapted viruses in closely related species can result in significant disease. The pathogenic potential of these viruses, particularly Emydid herpesvirus 2, in sympatric chelonians warrants additional study in order to better understand the relationship of these viruses with their endangered hosts.

  18. Hierarchical, quantitative biogeographic provinces for all North American turtles and their contribution to the biogeography of turtles and the continent

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ennen, Joshua R.; Matamoros, Wilfredo A.; Agha, Mickey; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Sweat, Sarah C.; Hoagstrom, Christopher W.

    2017-01-01

    Our study represents the first attempt to describe biogeographic provinces for North American (México, United States, and Canada) turtles. We analyzed three nested data sets separately: (1) all turtles, (2) freshwater turtles, and (3) aquatic turtles. We georeferenced North American turtle distributions, then we created presence–absence matrices for each of the three data sets. We used watershed unit as biogeographic units. We conducted an unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic mean clustering analysis on each Jaccard index distance matrix from our watershed species matrices to delineate biogeographic provinces. Provinces were then tested for significant differences in species compositions in a global model with the use of a one-way analysis of similarity. We conducted a best subset of environmental variables with maximum (rank) correlation with community dissimilarities that determined the best model of abiotic variables explaining province delineation (i.e., climate, topography, and stream channel). To identify which species contributed the most to province delineations, we conducted an indicator species analysis and a similarity-percentage analysis. There were 16 all-turtle provinces, 15 freshwater provinces, and 13 aquatic provinces. Species compositions delineating the provinces were explained by abiotic variables, including mean annual precipitation, mean precipitation seasonality, and diversity of streams. Province delineations correspond closely with geographical boundaries, many of which have Pleistocene origins. For example, rivers with a history of carrying glacial runoff (e.g., Arkansas, Mississippi) sometimes dissect upland provinces, especially for aquatic and semiaquatic turtles. Compared with freshwater fishes, turtles show greater sensitivity to decreased temperature with restriction of most taxa south of the last permafrost maximum. Turtles also exhibit higher sensitivity to climatic, geomorphic, and tectonic instability, with richness

  19. Invasion of the turtles? : exotic turtles in the Netherland: a risk assessment

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bugter, R.J.F.; Ottburg, F.G.W.A.; Roessink, I.; Jansman, H.A.H.; Grift, van der E.A.; Griffioen, A.J.

    2011-01-01

    The authors of this report assessed the risk of exotic turtles becoming invasive in the Netherlands. Main components of the risk are the large scale of introduction of discarded pets to Dutch nature and possible suitability of species to survive and reproduce successfully under present or future

  20. Mapping elements distribution in carapace of Caretta caretta: A strategy for biomonitoring contamination in sea turtles?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mattei, D.; Veschetti, E.; D’Ilio, S.; Blasi, M.F.

    2015-01-01

    Highlights: • We analyzed 11 elements in one carapace of Caretta caretta. • The distribution of the elements in carapace was studied. • Mapping elements as a strategy for biomonitoring contamination in sea turtles. • Some elements resulted representative for central and lateral areas of carapace. - Abstract: This study analyzed the carapace distribution of Ca, Cd, Cr, Cu, Mg, Mn, Pb, Sb, U, V and Zn by GF-AAS and ICP-AES in one specimen of Caretta caretta from Mediterranean Sea. Calcium, Mg, Mn, Pb, U, Zn were mainly distributed in the central area while Cd, Cr, Cu, Sb, V in lateral areas. Cadmium, Cr, Mg, Mn, Sb, U and V were different between lateral areas. The different distribution may be related to several exposures during lifetime and/or the shell ossification during growth. Carapace may be a suitable matrix for metal biomonitoring, however, further studies are required to confirm these findings

  1. Effectiveness of Chain Link Turtle Fence and Culverts in Reducing Turtle Mortality and Providing Connectivity along U.S. Hwy 83, Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, Nebraska, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    2017-12-01

    We evaluated the effectiveness of existing turtle fences through collecting and analyzing turtle mortality data along U.S. Hwy 83, in and around Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, Nebraska, USA. We also investigated the level of connectivity for tur...

  2. Quantitative genetics of plastron shape in slider turtles (Trachemys scripta).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Myers, Erin M; Janzen, Fredric J; Adams, Dean C; Tucker, John K

    2006-03-01

    Shape variation is widespread in nature and embodies both a response to and a source for evolution and natural selection. To detect patterns of shape evolution, one must assess the quantitative genetic underpinnings of shape variation as well as the selective environment that the organisms have experienced. Here we used geometric morphometrics to assess variation in plastron shell shape in 1314 neonatal slider turtles (Trachemys scripta) from 162 clutches of laboratory-incubated eggs from two nesting areas. Multivariate analysis of variance indicated that nesting area has a limited role in describing plastron shape variation among clutches, whereas differences between individual clutches were highly significant, suggesting a prominent clutch effect. The covariation between plastron shape and several possible maternal effect variables (yolk hormone levels and egg dimensions) was assessed for a subset of clutches and found to be negligible. We subsequently employed several recently proposed methods for estimating heritability from shape variables, and generalized a univariate approach to accommodate unequal sample sizes. Univariate estimates of shape heritability based on Procrustes distances yielded large values for both nesting populations (h2 approximately 0.86), and multivariate estimates of maximal additive heritability were also large for both nesting populations (h2max approximately 0.57). We also estimated the dominant trend in heritable shape change for each nesting population and found that the direction of shape evolution was not the same for the two sites. Therefore, although the magnitude of shape evolution was similar between nesting populations, the manner in which plastron shape is evolving is not. We conclude that the univariate approach for assessing quantitative genetic parameters from geometric morphometric data has limited utility, because it is unable to accurately describe how shape is evolving.

  3. Femoral head and neck excision arthroplasty in a leopard tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Naylor, Adam D

    2013-12-01

    Cases of femoral head and neck excision arthroplasty are infrequently reported in reptiles, and details of surgical technique and clinical outcome in chelonia are lacking. An adult female leopard tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis) was presented with chronic non-weight-bearing lameness of the left hind limb. Examination and radiography were consistent with coxofemoral luxation, and as a result of the chronic presentation, surgical intervention was recommended. A cranial approach to the joint via the prefemoral fossa afforded good surgical exposure. A depressed lytic acetabular lesion was noted during the procedure, postulated to be a result of abnormal wear from the luxated femoral head. A fiberglass prop was used during recovery to allow extension of the limb without full weight-bearing. Lameness persisted postoperatively, but limb usage significantly improved.

  4. Hosts, seasonality and geographic distribution of the South African tortoise tick, Amblyomma marmoreum

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I.G. Horak

    2006-09-01

    Full Text Available The tortoise tick Amblyomma marmoreum was collected from large numbers of reptiles and other animals during the course of numerous surveys conducted in South Africa. A total of 1 229 ticks, of which 550 were adults, were recovered from 309 reptiles belonging to 13 species, with leopard tortoises, Geochelone pardalis being the most heavily infested. The 269 birds sampled harboured 4 901 larvae, 217 nymphs and no adult ticks, and the prevalence of infestation was greatest on hel meted guinea fowls, Numida meleagris. Only two larvae were recovered from 610 rodents, including 31 spring hares, Pedetes capensis, whereas 1 144 other small mammals yielded 1 835 immature ticks, of which 1 655 were collected from 623 scrub hares, Lepus saxatilis. The 213 carnivores examined harboured 2 459 ticks of which none were adult. A single adult tick and 6 684 larvae and 62 nymphs were recovered from 656 large herbivores, and a total of 4 081 immature ticks and three adults were collected from 1 543 domestic animals and 194 humans. Adult male and female A. marmoreum were most numerous on reptiles during January and February, and larvae during March. The largest numbers of larvae were present on domestic cattle and helmeted guineafowls in the Eastern Cape Province during March or April respectively, whereas larvae were most numerous on helmeted guineafowls, scrub hares and the vegetation in north-eastern Mpumalanga Province during May. In both provinces nymphs were most numerous between October and December. Amblyomma marmoreum appears to be most prevalent in the western regions of the Western and Eastern Cape and Free State provinces, and the north-eastern regions of the Northern Cape, KwaZulu- Natal, Mpumulanga and Limpopo provinces.

  5. The role of turtles as coral reef macroherbivores

    KAUST Repository

    Goatley, Christopher H. R.

    2012-06-29

    Herbivory is widely accepted as a vital function on coral reefs. To date, the majority of studies examining herbivory in coral reef environments have focused on the roles of fishes and/or urchins, with relatively few studies considering the potential role of macroherbivores in reef processes. Here, we introduce evidence that highlights the potential role of marine turtles as herbivores on coral reefs. While conducting experimental habitat manipulations to assess the roles of herbivorous reef fishes we observed green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) showing responses that were remarkably similar to those of herbivorous fishes. Reducing the sediment load of the epilithic algal matrix on a coral reef resulted in a forty-fold increase in grazing by green turtles. Hawksbill turtles were also observed to browse transplanted thalli of the macroalga Sargassum swartzii in a coral reef environment. These responses not only show strong parallels to herbivorous reef fishes, but also highlight that marine turtles actively, and intentionally, remove algae from coral reefs. When considering the size and potential historical abundance of marine turtles we suggest that these potentially valuable herbivores may have been lost from many coral reefs before their true importance was understood. © 2012 Goatley et al.

  6. The role of turtles as coral reef macroherbivores

    KAUST Repository

    Goatley, Christopher H. R.; Hoey, Andrew; Bellwood, David R.

    2012-01-01

    Herbivory is widely accepted as a vital function on coral reefs. To date, the majority of studies examining herbivory in coral reef environments have focused on the roles of fishes and/or urchins, with relatively few studies considering the potential role of macroherbivores in reef processes. Here, we introduce evidence that highlights the potential role of marine turtles as herbivores on coral reefs. While conducting experimental habitat manipulations to assess the roles of herbivorous reef fishes we observed green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) showing responses that were remarkably similar to those of herbivorous fishes. Reducing the sediment load of the epilithic algal matrix on a coral reef resulted in a forty-fold increase in grazing by green turtles. Hawksbill turtles were also observed to browse transplanted thalli of the macroalga Sargassum swartzii in a coral reef environment. These responses not only show strong parallels to herbivorous reef fishes, but also highlight that marine turtles actively, and intentionally, remove algae from coral reefs. When considering the size and potential historical abundance of marine turtles we suggest that these potentially valuable herbivores may have been lost from many coral reefs before their true importance was understood. © 2012 Goatley et al.

  7. The role of turtles as coral reef macroherbivores.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher H R Goatley

    Full Text Available Herbivory is widely accepted as a vital function on coral reefs. To date, the majority of studies examining herbivory in coral reef environments have focused on the roles of fishes and/or urchins, with relatively few studies considering the potential role of macroherbivores in reef processes. Here, we introduce evidence that highlights the potential role of marine turtles as herbivores on coral reefs. While conducting experimental habitat manipulations to assess the roles of herbivorous reef fishes we observed green turtles (Chelonia mydas and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata showing responses that were remarkably similar to those of herbivorous fishes. Reducing the sediment load of the epilithic algal matrix on a coral reef resulted in a forty-fold increase in grazing by green turtles. Hawksbill turtles were also observed to browse transplanted thalli of the macroalga Sargassum swartzii in a coral reef environment. These responses not only show strong parallels to herbivorous reef fishes, but also highlight that marine turtles actively, and intentionally, remove algae from coral reefs. When considering the size and potential historical abundance of marine turtles we suggest that these potentially valuable herbivores may have been lost from many coral reefs before their true importance was understood.

  8. Marine turtles use geomagnetic cues during open-sea homing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luschi, Paolo; Benhamou, Simon; Girard, Charlotte; Ciccione, Stephane; Roos, David; Sudre, Joël; Benvenuti, Silvano

    2007-01-23

    Marine turtles are renowned long-distance navigators, able to reach remote targets in the oceanic environment; yet the sensory cues and navigational mechanisms they employ remain unclear [1, 3]. Recent arena experiments indicated an involvement of magnetic cues in juvenile turtles' homing ability after simulated displacements [4, 5], but the actual role of geomagnetic information in guiding turtles navigating in their natural environment has remained beyond the reach of experimental investigations. In the present experiment, twenty satellite-tracked green turtles (Chelonia mydas) were transported to four open-sea release sites 100-120 km from their nesting beach on Mayotte island in the Mozambique Channel; 13 of them had magnets attached to their head either during the outward journey or during the homing trip. All but one turtle safely returned to Mayotte to complete their egg-laying cycle, albeit with indirect routes, and showed a general inability to take into account the deflecting action of ocean currents as estimated through remote-sensing oceanographic measurements [7]. Magnetically treated turtles displayed a significant lengthening of their homing paths with respect to controls, either when treated during transportation or when treated during homing. These findings represent the first field evidence for the involvement of geomagnetic cues in sea-turtle navigation.

  9. Replication and persistence of VHSV IVb in freshwater turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goodwin, Andrew E; Merry, Gwenn E

    2011-05-09

    With the emergence of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) strain IVb in the Great Lakes of North America, hatchery managers have become concerned that this important pathogen could be transmitted by animals other than fish. Turtles are likely candidates because they are poikilotherms that feed on dead fish, but there are very few reports of rhabdovirus infections in reptiles and no reports of the fish rhabdoviruses in animals other than teleosts. We injected common snapping turtles Chelydra serpentine and red-eared sliders Trachemys scripta elegans intraperitoneally with 10(4) median tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50) of VHSV-IVb and 21 d later were able to detect the virus by quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (qrt-RTPCR) in pools of kidney, liver, and spleen. In a second experiment, snapping turtles, red-eared sliders, yellow-bellied sliders T. scripta scripta, and northern map turtles Grapetemys geographica at 14 degrees C were allowed to feed on tissues from bluegill dying of VHSV IVb disease. Turtle kidney, spleen, and brain pools were not positive by qrt-RTPCR on Day 3 post feeding, but were positive on Days 10 and 20. Map turtles on Day 20 post-feeding were positive by both qrt-RTPCR and by cell culture. Our work shows that turtles that consume infected fish are a possible vector for VHSV IVb, and that the fish rhabdoviruses may have a broader host range than previously suspected.

  10. Neuroanatomy of the marine Jurassic turtle Plesiochelys etalloni (Testudinata, Plesiochelyidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carabajal, Ariana Paulina; Sterli, Juliana; Müller, Johannes; Hilger, André

    2013-01-01

    Turtles are one of the least explored clades regarding endocranial anatomy with few available descriptions of the brain and inner ear of extant representatives. In addition, the paleoneurology of extinct turtles is poorly known and based on only a few natural cranial endocasts. The main goal of this study is to provide for the first time a detailed description of the neuroanatomy of an extinct turtle, the Late Jurassic Plesiochelysetalloni, including internal carotid circulation, cranial endocast and inner ear, based on the first digital 3D reconstruction using micro CT scans. The general shape of the cranial endocast of P. etalloni is tubular, with poorly marked cephalic and pontine flexures. Anteriorly, the olfactory bulbs are clearly differentiated suggesting larger bulbs than in any other described extinct or extant turtle, and indicating a higher capacity of olfaction in this taxon. The morphology of the inner ear of P. etalloni is comparable to that of extant turtles and resembles those of slow-moving terrestrial vertebrates, with markedly low, short and robust semicircular canals, and a reduced lagena. In P. etalloni the arterial pattern is similar to that found in extant cryptodires, where all the internal carotid branches are protected by bone. As the knowledge of paleoneurology in turtles is scarce and the application of modern techniques such as 3D reconstructions based on CT scans is almost unexplored in this clade, we hope this paper will trigger similar investigations of this type in other turtle taxa.

  11. Economic analysis of critical habitat designation for the desert tortoise (Mojave population)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schamberger, Mel; MacGillvray, Timothy J.; Draper, Dirk D.

    1993-01-01

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service emergency 1isted the Mojave population of the desert tortoise as endangered on August 4, 1989. The Mojave population formally was listed as threatened on April 2, 1990. The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, requires that the economic benefits and costs and other relevant effects of critical habitat designation be considered. The Secretary of the Interior may exclude from designation areas where the costs of designation are greater than the benefits, unless the exclusion would result in extinction of the species. Desert tortoises are threatened by an accumulation of human-and disease-related mortality accompanied by habitat destruction, degradation, and fragmentation. Many desert tortoises are illegally collected for pets, food, and commercial trade. Others are accidentally struck and killed by vehicles on roads and highways or are killed by gunshot or vehicles traveling off-highway. Raven predation on hatchling desert tortoises has increased as raven populations in the desert have risen. An upper respiratory tract disease is suspected to be a major cause of mortality in the western Mojave Desert. This presumably incurable affliction presumably is thought to be spread through the release of infected tortoises into the desert. The Service has proposed designating critical habitat in nine counties within four states. The 12 critical habitat units encompass 6.4 million acres of land, more than 80% federally owned. This region is economically and demographically diverse. Most of the land is sparsely settled and characterized as a hot desert ecosystem. Major industries in the region include entertainment and lodging (primarily in Las Vegas), property development to accommodate the rapid population growth, and services. Millions of rural acres in the region are leased by the federal government for livestock grazing and used for mining. Overall economic benefits to the affected states derived from cattle and sheep grazing in the

  12. Administering of I-125 preparation from blood of tortoise into organs of rats with experimental ovarian carcinoma

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Alexandrov, V.V.

    2006-01-01

    Full text: Complexes of substances of the peptide nature, received mainly from lymphoid bodies that normalize immune processes, are offered. The preparation 'Tortesin' can be related to this group. Tortesin is a drug isolated from the blood cells of the Central Asian tortoise, an animal with a unique radioresistance (LD 5 0 = 100 Gy). During a short spring the tissues of tortoises produce biogenetic stimulators that can positively affect the organisms of irradiated animals. Tortesin acts by stimulating haemo- and immunopoietic systems and aids in recovery from radiation exposure. Thus, at animals treated with Tortesin, DNA and RNA synthesis in the bone marrow was enhanced, both antibody forming cells number and spleenic size increased, and haemopoietic parameters normalized. The survival rate also increased. That is why the determination of the point of initial application of the preparation is an important scientific objective. The research with the use of 125 I was carried out for this purpose. The labeling was conducted via reaction with chloramine T. The preparation 125 I issued by 'Radiopreparat' (Tashkent) was used. After the purification by chromatography the activity of 1000 impulse/min by 1 μg of protein was got. The experiment was carried out in the Center of oncology and radiology Republic of Uzbekistan. The including of the marker was being determined in young rats at the age of 1 month with an experimental ovarian carcinoma in 15 min, 1 hour and 1 day after the injection. The preparation was injected into the tail vein. The following 22 organs were examined: blood, ascitic fluid with cells, ascitic fluid without cells, tumor, liver, spleen, stomach, bowels, lungs, heart, testicles, kidneys, cerebral, marrow, thymus, fat, muscles, skin, thyroid gland, thigh-bone, tail, excrements. The results can be classified into three groups. The first group of organs (heart, cerebral, cells from tumor, thigh-bone, marrow, thyroid gland, thymus,) do not include the

  13. Predaceous ants, beach replenishment, and nest placement by sea turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wetterer, James K; Wood, Lawrence D; Johnson, Chris; Krahe, Holly; Fitchett, Stephanie

    2007-10-01

    Ants known for attacking and killing hatchling birds and reptiles include the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren), tropical fire ant [Solenopsis geminata (Fabr.)], and little fire ant [Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger)]. We tested whether sea turtle nest placement influenced exposure to predaceous ants. In 2000 and 2001, we surveyed ants along a Florida beach where green turtles (Chelonia mydas L.), leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea Vandelli), and loggerheads (Caretta caretta L.) nest. Part of the beach was artificially replenished between our two surveys. As a result, mean beach width experienced by nesting turtles differed greatly between the two nesting seasons. We surveyed 1,548 sea turtle nests (2000: 909 nests; 2001: 639 nests) and found 22 ant species. S. invicta was by far the most common species (on 431 nests); S. geminata and W. auropunctata were uncommon (on 3 and 16 nests, respectively). In 2000, 62.5% of nests had ants present (35.9% with S. invicta), but in 2001, only 30.5% of the nests had ants present (16.4% with S. invicta). Turtle nests closer to dune vegetation had significantly greater exposure to ants. Differences in ant presence on turtle nests between years and among turtle species were closely related to differences in nest placement relative to dune vegetation. Beach replenishment significantly lowered exposure of nests to ants because on the wider beaches turtles nested farther from the dune vegetation. Selective pressures on nesting sea turtles are altered both by the presence of predaceous ants and the practice of beach replenishment.

  14. Phylogenetic relationships among extinct and extant turtles: the position of Pleurodira and the effects of the fossils on rooting crown-group turtles

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sterli, J.

    2010-01-01

    The origin and evolution of the crown-group of turtles (Cryptodira + Pleurodira) is one of the most interesting topics in turtle evolution, second perhaps only to the phylogenetic position of turtles among amniotes. The present contribution focuses on the former problem, exploring the phylogenetic

  15. Cutaneous fibroma in a captive common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonzales-Viera, O; Bauer, G; Bauer, A; Aguiar, L S; Brito, L T; Catão-Dias, J L

    2012-11-01

    An adult female common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) had a mass on the plantar surface of the right forelimb that was removed surgically. Microscopical examination revealed many spindle cells with mild anisocytosis and anisokaryosis and a surrounding collagenous stroma. There were no mitoses. Immunohistochemistry showed that the spindle cells expressed vimentin, but not desmin. A diagnosis of cutaneous fibroma was made. Tumours are reported uncommonly in chelonian species. Cutaneous fibroma has been diagnosed in an alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii), but not previously in a common snapping turtle. Crown Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Olfaction-based Detection Distance: A Quantitative Analysis of How Far Away Dogs Recognize Tortoise Odor and Follow It to Source

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cindee Valentin

    2008-03-01

    Full Text Available The use of detector dogs has been demonstrated to be effective and safe for finding Mojave desert tortoises and provides certain advantages over humans in field surveys. Unlike humans who rely on visual cues for target identification, dogs use primarily olfactory cues and can therefore locate targets that are not visually obvious. One of the key benefits of surveying with dogs is their efficiency at covering ground and their ability to detect targets from long distances. Dogs may investigate potential targets using visual cues but confirm the presence of a target based on scent. Everything that emits odor does so via vapor-phase molecules and the components comprising a particular scent are carried primarily though bulk movement of the atmosphere. It is the ability to search for target odor and then go to its source that makes dogs ideal for rapid target recognition in the field setting. Using tortoises as targets, we quantified distances that dogs detected tortoise scent, followed it to source, and correctly identified tortoises as targets. Detection distance data were collected during experimental trials with advanced global positioning system (GPS technology and then analyzed using geographic information system (GIS modeling techniques. Detection distances ranged from 0.5 m to 62.8 m for tortoises on the surface. We did not observe bias with tortoise size, age class, sex or the degree to which tortoises were handled prior to being found by the dogs. The methodology we developed to quantify olfaction-based detection distance using dogs can be applied to other targets that dogs are trained to find.

  17. Not putting all their eggs in one basket: bet-hedging despite extraordinary annual reproductive output of desert tortoises

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Ennen, Joshua R.; Yackulic, Charles B.; Meyer-Wilkins, Kathie; Agha, Mickey; Loughran, Caleb L.; Bjurlin, Curtis; Austin, Meaghan; Madrak, Sheila V.

    2015-01-01

    Bet-hedging theory makes the counter-intuitive prediction that, if juvenile survival is low and unpredictable, organisms should consistently reduce short-term reproductive output to minimize the risk of reproductive failure in the long-term. We investigated the long-term reproductive output of an Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) population and conformance to a bet-hedging strategy of reproduction in an unpredictable but comparatively productive environment. Most females reproduced every year, even during periods of low precipitation and poor germination of food plants, and the mean percentage of reproducing females did not differ significantly on an annual basis. Although mean annual egg production (clutch size × clutch frequency) differed significantly among years, mean clutch size and mean clutch frequency remained relatively constant. During an El Niño year, mean annual egg production and mean annual clutch frequency were the highest ever reported for this species. Annual egg production was positively influenced by maternal body size but clutch size and clutch frequency were not. Our long-term results confirm earlier conclusions based on short-term research that desert tortoises have a bet-hedging strategy of producing small clutches almost every year. The risk of long-term reproductive failure is minimized in unpredictable environments, both through time by annually producing multiple small clutches over a long reproductive lifespan, even in years of low resource availability, and through space by depositing multiple annual clutches in different locations. The extraordinary annual reproductive output of this population appears to be the result of a typically high but unpredictable biomass of annual food plants at the site relative to tortoise habitat in dryer regions. Under the comparatively productive but unpredictable conditions, tortoises conform to predictions of a bet-hedging strategy of reproduction with relatively small but consistent

  18. Radiotelemetry Study of a Desert Tortoise Population: Sand Hill Training Mea, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-05-01

    shallow caliche burrows. Mojave populations differ genetically ( Lamb et al. 1989), morphologically (Weinstein and Berry 1987), in burrow construction...34 Abstract in The Desert Tortoise Council Symposium (1995d), p 92. Lamb , T., J.C. Avise, and J.W. Gibbons, "Phylogeographic Patterns in Mitochondrial...ATTN: STEWS -EL US Army Envr Hygiene Agency ATTN:HSHB-ME 21010 US Army Environmental Center ATTN: SFIM-AEC 21010-5401 Defense Tech Info Center

  19. The influence of U-2 fraction of a tortoise spleen extract on the formation of ectopic locus of haemopoiesis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Turdyev, A.A.; Prus, E.K.; Basova, A.R.

    1990-01-01

    The implantation of a bone marrow fragment of intact mouse donors below the kidney capsule of irradiated (7 Gy) recipients leads to the formation of the haemopoiesis locus that somewhat exceeds, by mass and cellularity, the new-formed locus of control animals. The U-2 fraction of a tortoise spleen extract administered to recipients irradiated with the same dose increases the mass and cellularity of the haemopoiesis locus by 2.2 and 4.9 times respectively

  20. Impacts of plastic ingestion on post-hatchling loggerhead turtles off South Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ryan, Peter G; Cole, Georgina; Spiby, Kevin; Nel, Ronel; Osborne, Alexis; Perold, Vonica

    2016-06-15

    Twenty-four of 40 (60%) loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta post-hatchlings (carapaceTurtles selected for white (38%) and blue (19%) items, but translucent items (23%) were under-represented compared to beach mesodebris. Ingested loads did not decrease up to 52days in captivity, indicating long retention times. Plastic killed 11 turtles by blocking their digestive tracts or bladders, and contributed to the deaths of five other turtles. Our results indicate that the amount and diversity of plastic ingested by post-hatchling loggerhead turtles off South Africa have increased over the last four decades, and now kill some turtles. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Transcriptomic responses to environmental temperature by turtles with temperature-dependent and genotypic sex determination assessed by RNAseq inform the genetic architecture of embryonic gonadal development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Radhakrishnan, Srihari; Literman, Robert; Neuwald, Jennifer; Severin, Andrew; Valenzuela, Nicole

    2017-01-01

    Vertebrate sexual fate is decided primarily by the individual's genotype (GSD), by the environmental temperature during development (TSD), or both. Turtles exhibit TSD and GSD, making them ideal to study the evolution of sex determination. Here we analyze temperature-specific gonadal transcriptomes (RNA-sequencing validated by qPCR) of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta TSD) before and during the thermosensitive period, and at equivalent stages in soft-shell turtles (Apalone spinifera-GSD), to test whether TSD's and GSD's transcriptional circuitry is identical but deployed differently between mechanisms. Our data show that most elements of the mammalian urogenital network are active during turtle gonadogenesis, but their transcription is generally more thermoresponsive in TSD than GSD, and concordant with their sex-specific function in mammals [e.g., upregulation of Amh, Ar, Esr1, Fog2, Gata4, Igf1r, Insr, and Lhx9 at male-producing temperature, and of β-catenin, Foxl2, Aromatase (Cyp19a1), Fst, Nf-kb, Crabp2 at female-producing temperature in Chrysemys]. Notably, antagonistic elements in gonadogenesis (e.g., β-catenin and Insr) were thermosensitive only in TSD early-embryos. Cirbp showed warm-temperature upregulation in both turtles disputing its purported key TSD role. Genes that may convert thermal inputs into sex-specific development (e.g., signaling and hormonal pathways, RNA-binding and heat-shock) were differentially regulated. Jak-Stat, Nf-κB, retinoic-acid, Wnt, and Mapk-signaling (not Akt and Ras-signaling) potentially mediate TSD thermosensitivity. Numerous species-specific ncRNAs (including Xist) were differentially-expressed, mostly upregulated at colder temperatures, as were unannotated loci that constitute novel TSD candidates. Cirbp showed warm-temperature upregulation in both turtles. Consistent transcription between turtles and alligator revealed putatively-critical reptilian TSD elements for male (Sf1, Amh, Amhr2) and female (Crabp2 and Hspb1

  2. Transcriptomic responses to environmental temperature by turtles with temperature-dependent and genotypic sex determination assessed by RNAseq inform the genetic architecture of embryonic gonadal development.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Srihari Radhakrishnan

    Full Text Available Vertebrate sexual fate is decided primarily by the individual's genotype (GSD, by the environmental temperature during development (TSD, or both. Turtles exhibit TSD and GSD, making them ideal to study the evolution of sex determination. Here we analyze temperature-specific gonadal transcriptomes (RNA-sequencing validated by qPCR of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta TSD before and during the thermosensitive period, and at equivalent stages in soft-shell turtles (Apalone spinifera-GSD, to test whether TSD's and GSD's transcriptional circuitry is identical but deployed differently between mechanisms. Our data show that most elements of the mammalian urogenital network are active during turtle gonadogenesis, but their transcription is generally more thermoresponsive in TSD than GSD, and concordant with their sex-specific function in mammals [e.g., upregulation of Amh, Ar, Esr1, Fog2, Gata4, Igf1r, Insr, and Lhx9 at male-producing temperature, and of β-catenin, Foxl2, Aromatase (Cyp19a1, Fst, Nf-kb, Crabp2 at female-producing temperature in Chrysemys]. Notably, antagonistic elements in gonadogenesis (e.g., β-catenin and Insr were thermosensitive only in TSD early-embryos. Cirbp showed warm-temperature upregulation in both turtles disputing its purported key TSD role. Genes that may convert thermal inputs into sex-specific development (e.g., signaling and hormonal pathways, RNA-binding and heat-shock were differentially regulated. Jak-Stat, Nf-κB, retinoic-acid, Wnt, and Mapk-signaling (not Akt and Ras-signaling potentially mediate TSD thermosensitivity. Numerous species-specific ncRNAs (including Xist were differentially-expressed, mostly upregulated at colder temperatures, as were unannotated loci that constitute novel TSD candidates. Cirbp showed warm-temperature upregulation in both turtles. Consistent transcription between turtles and alligator revealed putatively-critical reptilian TSD elements for male (Sf1, Amh, Amhr2 and female (Crabp2 and

  3. The Vertebral Formula of the African Sideneck Turtle ( Pelusios ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Pelusios castaneus), was carried out with the view of deriving its vertebral formula which could be useful in the comparative systematic anatomy of sea and freshwater turtles as well as in paleontological and archaeological investigations. A total ...

  4. Summary of bacteria found in captive sea turtles 2002-Present

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The database contains a summary of bacteria which have been isolated in sea turtles dead and alive at the NOAA Galveston Laboratory and is based on reports received...

  5. Monthly morphometric data on captive loggerhead sea turtles 1995-present

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The database contains monthly measurements taken on captive reared sea turtles. Measurements include: straight carapace length nuchal notch to carapace tip, straight...

  6. Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Research Collection (MMASTR)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla houses one of the largest marine mammal and marine turtle sample collections in the world, with over 140,000...

  7. Gulf of Mexico Kemps ridley sea turtle age and growth

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This study involves analysis of skeletal growth marks in humerus bones of 333 Kemps ridley sea turtles stranded dead along the Gulf of Mexico US coast (hatchling to...

  8. Western Pond Turtle Observations - Region 1 [ds313

    Data.gov (United States)

    California Natural Resource Agency — This dataset was developed in an effort to compile Western Pond Turtle (Clemmys marmorata) observations in CDFG Region 1. Steve Burton (CDFG Staff Environmental...

  9. Conservation of freshwater turtles in Amazonia: retrospective and future prospects

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aderson de Souza Alcântara

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available This paper aims to discuss the current status of conservation of freshwater turtles of the Amazon and the absence of the genus Podocnemis the Official List of Species of Brazilian Fauna Threatened with Extinction. Amazonian turtles are used as food by indigenous people and fisherman communities. However, fishing of adult females, uncontrolled egg collecting, habitat degradation and trafficking in wildlife have caused the decline of these populations. Nevertheless, Podocnemis expansa and Podocnemis unifilis were not included in the Brazil’s official list of animals threatened. Therefore, the turtles remain at great risk, due to the intense pressure that they are suffering. It is recommended that the criteria and the conservation status are reviewed including those animals in the category of vulnerable and to ensure a thorough review and modification in the current Brazilian law to be covered studies and management of turtles for subsistence, respecting and adding value to way of life of Amazonian peoples.

  10. Diatoms on the carapace of common snapping turtles: Luticola spp. dominate despite spatial variation in assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shelly C Wu

    Full Text Available Filamentous algae are often visible on the carapaces of freshwater turtles and these algae are dominated by a few species with varying geographic distributions. Compared to filamentous algae, little is known about the much more speciose microalgae on turtles. Our objectives were to compare the diatom flora on a single turtle species (the common snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina across part of its range to examine spatial patterns and determine whether specific diatom taxa were consistently associated with turtles (as occurs in the filamentous alga Basicladia spp.. Using preserved turtle specimens from museums, we systematically sampled diatoms on the carapaces of 25 snapping turtles across five states. The diverse diatom assemblages formed two groups-the southern Oklahoma group and the northern Illinois/Wisconsin/New York group, with Arkansas not differing from either group. Of the six diatom species found in all five states, four species are widespread, whereas Luticola cf. goeppertiana and L. cf. mutica are undescribed species, known only from turtles in our study. L. cf. goeppertiana comprised 83% of the diatom abundance on Oklahoma turtles and was relatively more abundant on southern turtles (Oklahoma and Arkansas than on northern turtles (where mean abundance/state was > 10%. L. cf. mutica was the most abundant species (40% on New York turtles. Some Luticola species are apparently turtle associates and results support a pattern of spatial variation in Luticola species, similar to that in Basicladia. Using museum specimens is an efficient and effective method to study the distribution of micro-epibionts.

  11. Diatoms on the carapace of common snapping turtles: Luticola spp. dominate despite spatial variation in assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Shelly C.; Bergey, Elizabeth A.

    2017-01-01

    Filamentous algae are often visible on the carapaces of freshwater turtles and these algae are dominated by a few species with varying geographic distributions. Compared to filamentous algae, little is known about the much more speciose microalgae on turtles. Our objectives were to compare the diatom flora on a single turtle species (the common snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina) across part of its range to examine spatial patterns and determine whether specific diatom taxa were consistently associated with turtles (as occurs in the filamentous alga Basicladia spp.). Using preserved turtle specimens from museums, we systematically sampled diatoms on the carapaces of 25 snapping turtles across five states. The diverse diatom assemblages formed two groups–the southern Oklahoma group and the northern Illinois/Wisconsin/New York group, with Arkansas not differing from either group. Of the six diatom species found in all five states, four species are widespread, whereas Luticola cf. goeppertiana and L. cf. mutica are undescribed species, known only from turtles in our study. L. cf. goeppertiana comprised 83% of the diatom abundance on Oklahoma turtles and was relatively more abundant on southern turtles (Oklahoma and Arkansas) than on northern turtles (where mean abundance/state was > 10%). L. cf. mutica was the most abundant species (40%) on New York turtles. Some Luticola species are apparently turtle associates and results support a pattern of spatial variation in Luticola species, similar to that in Basicladia. Using museum specimens is an efficient and effective method to study the distribution of micro-epibionts. PMID:28192469

  12. Tick (Amblyomma chabaudi) infestation of endemic tortoises in southwest Madagascar and investigation of tick-borne pathogens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ehlers, Julian; Ganzhorn, Jörg U; Silaghi, Cornelia; Krüger, Andreas; Pothmann, Daniela; Ratovonamana, R Yedidya; Veit, Alexandra; Keller, Christian; Poppert, Sven

    2016-03-01

    Little is known about the role of endemic ticks as vectors for bacterial and protozoan pathogens for animals and humans in Madagascar and their interaction in anthropogenic habitats where humans, their livestock and native Malagasy species (vectors and hosts) come into more frequent contact than in natural forest ecosystems. The aims of the study were (1) to test whether habitat degradation is associated with increased infestation of tortoises by ticks and (2) to investigate whether ticks carried Babesia, Borrelia or Rickettsia species that might be pathogenic for humans and livestock. We studied hard ticks of two endemic Malagasy tortoises, Astrochelys radiata and Pyxis arachnoides in March and April 2013 in southwest Madagascar. Two tortoise habitats were compared, the National Park of Tsimanampetsotsa and the adjacent degraded pasture and agricultural land at the end of the wet season. Ticks were screened for protozoan and bacterial pathogens via PCR on DNA isolated from ticks using genus-specific primers. Only one out of 42 A. radiata collected from both habitats had ticks. The low prevalence did not allow further analyses of the effect of habitat degradation. Forty-two P. arachnoides were found in the anthropogenic habitat and 36 individuals in the national park. Tick infestation rates of P. arachnoides differed significantly between the two study sites. Tortoises inside the park had lower tick prevalence than outside (8 of 36 (22%) versus 32 of 42 individuals (76%)) and infected animals tended to have fewer ticks inside than outside the park. All ticks collected in both habitats were adults of the ixodid tick Amblyomma chabaudi, which is supposed to be a host-specific tick of P. arachnoides. Screening for Borrelia sp. and Babesia sp. was negative in all ticks. But all A. chabaudi ticks were infected with Rickettsia africae, known to cause spotted fever in humans. Thus, habitat degradation seems to be linked to higher infestation of tortoises with ticks with

  13. Turbines and Terrestrial Vertebrates: Variation in Tortoise Survivorship Between a Wind Energy Facility and an Adjacent Undisturbed Wildland Area in the Desert Southwest (USA).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agha, Mickey; Lovich, Jeffrey E; Ennen, Joshua R; Augustine, Benjamin; Arundel, Terence R; Murphy, Mason O; Meyer-Wilkins, Kathie; Bjurlin, Curtis; Delaney, David; Briggs, Jessica; Austin, Meaghan; Madrak, Sheila V; Price, Steven J

    2015-08-01

    With the recent increase in utility-scale wind energy development, researchers have become increasingly concerned how this activity will affect wildlife and their habitat. To understand the potential impacts of wind energy facilities (WEF) post-construction (i.e., operation and maintenance) on wildlife, we compared differences in activity centers and survivorship of Agassiz's desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) inside or near a WEF to neighboring tortoises living near a wilderness area (NWA) and farther from the WEF. We found that the size of tortoise activity centers varied, but not significantly so, between the WEF (6.25 ± 2.13 ha) and adjacent NWA (4.13 ± 1.23 ha). However, apparent survival did differ significantly between the habitat types: over the 18-year study period apparent annual survival estimates were 0.96 ± 0.01 for WEF tortoises and 0.92 ± 0.02 for tortoises in the NWA. High annual survival suggests that operation and maintenance of the WEF has not caused considerable declines in the adult population over the past two decades. Low traffic volume, enhanced resource availability, and decreased predator populations may influence annual survivorship at this WEF. Further research on these proximate mechanisms and population recruitment would be useful for mitigating and managing post-development impacts of utility-scale wind energy on long-lived terrestrial vertebrates.

  14. Saving turtles: Talisman, Elf and BHP make room for reptiles

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lorenz, A.

    1999-05-03

    Cooperation between Australia`s BHP Petroleum, Canada`s Talisman Energy and France`s El Aquitaine to help the Trinidadian government and conservation groups to save the nesting grounds of the Carribean sea turtle is described. The nesting ground is located near one of the projects the three companies are working on. The giant turtle, also called the leatherback, can weigh as much as a tonne and have a 2.4 metre flipper span, have their nesting places on Trinidad`s northeastern shore. The three companies are working in 36 metres of water opposite two of the turtles` last nesting places. Had the companies proceeded as planned, the project could have destroyed their nesting place. Instead, the companies put up $90,000 for a three-month research project to monitor the movement of the turtles with satellite telemetry. In order to assess the turtles` hearing, tiny wires were inserted in the the turtles` brain to measure brain wave patterns - a method similar to that used on human neo-natals. When it was discovered that the turtles did not adapt well to captivity, they were fitted with earphones and transmitter during 10-minute period when they were in the quiescent state of egg-laying. The companies proceeded with a seismic program that used cables on the sea floor. Rather than use a large and noisy survey vessel to lay long streamers on a wide area, they laid shorter strips on a grid with smaller, quieter boats. That was sufficient for the turtles to continue normal activity as females arrived on the beach in the usual numbers to nest and to lay eggs. The documentation provided to the Trinidadian government was well received and plans are afoot to use it as a benchmark in assessing future exploratory applications within Trinidadian jurisdiction.

  15. Abundance of juvenile eastern box turtles in manages forest stands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Z. Felix; Y. Wang; H. Czech; C. Schweitzer

    2008-01-01

    Between 2002 and 2005, we used drift fences and artificial pools to sample juvenile eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina) in northeastern Alabama in forest stands experimentally treated to retain various amounts of overstory trees—clear-cuts and those with 25%–50% and 75%–100% of trees retained.We captured juvenile turtles only in clear-cut and 25%–50% retention...

  16. Demographic evidence of illegal harvesting of an endangered asian turtle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sung, Yik-Hei; Karraker, Nancy E; Hau, Billy C H

    2013-12-01

    Harvesting pressure on Asian freshwater turtles is severe, and dramatic population declines of these turtles are being driven by unsustainable collection for food markets, pet trade, and traditional Chinese medicine. Populations of big-headed turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) have declined substantially across its distribution, particularly in China, because of overcollection. To understand the effects of chronic harvesting pressure on big-headed turtle populations, we examined the effects of illegal harvesting on the demography of populations in Hong Kong, where some populations still exist. We used mark-recapture methods to compare demographic characteristics between sites with harvesting histories and one site in a fully protected area. Sites with a history of illegal turtle harvesting were characterized by the absence of large adults and skewed ratios of juveniles to adults, which may have negative implications for the long-term viability of populations. These sites also had lower densities of adults and smaller adult body sizes than the protected site. Given that populations throughout most of the species' range are heavily harvested and individuals are increasingly difficult to find in mainland China, the illegal collection of turtles from populations in Hong Kong may increase over time. Long-term monitoring of populations is essential to track effects of illegal collection, and increased patrolling is needed to help control illegal harvesting of populations, particularly in national parks. Because few, if any, other completely protected populations remain in the region, our data on an unharvested population of big-headed turtles serve as an important reference for assessing the negative consequences of harvesting on populations of stream turtles. Evidencia Demográfica de la Captura Ilegal de una Tortuga Asiática en Peligro. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology.

  17. Hydrogeology and water quality of the Shell Valley Aquifer, Rolette County, North Dakota

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strobel, M.L.

    1997-01-01

    The Shell Valley aquifer is the sole source of water for the city of Belcourt and the primary source of water for most of the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians is concerned about the quantity and quality of water in the Shell Valley aquifer, which underlies about 56 square miles in central Rolette County and has an average saturated thickness of about 35 feet. Water levels across most of the Shell Valley aquifer fluctuate with variations in precipitation but generally are stable. Withdrawals from the north well field decreased slightly during 1976-95, but withdrawals from the south well field increased during 1983-95. Water levels in the south well field declined as withdrawals increased. The average decline during the last 8 years was about 1.75 feet per year. The water level has reached the well screen in at least one of the production wells. Most of the water in the aquifer is a bicarbonate type and has dissolved-solids concentrations ranging from 479 to 1,510 milligrams per liter. None of the samples analyzed had detectable concentrations of pesticides, but hydrocarbons were detected in both ground- and surfacewater samples. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were the most frequently detected hydrocarbons. Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), and pentachlorophenol (PCP) also were detected.Generally, the Shell Valley aquifer is an adequate source of water for current needs, but evaluation of withdrawals in relation to a knowledge of aquifer hydrology would be important in quantifying sustainable water supplies. Water quality in the aquifer generally is good; the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians filters the water to reduce concentrations of dissolved constituents. Hydrocarbons, although present in the aquifer, have not been quantified and may not pose a general health risk. Further analysis of the quantity and distribution of the hydrocarbons would be useful

  18. Hydrodynamic role of longitudinal ridges in a leatherback turtle swimming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bang, Kyeongtae; Kim, Jooha; Lee, Sang-Im; Choi, Haecheon

    2015-11-01

    The leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), the fastest swimmer and the deepest diver among marine turtles, has five longitudinal ridges on its carapace. These ridges are the most remarkable morphological features distinguished from other marine turtles. To investigate the hydrodynamic role of these ridges in the leatherback turtle swimming, we model a carapace with and without ridges by using three dimensional surface data of a stuffed leatherback turtle in the National Science Museum, Korea. The experiment is conducted in a wind tunnel in the ranges of the real leatherback turtle's Reynolds number (Re) and angle of attack (α). The longitudinal ridges function differently according to the flow condition (i.e. Re and α). At low Re and negative α that represent the swimming condition of hatchlings and juveniles, the ridges significantly decrease the drag by generating streamwise vortices and delaying the main separation. On the other hand, at high Re and positive α that represent the swimming condition of adults, the ridges suppress the laminar separation bubble near the front part by generating streamwise vortices and enhance the lift and lift-to-drag ratio. Supported by the NRF program (2011-0028032).

  19. Estimation of survival rates and abundance of green turtles along the U.S. West Coast

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — To determine abundance and survival rates of the east Pacific green turtles in the northern most foraging grounds, the turtle research groups at SWFSC have been...

  20. 77 FR 60637 - Western Pacific Pelagic Fisheries; Revised Limits on Sea Turtle Interactions in the Hawaii...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-10-04

    ..., effect on the loggerhead sea turtle population. This meets the regulatory definition of an action that is...: Hawaii's sea turtles and monk seals are important for tourism, because people enjoy diving and swimming...

  1. Applying new genetic approaches to improve quality of population assessment of green and loggerhead turtles

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — As the NOAA-Fisheries? National Sea Turtle Genetics Lab, the SWFSC Marine Turtle Genetics Program has the lead responsibility for generating, analyzing and...

  2. LEGACY - Photographs resulting from experiment remote camera viewing of sea turtles and habitats

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Photos collected in marine turtle research programs are diverse, ranging from isolated observations of incidental encounters with turtles to voluminous, complex...

  3. The feeding habit of sea turtles influences their reaction to artificial marine debris

    OpenAIRE

    Takuya Fukuoka; Misaki Yamane; Chihiro Kinoshita; Tomoko Narazaki; Greg J. Marshall; Kyler J. Abernathy; Nobuyuki Miyazaki; Katsufumi Sato

    2016-01-01

    Ingestion of artificial debris is considered as a significant stress for wildlife including sea turtles. To investigate how turtles react to artificial debris under natural conditions, we deployed animal-borne video cameras on loggerhead and green turtles in addition to feces and gut contents analyses from 2007 to 2015. Frequency of occurrences of artificial debris in feces and gut contents collected from loggerhead turtles were 35.7% (10/28) and 84.6% (11/13), respectively. Artificial debris...

  4. Sea Turtle Bycatch Mitigation in U.S. Longline Fisheries

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yonat Swimmer

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Capture of sea turtles in longline fisheries has been implicated in population declines of loggerhead (Caretta caretta and leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea turtles. Since 2004, United States (U.S. longline vessels targeting swordfish and tunas in the Pacific and regions in the Atlantic Ocean have operated under extensive fisheries regulations to reduce the capture and mortality of endangered and threatened sea turtles. We analyzed 20+ years of longline observer data from both ocean basins during periods before and after the regulations to assess the effectiveness of the regulations. Using generalized additive mixed models (GAMMs, we investigated relationships between the probability of expected turtle interactions and operational components such as fishing location, hook type, bait type, sea surface temperature, and use of light sticks. GAMMs identified a two to three-fold lower probability of expected capture of loggerhead and leatherback turtle bycatch in the Atlantic and Pacific when circle hooks are used (vs. J hook. Use of fish bait (vs. squid was also found to significantly reduce the capture probability of loggerheads in both ocean basins, and for leatherbacks in the Atlantic only. Capture probabilities are lowest when using a combination of circle hook and fish bait. Influences of light sticks, hook depth, geographic location, and sea surface temperature are discussed specific to species and regions. Results confirmed that in two U.S.-managed longline fisheries, rates of sea turtle bycatch significantly declined after the regulations. In the Atlantic (all regions, rates declined by 40 and 61% for leatherback and loggerhead turtles, respectively, after the regulations. Within the NED area alone, where additional restrictions include a large circle hook (18/0 and limited use of squid bait, rates declined by 64 and 55% for leatherback and loggerhead turtles, respectively. Gains were even more pronounced for the Pacific shallow set fishery

  5. Coal option. [Shell Co

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    1978-01-01

    This paper notes the necessity of developing an international coal trade on a very large scale. The role of Shell in the coal industry is examined; the regions in which Shell companies are most active are Australia, Southern Africa, Indonesia; Europe and North America. Research is being carried out on marketing and transportation, especially via slurry pipelines; coal-oil emulsions; briquets; fluidized-bed combustion; recovery of coal from potential waste material; upgrading of low-rank coals; unconventional forms of mining; coal conversion (the Shell/Koppers high-pressure coal gasification process). Techniques for cleaning flue gas (the Shell Flue Gas Desulfurization process) are being examined.

  6. Shell-like structures

    CERN Document Server

    Altenbach, Holm

    2011-01-01

    In this volume, scientists and researchers from industry discuss the new trends in simulation and computing shell-like structures. The focus is put on the following problems: new theories (based on two-dimensional field equations but describing non-classical effects), new constitutive equations (for materials like sandwiches, foams, etc. and which can be combined with the two-dimensional shell equations), complex structures (folded, branching and/or self intersecting shell structures, etc.) and shell-like structures on different scales (for example: nano-tubes) or very thin structures (similar

  7. 77 FR 31062 - Programs To Reduce Incidental Capture of Sea Turtles in Shrimp Fisheries; Certifications Pursuant...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-05-24

    ... DEPARTMENT OF STATE [Public Notice 7894] Programs To Reduce Incidental Capture of Sea Turtles in... programs to reduce the incidental capture of sea turtles in their shrimp fisheries comparable to the... other countries and one economy do not pose a threat of the incidental taking of sea turtles protected...

  8. 78 FR 66841 - Turtles Intrastate and Interstate Requirements; Confirmation of Effective Date

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-07

    ... DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 1240 [Docket No. FDA-2013-N-0639] Turtles Intrastate and Interstate Requirements; Confirmation of Effective Date AGENCY... turtle eggs and live turtles with a carapace length of less than 4 inches to remove procedures for...

  9. 50 CFR 224.104 - Special requirements for fishing activities to protect endangered sea turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... activities to protect endangered sea turtles. 224.104 Section 224.104 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE... endangered sea turtles. (a) Shrimp fishermen in the southeastern United States and the Gulf of Mexico who comply with rules for threatened sea turtles specified in § 223.206 of this chapter will not be subject...

  10. Calcium spikes and calcium plateaux evoked by differential polarization in dendrites of turtle motoneurones in vitro

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hounsgaard, J; Kiehn, O

    1993-01-01

    The ability of dendrites in turtle motoneurones to support calcium spikes and calcium plateaux was investigated using differential polarization by applied electric fields. 2. Electric fields were generated by passing current through transverse slices of the turtle spinal cord between two plate......+ spikes and Ca2+ plateaux are present in dendrites of spinal motoneurones of the turtle....

  11. 50 CFR 648.126 - Protection of threatened and endangered sea turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... sea turtles. 648.126 Section 648.126 Wildlife and Fisheries FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT... sea turtles. This section supplements existing regulations issued to regulate incidental take of sea turtles under authority of the Endangered Species Act under 50 CFR parts 222 and 223. In addition to the...

  12. 75 FR 47825 - Emergency Exemption; Issuance of Emergency Permit to Rehabilitate Sea Turtles Affected by the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-09

    ...] Emergency Exemption; Issuance of Emergency Permit to Rehabilitate Sea Turtles Affected by the Deepwater... threaten the Gulf of Mexico environment and its inhabitants, including five sea turtle species. We, the U.S...) permit, to aid sea turtles affected by the oil spill. ADDRESSES: Documents and other information...

  13. 75 FR 81201 - 2011 Annual Determination for Sea Turtle Observer Requirement

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-12-27

    ... implement programs to conserve marine life listed as endangered or threatened. All sea turtles found in U.S... endangered wherever they occur in U.S. waters. While some sea turtle populations have shown signs of recovery... attempting to engage in any such conduct), including incidental take, of endangered sea turtles. Pursuant to...

  14. 76 FR 37050 - Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Sea Turtle Conservation and Recovery...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-06-24

    ... requirements are proposed to protect threatened and endangered sea turtles in the western Atlantic Ocean and... Pacific coast of Mexico, which are listed as endangered. Sea turtles are incidentally taken, and some are... variety of regulatory measures to reduce the bycatch of threatened and endangered sea turtles in the...

  15. Willingness to Pay for Marine Turtle Conservation in Asia: A Cross-Country Perspective

    OpenAIRE

    Jin Jiangjun; Rodelio Subade; Orapan Nabangchang; Truong Dang Thuy; Anabeth L. Indab

    2009-01-01

    Marine turtles are important, not only for their economic and intrinsic value, but because an adequate population of marine turtles is often an indicator of healthy marine ecosystem. Of the seven species of marine turtles, four are critically endangered, while two are in the next-highest risk category.

  16. Protecting the Sacred Water Bundle: Education about Fracking at Turtle Mountain Community College

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blue, Stacie

    2017-01-01

    Leaving the plains of North Dakota and entering the hills known as the Turtle Mountains, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians (TMBCI) reservation is found. Located on the TMBCI reservation, Turtle mountain Community College (TMCC) has provided opportunities for all interested parties to learn about fracking and why the tribe banned it.…

  17. Shell coal gasification process

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hennekes, B. [Shell Global Solutions (US) Inc. (United States). Technology Marketing

    2002-07-01

    The presentation, on which 17 slides/overheads are included in the papers, explained the principles of the Shell coal gasification process and the methods incorporated for control of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulates and mercury. The economics of the process were discussed. The differences between gasification and burning, and the differences between the Shell process and other processes were discussed.

  18. Stranding and incidental catch of sea turtles in the coastal Tumbes, Peru

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carlos A. Rosales

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available Strandings and incidental catches of four sea turtles species (Chelonia mydas, Lepidochelys olivacea, Dermochelys coriacea and Eretmochelys imbricata were registered in Tumbes Region since August 2007 to August 2009. These registers (52.6% of strandings and 47.4% of incidental catches occurred during all year; most frequently in Punta Picos (50.5%, Canoas (20.0% and Baja de Punta Mero (14.7%. The most registered species were C. mydas (64.2% and L. olivacea (30.5%; their sizes did not present significant differences between areas and climatic seasons. The higher percentage of C. mydas, L. olivacea and D. coriacea were considered sub-adults, including the only specimen of E. imbricata. The incidental catches were made with gillnets of different mesh sizes, but 8 inches mesh was most frequently. A high proportions of specimens were died with signs of drowning (22.2% this was due to the prolonged time of soak time of gillnet (approximately 12 hours. No significant differences in CPUE were found between climatic seasons and no seasonal pattern was evident. Lesions in 14% of stranded specimens were caused possibly by human attacks or by collisions with fishing boats. 77.8% of incidental catch specimens were sacrificed for the commercialization of his meat, and sometimes of his shell, this shows the lack of awareness of conservation. These observations indicate that the coast of Tumbes is an important foraging area and development of sub-adult specimens of sea turtles; so it is recomend to develop monitoring, awareness and critical areas protection programs to foment the conservation of these organisms in the Eastern Pacific.

  19. Wrinkling of Pressurized Elastic Shells

    KAUST Repository

    Vella, Dominic; Ajdari, Amin; Vaziri, Ashkan; Boudaoud, Arezki

    2011-01-01

    We study the formation of localized structures formed by the point loading of an internally pressurized elastic shell. While unpressurized shells (such as a ping-pong ball) buckle into polygonal structures, we show that pressurized shells

  20. The feeding habit of sea turtles influences their reaction to artificial marine debris

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fukuoka, Takuya; Yamane, Misaki; Kinoshita, Chihiro; Narazaki, Tomoko; Marshall, Greg J.; Abernathy, Kyler J.; Miyazaki, Nobuyuki; Sato, Katsufumi

    2016-01-01

    Ingestion of artificial debris is considered as a significant stress for wildlife including sea turtles. To investigate how turtles react to artificial debris under natural conditions, we deployed animal-borne video cameras on loggerhead and green turtles in addition to feces and gut contents analyses from 2007 to 2015. Frequency of occurrences of artificial debris in feces and gut contents collected from loggerhead turtles were 35.7% (10/28) and 84.6% (11/13), respectively. Artificial debris appeared in all green turtles in feces (25/25) and gut contents (10/10), and green turtles ingested more debris (feces; 15.8 ± 33.4 g, gut; 39.8 ± 51.2 g) than loggerhead turtles (feces; 1.6 ± 3.7 g, gut; 9.7 ± 15.0 g). In the video records (60 and 52.5 hours from 10 loggerhead and 6 green turtles, respectively), turtles encountered 46 artificial debris and ingested 23 of them. The encounter-ingestion ratio of artificial debris in green turtles (61.8%) was significantly higher than that in loggerhead turtles (16.7%). Loggerhead turtles frequently fed on gelatinous prey (78/84), however, green turtles mainly fed marine algae (156/210), and partly consumed gelatinous prey (10/210). Turtles seemed to confuse solo drifting debris with their diet, and omnivorous green turtles were more attracted by artificial debris. PMID:27305858

  1. Reassignment of the land tortoise haemogregarine Haemogregarina fitzsimonsi Dias 1953 (Adeleorina: Haemogregarinidae) to the genus Hepatozoon Miller 1908 (Adeleorina: Hepatozoidae) based on parasite morphology, life cycle and phylogenetic analysis of 18S rDNA sequence fragments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cook, Courtney A; Lawton, Scott P; Davies, Angela J; Smit, Nico J

    2014-06-13

    SUMMARY Research was undertaken to clarify the true taxonomic position of the terrestrial tortoise apicomplexan, Haemogregarina fitzsimonsi (Dias, 1953). Thin blood films were screened from 275 wild and captive South African tortoises of 6 genera and 10 species between 2009-2011. Apicomplexan parasites within films were identified, with a focus on H. fitzsimonsi. Ticks from wild tortoises, especially Amblyomma sylvaticum and Amblyomma marmoreum were also screened, and sporogonic stages were identified on dissection of adult ticks of both species taken from H. fitzsimonsi infected and apparently non-infected tortoises. Parasite DNA was extracted from fixed, Giemsa-stained tortoise blood films and from both fresh and fixed ticks, and PCR was undertaken with two primer sets, HEMO1/HEMO2, and HepF300/HepR900, to amplify parasite 18S rDNA. Results indicated that apicomplexan DNA extracted from tortoise blood films and both species of tick had been amplified by one or both primer sets. Haemogregarina  fitzsimonsi 18S rDNA sequences from tortoise blood aligned with those of species of Hepatozoon, rather than those of species of Haemogregarina or Hemolivia. It is recommended therefore that this haemogregarine be re-assigned to the genus Hepatozoon, making Hepatozoon fitzsimonsi (Dias, 1953) the only Hepatozoon known currently from any terrestrial chelonian. Ticks are its likely vectors.

  2. Blood oxygen transport in common map turtles during simulated hibernation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maginniss, Leigh A; Ekelund, Summer A; Ultsch, Gordon R

    2004-01-01

    We assessed the effects of cold and submergence on blood oxygen transport in common map turtles (Graptemys geographica). Winter animals were acclimated for 6-7 wk to one of three conditions at 3 degrees C: air breathing (AB-3 degrees C), normoxic submergence (NS-3 degrees C), and hypoxic (PO2=49 Torr) submergence (HS-3 degrees C). NS-3 degrees C turtles exhibited a respiratory alkalosis (pH 8.07; PCO2=7.9 Torr; [lactate]=2.2 mM) relative to AB-3 degrees C animals (pH 7.89; PCO2=13.4 Torr; [lactate]=1.1 mM). HS-3 degrees C animals experienced a profound metabolic acidosis (pH 7.30; PCO2=7.9 Torr; [lactate]=81 mM). NS-3 degrees C turtles exhibited an increased blood O2 capacity; however, isoelectric focusing revealed no seasonal changes in the isohemoglobin (isoHb) profile. Blood O2 affinity was significantly increased by cold acclimation; half-saturation pressures (P50's) for air-breathing turtles at 3 degrees and 22 degrees C were 6.5 and 18.8 Torr, respectively. P50's for winter animals submerged in normoxic and hypoxic water were 5.2 and 6.5 Torr, respectively. CO2 Bohr slopes (Delta logP50/Delta pH) were -0.15, -0.16, and -0.07 for AB-3 degrees C, NS-3 degrees C, and HS-3 degrees C turtles, respectively; the corresponding value for AB-22 degrees C was -0.37. The O2 equilibrium curve (O2EC) shape was similar for AB-3 degrees C and NS-3 degrees C turtles; Hill plot n coefficients ranged from 1.8 to 2.0. The O2EC shape for HS-3 degrees C turtles was anomalous, exhibiting high O2 affinity below P50 and a right-shifted segment above half-saturation. We suggest that increases in Hb-O2 affinity and O2 capacity enhance extrapulmonary O2 uptake by turtles overwintering in normoxic water. The anomalous O2EC shape and reduced CO2 Bohr effect of HS-3 degrees C turtles may also promote some aerobic metabolism in hypoxic water.

  3. The effects of large beach debris on nesting sea turtles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fujisaki, Ikuko; Lamont, Margaret M.

    2016-01-01

    A field experiment was conducted to understand the effects of large beach debris on sea turtle nesting behavior as well as the effectiveness of large debris removal for habitat restoration. Large natural and anthropogenic debris were removed from one of three sections of a sea turtle nesting beach and distributions of nests and false crawls (non-nesting crawls) in pre- (2011–2012) and post- (2013–2014) removal years in the three sections were compared. The number of nests increased 200% and the number of false crawls increased 55% in the experimental section, whereas a corresponding increase in number of nests and false crawls was not observed in the other two sections where debris removal was not conducted. The proportion of nest and false crawl abundance in all three beach sections was significantly different between pre- and post-removal years. The nesting success, the percent of successful nests in total nesting attempts (number of nests + false crawls), also increased from 24% to 38%; however the magnitude of the increase was comparably small because both the number of nests and false crawls increased, and thus the proportion of the nesting success in the experimental beach in pre- and post-removal years was not significantly different. The substantial increase in sea turtle nesting activities after the removal of large debris indicates that large debris may have an adverse impact on sea turtle nesting behavior. Removal of large debris could be an effective restoration strategy to improve sea turtle nesting.

  4. Physiological ramifications for loggerhead turtles captured in pelagic longlines.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williard, Amanda; Parga, Mariluz; Sagarminaga, Ricardo; Swimmer, Yonat

    2015-10-01

    Bycatch of endangered loggerhead turtles in longline fisheries results in high rates of post-release mortality that may negatively impact populations. The factors contributing to post-release mortality have not been well studied, but traumatic injuries and physiological disturbances experienced as a result of capture are thought to play a role. The goal of our study was to gauge the physiological status of loggerhead turtles immediately upon removal from longline gear in order to refine our understanding of the impacts of capture and the potential for post-release mortality. We analysed blood samples collected from longline- and hand-captured loggerhead turtles, and discovered that capture in longline gear results in blood loss, induction of the systemic stress response, and a moderate increase in lactate. The method by which turtles are landed and released, particularly if released with the hook or line still attached, may exacerbate stress and lead to chronic injuries, sublethal effects or delayed mortality. Our study is the first, to the best of our knowledge, to document the physiological impacts of capture in longline gear, and our findings underscore the importance of best practices gear removal to promote post-release survival in longline-captured turtles. © 2015 The Author(s).

  5. Metal accumulation and evaluation of effects in a freshwater turtle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yu, Shuangying; Halbrook, Richard S; Sparling, Donald W; Colombo, Robert

    2011-11-01

    A variety of contaminants have been detected in aquatic and terrestrial environments around the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP), Kentucky. The presence of these contaminants at the PGDP may pose a risk to biota, yet little is known about the bioaccumulation of contaminants and associated effects in wildlife, especially in aquatic turtles. The current study was initiated to evaluate: (1) the accumulation of heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, and Hg) in aquatic ecosystems associated with the PGDP using red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) as biomonitors; (2) maternal transfer of heavy metals; and (3) potential hematological and immunological effects resulting from metal accumulation. A total of 26 turtles were collected from 7 ponds located south, adjacent, and north of the PGDP. Liver Cu concentrations were significantly different among ponds and Cu concentrations in eggs were positively correlated with female Cu concentrations in kidney. The concentrations of heavy metals measured in turtle tissues and eggs were low and, based on previous studies of reptiles and established avian threshold levels of heavy metals, did not appear to have adverse effects on aquatic turtles inhabiting ponds near the PGDP. However, total white blood cell counts, heterophil to lymphocyte ratio, and phytohemagglutinin stimulation index were correlated with metal concentrations. Because other factors may affect the hematological and immunological indices, further investigation is needed to determine if these effects are associated with metal exposure, other contaminants, or disease.

  6. Conservation genomics of the endangered Burmese roofed turtle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Çilingir, F Gözde; Rheindt, Frank E; Garg, Kritika M; Platt, Kalyar; Platt, Steven G; Bickford, David P

    2017-12-01

    The Burmese roofed turtle (Batagur trivittata) is one of the world's most endangered turtles. Only one wild population remains in Myanmar. There are thought to be 12 breeding turtles in the wild. Conservation efforts for the species have raised >700 captive turtles since 2002, predominantly from eggs collected in the wild. We collected tissue samples from 445 individuals (approximately 40% of the turtles' remaining global population), applied double-digest restriction-site associated DNA sequencing (ddRAD-Seq), and obtained approximately 1500 unlinked genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms. Individuals fell into 5 distinct genetic clusters, 4 of which represented full-sib families. We inferred a low effective population size (≤10 individuals) but did not detect signs of severe inbreeding, possibly because the population bottleneck occurred recently. Two groups of 30 individuals from the captive pool that were the most genetically diverse were reintroduced to the wild, leading to an increase in the number of fertile eggs (n = 27) in the wild. Another 25 individuals, selected based on the same criteria, were transferred to the Singapore Zoo as an assurance colony. Our study demonstrates that the research-to-application gap in conservation can be bridged through application of cutting-edge genomic methods. © 2017 Society for Conservation Biology.

  7. Global distribution of two fungal pathogens threatening endangered sea turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sarmiento-Ramírez, Jullie M; Abella-Pérez, Elena; Phillott, Andrea D; Sim, Jolene; van West, Pieter; Martín, María P; Marco, Adolfo; Diéguez-Uribeondo, Javier

    2014-01-01

    Nascent fungal infections are currently considered as one of the main threats for biodiversity and ecosystem health, and have driven several animal species into critical risk of extinction. Sea turtles are one of the most endangered groups of animals and only seven species have survived to date. Here, we described two pathogenic species, i.e., Fusarium falciforme and Fusarium keratoplasticum, that are globally distributed in major turtle nesting areas for six sea turtle species and that are implicated in low hatch success. These two fungi possess key biological features that are similar to emerging pathogens leading to host extinction, e.g., high virulence, and a broad host range style of life. Their optimal growth temperature overlap with the optimal incubation temperature for eggs, and they are able to kill up to 90% of the embryos. Environmental forcing, e.g., tidal inundation and clay/silt content of nests, were correlated to disease development. Thus, these Fusarium species constitute a major threat to sea turtle nests, especially to those experiencing environmental stressors. These findings have serious implications for the survival of endangered sea turtle populations and the success of conservation programs worldwide.

  8. Global distribution of two fungal pathogens threatening endangered sea turtles.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jullie M Sarmiento-Ramírez

    Full Text Available Nascent fungal infections are currently considered as one of the main threats for biodiversity and ecosystem health, and have driven several animal species into critical risk of extinction. Sea turtles are one of the most endangered groups of animals and only seven species have survived to date. Here, we described two pathogenic species, i.e., Fusarium falciforme and Fusarium keratoplasticum, that are globally distributed in major turtle nesting areas for six sea turtle species and that are implicated in low hatch success. These two fungi possess key biological features that are similar to emerging pathogens leading to host extinction, e.g., high virulence, and a broad host range style of life. Their optimal growth temperature overlap with the optimal incubation temperature for eggs, and they are able to kill up to 90% of the embryos. Environmental forcing, e.g., tidal inundation and clay/silt content of nests, were correlated to disease development. Thus, these Fusarium species constitute a major threat to sea turtle nests, especially to those experiencing environmental stressors. These findings have serious implications for the survival of endangered sea turtle populations and the success of conservation programs worldwide.

  9. Dispersion of radioactively contamination turtles on the SRP: research and reconnaissance

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lamb, T.; Taylor, B.; Gibbons, J.W.

    1986-01-01

    Although SREL continued long-term studies on turtles during 1986, much research effort centered on contaminated turtle dispersion. The problem of radionuclide contamination in turtles and their dispersal through aquatic sites on and off the Savannah River Plant (SRP) was approached along three fronts. The first involved site reconnaissance, where aquatic habitats, adjacent to contaminated areas on the SRP were identified and surveyed for contaminated turtles. The second approach involved the development of a dispersal model. Third, mitochondrial DNA analysis was conducted to assess genetic differentiation between turtle populations inhabiting either side of the Savannah River near SRP. 1 figures, 2 tables

  10. The fossil record of turtles in Colombia; a review of the discoveries, research and future challenges

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cadena, Edwin A

    2014-01-01

    This is a review article on the fossil record of turtles in colombia that includes: the early cretaceous turtles from Zapatoca and Villa de Leyva localities; the giant turtles from the Paleocene Cerrejon and Calenturitas Coal Mines; the early Miocene, earliest record of Chelus from Pubenza, Cundinamarca; the early to late Miocene large podocnemids, chelids and testudinids from Castilletes, Alta Guajira and La Venta; and the small late Pleistocene kinosternids from Pubenza, Cundinamarca. I also discuss here the current gaps in the fossil record of tropical South American turtles, as well as the ongoing research and future projects to be developed in order to understand better the evolutionary history of Colombian turtles.

  11. ARSENIC, CADMIUM, CHROMIUM, LEAD, MERCURY, AND SELENIUM LEVELS IN BLOOD OF FOUR SPECIES OF TURTLES FROM THE AMAZON IN BRAZIL

    OpenAIRE

    Burger, Joanna; Jeitner, Christian; Schneider, Larissa; Vogt, Richard; Gochfeld, Michael

    2010-01-01

    Using blood as a method of assessing metal levels in turtles may be useful for populations that are threatened or endangered or are decreasing. In this study the levels of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), and selenium (Se) in blood of four species of turtles from the tributaries of the Rio Negro in the Amazon of Brazil were examined. The turtles included the six-tubercled Amazon (river) turtle (Podocnemis sextuberculata), red-headed Amazon (river) turtle (Po...

  12. Estimates of the non-market value of sea turtles in Tobago using stated preference techniques.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cazabon-Mannette, Michelle; Schuhmann, Peter W; Hailey, Adrian; Horrocks, Julia

    2017-05-01

    Economic benefits are derived from sea turtle tourism all over the world. Sea turtles also add value to underwater recreation and convey non-use values. This study examines the non-market value of sea turtles in Tobago. We use a choice experiment to estimate the value of sea turtle encounters to recreational SCUBA divers and the contingent valuation method to estimate the value of sea turtles to international tourists. Results indicate that turtle encounters were the most important dive attribute among those examined. Divers are willing to pay over US$62 per two tank dive for the first turtle encounter. The mean WTP for turtle conservation among international visitors to Tobago was US$31.13 which reflects a significant non-use value associated with actions targeted at keeping sea turtles from going extinct. These results illustrate significant non-use and non-consumptive use value of sea turtles, and highlight the importance of sea turtle conservation efforts in Tobago and throughout the Caribbean region. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Molluscan shell colour.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Suzanne T

    2017-05-01

    The phylum Mollusca is highly speciose, and is the largest phylum in the marine realm. The great majority of molluscs are shelled, including nearly all bivalves, most gastropods and some cephalopods. The fabulous and diverse colours and patterns of molluscan shells are widely recognised and have been appreciated for hundreds of years by collectors and scientists alike. They serve taxonomists as characters that can be used to recognise and distinguish species, however their function for the animal is sometimes less clear and has been the focus of many ecological and evolutionary studies. Despite these studies, almost nothing is known about the evolution of colour in molluscan shells. This review summarises for the first time major findings of disparate studies relevant to the evolution of shell colour in Mollusca and discusses the importance of colour, including the effects of visual and non-visual selection, diet and abiotic factors. I also summarise the evidence for the heritability of shell colour in some taxa and recent efforts to understand the molecular mechanisms underpinning synthesis of shell colours. I describe some of the main shell pigments found in Mollusca (carotenoids, melanin and tetrapyrroles, including porphyrins and bile pigments), and their durability in the fossil record. Finally I suggest that pigments appear to be distributed in a phylogenetically relevant manner and that the synthesis of colour is likely to be energetically costly. © 2016 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  14. Development of a Summarized Health Index (SHI) for Use in Predicting Survival in Sea Turtles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Tsung-Hsien; Chang, Chao-Chin; Cheng, I-Jiunn; Lin, Suen-Chuain

    2015-01-01

    Veterinary care plays an influential role in sea turtle rehabilitation, especially in endangered species. Physiological characteristics, hematological and plasma biochemistry profiles, are useful references for clinical management in animals, especially when animals are during the convalescence period. In this study, these factors associated with sea turtle surviving were analyzed. The blood samples were collected when sea turtles remained alive, and then animals were followed up for surviving status. The results indicated that significantly negative correlation was found between buoyancy disorders (BD) and sea turtle surviving (p turtles had significantly higher levels of aspartate aminotranspherase (AST), creatinine kinase (CK), creatinine and uric acid (UA) than surviving sea turtles (all p turtles and to improve veterinary care at rehabilitation facilities. PMID:25803431

  15. Asynchronous emergence by loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) hatchlings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Houghton, J D; Hays, G C

    2001-03-01

    For many decades it has been accepted that marine turtle hatchlings from the same nest generally emerge from the sand together. However, for loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) nesting on the Greek Island of Kefalonia, a more asynchronous pattern of emergence has been documented. By placing temperature loggers at the top and bottom of nests laid on Kefalonia during 1998, we examined whether this asynchronous emergence was related to the thermal conditions within nests. Pronounced thermal variation existed not only between, but also within, individual nests. These within-nest temperature differences were related to the patterns of hatchling emergence, with hatchlings from nests displaying large thermal ranges emerging over a longer time-scale than those characterised by more uniform temperatures. In many egg-laying animals, parental care of the offspring may continue while the eggs are incubating and also after they have hatched. Consequently, the importance of the nest site for determining incubation conditions may be reduced since the parents themselves may alter the local environment. By contrast, in marine turtles, parental care ceases once the eggs have been laid and the nest site covered. The positioning of the nest site, in both space and time, may therefore have profound effects for marine turtles by affecting, for example, the survival of the eggs and hatchlings as well as their sex (Janzen and Paukstis 1991). During incubation, sea turtle embryos grow from a few cells at oviposition to a self-sufficient organism at hatching some 50-80 days later (Ackerman 1997). After hatching, the young turtles dig up through the sand and emerge typically en masse at the surface 1-7 nights later, with a number of stragglers following over the next few nights (Christens 1990). This contrasts with the frequently observed pattern of hatching asynchrony in birds. It has been suggested that the cause of mass emergence in turtles is that eggs within a clutch are fertilised

  16. Nuclear shell theory

    CERN Document Server

    de-Shalit, Amos; Massey, H S W

    1963-01-01

    Nuclear Shell Theory is a comprehensive textbook dealing with modern methods of the nuclear shell model. This book deals with the mathematical theory of a system of Fermions in a central field. It is divided into three parts. Part I discusses the single particle shell model. The second part focuses on the tensor algebra, two-particle systems. The last part covers three or more particle systems. Chapters on wave functions in a central field, tensor fields, and the m-Scheme are also presented. Physicists, graduate students, and teachers of nuclear physics will find the book invaluable.

  17. Turtle cleaners: reef fishes foraging on epibionts of sea turtles in the tropical Southwestern Atlantic, with a summary of this association type

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cristina Sazima

    Full Text Available In the present study we record several instances of reef fish species foraging on epibionts of sea turtles (cleaning symbiosis at the oceanic islands of Fernando de Noronha Archipelago and near a shipwreck, both off the coast of Pernambuco State, northeast Brazil. Nine reef fish species and three turtle species involved in cleaning are herein recorded. Besides our records, a summary of the literature on this association type is presented. Postures adopted by turtles during the interaction are related to the habits of associated fishes. Feeding associations between fishes and turtles seem a localized, albeit common, phenomenon.

  18. Factors affecting the thermal environment of Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) cover sites in the Central Mojave Desert during periods of temperature extremes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mack, Jeremy S.; Berry, Kristin H.; Miller, David; Carlson, Andrea S.

    2015-01-01

    Agassiz's Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) spend >95% of their lives underground in cover sites that serve as thermal buffers from temperatures, which can fluctuate >40°C on a daily and seasonal basis. We monitored temperatures at 30 active tortoise cover sites within the Soda Mountains, San Bernardino County, California, from February 2004 to September 2006. Cover sites varied in type and structural characteristics, including opening height and width, soil cover depth over the opening, aspect, tunnel length, and surficial geology. We focused our analyses on periods of extreme temperature: in summer, between July 1 and September 1, and winter, between November 1 and February 15. With the use of multivariate regression tree analyses, we found cover-site temperatures were influenced largely by tunnel length and subsequently opening width and soil cover. Linear regression models further showed that increasing tunnel length increased temperature stability and dampened seasonal temperature extremes. Climate change models predict increased warming for southwestern North America. Cover sites that buffer temperature extremes and fluctuations will become increasingly important for survival of tortoises. In planning future translocation projects and conservation efforts, decision makers should consider habitats with terrain and underlying substrate that sustain cover sites with long tunnels and expanded openings for tortoises living under temperature extremes similar to those described here or as projected in the future.

  19. Modulation of formalin-induced pain-related behaviour by clonidine and yohimbine in the Speke's hinged tortoise (Kiniskys spekii)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Makau, C M; Towett, P K; Abelson, K S P

    2017-01-01

    The study was designed to investigate the involvement of noradrenergic and serotonergic receptor systems in the modulation of formalin-induced pain-related behaviour in the Speke's hinged tortoise. Intradermal injection of 100 μL of formalin at a dilution of 12.5% caused pain-related behaviour (h...

  20. [Herpesvirus detection in clinically healthy West African mud turtles (Pelusioscastaneus)].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marschang, R E; Heckers, K O; Heynol, V; Weider, K; Behncke, H

    2015-01-01

    First description of a herpesvirus in West African mud turtles. A herpesvirus was detected in two clinically healthy West African mud turtles (Pelusios castaneus) by PCR during a quarantine exam. The animals had been imported from Togo, West Africa to Germany for the pet trade. Analysis of a portion of the genome of the detected virus showed that it is a previously unknown virus related to other chelonid herpesviruses. The virus was named pelomedusid herpesvirus 1. This case highlights the importance of testing for infectious agents during quarantine, even in clinically healthy animals.

  1. RDF 1.1 Turtle : terse RDF triple language

    OpenAIRE

    World Wide Web Consortium

    2014-01-01

    RDF es un lenguaje de objetivo general para la representación de la información en la Web. Este documento define una sintaxis textual para RDF llamada Turtle que permite a un grafo RDF ser completamente escrito en un formulario de texto compacto y natural, con las abreviaturas para los patrones y tipos de datos de uso común. Turtle ofrece niveles de compatibilidad con el formato N-Triples, así como la sintaxis de patrón triple de la Recomendación SPARQL del W3C.

  2. Complex Sensory Corpuscles in the Upper Jaw of Horsfield’s Tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcela Buchtová

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available The sensory corpuscles of Testudo horsfieldii in the skin of the upper lip and face were studied with light and electron microscopy. The sensory corpuscles were situated under epidermis; in the corium and also between the upper jaw bone tissues in the rostral part of oral cavity. The skin sensory corpuscles with a ramified inner core were grouped in clusters. Within the corpuscle there were several simple inner cores embedded within a common superficial capsule. The complex corpuscles have a novel structure in comparison to what has been described for sensory nerve endings in turtle. The complex sensory corpuscles probably function as mechanoreceptors important for monitoring the movement of the keratinized ridges and the most rostral part of the upper jaw, the rhamphotheci.

  3. Helminth fauna of a turtle species introduced in Japan, the red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oi, M; Araki, J; Matsumoto, J; Nogami, S

    2012-10-01

    The red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) was intentionally introduced from the United States to Japan as a pet in the 1950s and has become established throughout much of the country. We examined red-eared slider turtles from two localities in Japan for foreign parasitic helminths. Consequently, a total of seven species of helminths were found: two monogeneans (Neopolystoma exhamatum and Polystomoides japonicum), three digeneans (Spirorchisartericola, Spi.elegans and Telorchis clemmydis) and two nematodes (Serpinema microcephalum and Falcaustra wardi). Of these, three helminths are alien to Japan-Spi.artericola, Spi. elegans and F. wardi-which represent the first report of their presence in the red-eared slider turtle from Japan. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Shell Buckling Knockdown Factors

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Shell Buckling Knockdown Factor (SBKF) Project, NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) Assessment #: 07-010-E, was established in March of 2007 by the NESC in...

  5. Genetic assessments and parentage analysis of captive Bolson tortoises (Gopherus flavomarginatus inform their "rewilding" in New Mexico.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Taylor Edwards

    Full Text Available The Bolson tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus is the first species of extirpated megafauna to be repatriated into the United States. In September 2006, 30 individuals were translocated from Arizona to New Mexico with the long-term objective of restoring wild populations via captive propagation. We evaluated mtDNA sequences and allelic diversity among 11 microsatellite loci from the captive population and archived samples collected from wild individuals in Durango, Mexico (n = 28. Both populations exhibited very low genetic diversity and the captive population captured roughly 97.5% of the total wild diversity, making it a promising founder population. Genetic screening of other captive animals (n = 26 potentially suitable for reintroduction uncovered multiple hybrid G. flavomarginatus×G. polyphemus, which were ineligible for repatriation; only three of these individuals were verified as purebred G. flavomarginatus. We used these genetic data to inform mate pairing, reduce the potential for inbreeding and to monitor the maintenance of genetic diversity in the captive population. After six years of successful propagation, we analyzed the parentage of 241 hatchlings to assess the maintenance of genetic diversity. Not all adults contributed equally to successive generations. Most yearly cohorts of hatchlings failed to capture the diversity of the parental population. However, overlapping generations of tortoises helped to alleviate genetic loss because the entire six-year cohort of hatchlings contained the allelic diversity of the parental population. Polyandry and sperm storage occurred in the captives and future management strategies must consider such events.

  6. Home Range of the Spur-Thighed Tortoise, Testudo graeca (Testudines, Testudinidae, in the National Park of El Kala, Algeria

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rouag R.

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available Spur-thighed tortoise is a vulnerable species, the local declines of populations require an imperative need for conservation. Research on habitat use is essential for understanding population ecology. To investigate the home range and movement patterns we studied a population which occupies an enclosed area of 30 ha in northeastern Algeria. Studies of movement showed that home ranges were substantially smaller than in Spain. This difference was due to the high trophic availability with significant richness in plants which make part of the diet of the tortoise. The home range varied from 0.287 ha in males to 0.354 ha for females; there was no sexual difference. The males are the most active with a distance of 3.79 m/d. Females and juveniles are respectively about 2.25 m/d and 2.11 m/d. The distance moved each day do not vary significantly by sex and ages. Results from this study are important for establishing conservation strategies for this vulnerable species.

  7. Morphology and topographic anatomy of the spinal cord of the red-footed tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria Spix, 1824

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rafael C Carvalho

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this study was to describe the topography of the spinal cord of the red-footed tortoise to establish a morphological basis for applied research in anesthesiology and morphology. Six tortoises from the state of Maranhão (Brazil that had died of natural causes were used. The common carotid artery was used to perfuse the arterial system with saline solution (heated to 37ºC and to fix the material with a 20% formaldehyde solution. The specimens were then placed in a modified decalcifying solution for 72 hours to allow dorsal opening of the carapace with a chisel and an orthopedic hammer. Dissection of the dorsal musculature and sectioning of the vertebral arches were performed to access the spinal cord. The results revealed the spinal cord of G. carbonaria to be an elongated, whitish mass that reached the articulation between the penultimate and last caudal vertebrae. The cervical intumescence (Intumescentia cervicalis was located between vertebral segments C5 and T1, whereas the lumbosacral intumescence (Intumescentia lumbalis was located between T6 and Ca1.

  8. Sex-specific ecophysiological responses to environmental fluctuations of free-ranging Hermann's tortoises: implication for conservation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sibeaux, Adélaïde; Michel, Catherine Louise; Bonnet, Xavier; Caron, Sébastien; Fournière, Kévin; Gagno, Stephane; Ballouard, Jean-Marie

    2016-01-01

    Physiological parameters provide indicators to evaluate how organisms respond to conservation actions. For example, individuals translocated during reinforcement programmes may not adapt to their novel host environment and may exhibit elevated chronic levels of stress hormones and/or decreasing body condition. Conversely, successful conservation actions should be associated with a lack of detrimental physiological perturbation. However, physiological references fluctuate over time and are influenced by various factors (e.g. sex, age, reproductive status). It is therefore necessary to determine the range of natural variations of the selected physiological metrics to establish useful baselines. This study focuses on endangered free-ranging Hermann's tortoises ( Testudo hermanni hermanni ), where conservation actions have been preconized to prevent extinction of French mainland populations. The influence of sex and of environmental factors (site, year and season) on eight physiological parameters (e.g. body condition, corticosterone concentrations) was assessed in 82 individuals from two populations living in different habitats. Daily displacements were monitored by radio-tracking. Most parameters varied between years and seasons and exhibited contrasting sex patterns but with no or limited effect of site. By combining behavioural and physiological traits, this study provides sex-specific seasonal baselines that can be used to monitor the health status of Hermann's tortoises facing environmental threats (e.g. habitat changes) or during conservation actions (e.g. translocation). These results might also assist in selection of the appropriate season for translocation.

  9. Shells and Patterns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutley, Jane

    2009-01-01

    "Shells and Patterns" was a project the author felt would easily put smiles on the faces of her fifth-graders, and teach them about unity and the use of watercolor pencils as well. It was thrilling to see the excitement in her students as they made their line drawings of shells come to life. For the most part, they quickly got the hang of…

  10. The Comparative Kinetics of Ca, Sr, and Ra within the Yellow-Bellied Turtle. Trachemys scripta, as influenced by Dietary Calcium, Season, Age and Sex of the Animal

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hinton, T.G.; Pinder, J.E.; Hinton, T.G.; Whicker, F.W.

    1988-01-01

    Most of the data on assimilation and retention of radionuclides by animals is from homeothermic mammals. The assimilation and retention of radionuclides have only recently been investigated in reptiles. In both groups, interesting conjectures can be made concerning the kinetics of radionuclides in relation to temperature and to the abundance of the radioisotope chemical analogue. Temperature plays an important role in the metabolism and behavior of ectotherms and can thus affect radionuclide kinetics. The abundance of chemical analogues has been shown to decrease the assimilation and retention of radionuclides in homeotherms but such relationships have not been well documented in vertebrate ectotherms. The kinetics of Ca, Sr, and Ra in the freshwater turtle, Trachemys scripta is studied. It is ectothermic and 40% of its wet mass is comprised of a calcareous shell. What role does the shell play in calcium homeostasis, and how do the kinetics of analogous radioisotopes behave in such a calcium-rich system. T. scripta have a long life span of 20-30 years. They demonstrate reserved sexual dimorphism with females being larger, and they grow continuously, which results in large ranges in adult body size. Much of the winter is spent in hibernation. The spring is an active period related to mating, yet one in which little food is consumed. How do such oscillating changes in metabolic rate, as well as differences in body size, affect radionuclide elimination. To address such questions, radionuclide assimilation and retention as influenced by the amount of stable calcium in the turtle diet, season of the year and age and sex of the animal, are examined. The results demonstrate the complex nature of radionuclide kinetics within ectotherms and give insights into the basic biology of turtles

  11. A model for simulating the active dispersal of juvenile sea turtles with a case study on western Pacific leatherback turtles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lalire, Maxime

    2017-01-01

    Oceanic currents are known to broadly shape the dispersal of juvenile sea turtles during their pelagic stage. Accordingly, simple passive drift models are widely used to investigate the distribution at sea of various juvenile sea turtle populations. However, evidence is growing that juveniles do not drift purely passively but also display some swimming activity likely directed towards favorable habitats. We therefore present here a novel Sea Turtle Active Movement Model (STAMM) in which juvenile sea turtles actively disperse under the combined effects of oceanic currents and habitat-driven movements. This model applies to all sea turtle species but is calibrated here for leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea). It is first tested in a simulation of the active dispersal of juveniles originating from Jamursba-Medi, a main nesting beach of the western Pacific leatherback population. Dispersal into the North Pacific Ocean is specifically investigated. Simulation results demonstrate that, while oceanic currents broadly shape the dispersal area, modeled habitat-driven movements strongly structure the spatial and temporal distribution of juveniles within this area. In particular, these movements lead juveniles to gather in the North Pacific Transition Zone (NPTZ) and to undertake seasonal north-south migrations. More surprisingly, juveniles in the NPTZ are simulated to swim mostly towards west which considerably slows down their progression towards the American west coast. This increases their residence time, and hence the risk of interactions with fisheries, in the central and eastern part of the North Pacific basin. Simulated habitat-driven movements also strongly reduce the risk of cold-induced mortality. This risk appears to be larger among the juveniles that rapidly circulate into the Kuroshio than among those that first drift into the North Equatorial Counter Current (NECC). This mechanism might induce marked interannual variability in juvenile survival as the

  12. A model for simulating the active dispersal of juvenile sea turtles with a case study on western Pacific leatherback turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaspar, Philippe; Lalire, Maxime

    2017-01-01

    Oceanic currents are known to broadly shape the dispersal of juvenile sea turtles during their pelagic stage. Accordingly, simple passive drift models are widely used to investigate the distribution at sea of various juvenile sea turtle populations. However, evidence is growing that juveniles do not drift purely passively but also display some swimming activity likely directed towards favorable habitats. We therefore present here a novel Sea Turtle Active Movement Model (STAMM) in which juvenile sea turtles actively disperse under the combined effects of oceanic currents and habitat-driven movements. This model applies to all sea turtle species but is calibrated here for leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea). It is first tested in a simulation of the active dispersal of juveniles originating from Jamursba-Medi, a main nesting beach of the western Pacific leatherback population. Dispersal into the North Pacific Ocean is specifically investigated. Simulation results demonstrate that, while oceanic currents broadly shape the dispersal area, modeled habitat-driven movements strongly structure the spatial and temporal distribution of juveniles within this area. In particular, these movements lead juveniles to gather in the North Pacific Transition Zone (NPTZ) and to undertake seasonal north-south migrations. More surprisingly, juveniles in the NPTZ are simulated to swim mostly towards west which considerably slows down their progression towards the American west coast. This increases their residence time, and hence the risk of interactions with fisheries, in the central and eastern part of the North Pacific basin. Simulated habitat-driven movements also strongly reduce the risk of cold-induced mortality. This risk appears to be larger among the juveniles that rapidly circulate into the Kuroshio than among those that first drift into the North Equatorial Counter Current (NECC). This mechanism might induce marked interannual variability in juvenile survival as the

  13. Off-shell CHY amplitudes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lam, C.S., E-mail: Lam@physics.mcgill.ca [Department of Physics, McGill University, Montreal, Q.C., H3A 2T8 (Canada); Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1 (Canada); Yao, York-Peng, E-mail: yyao@umich.edu [Department of Physics, The University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (United States)

    2016-06-15

    The Cachazo–He–Yuan (CHY) formula for on-shell scattering amplitudes is extended off-shell. The off-shell amplitudes (amputated Green's functions) are Möbius invariant, and have the same momentum poles as the on-shell amplitudes. The working principles which drive the modifications to the scattering equations are mainly Möbius covariance and energy momentum conservation in off-shell kinematics. The same technique is also used to obtain off-shell massive scalars. A simple off-shell extension of the CHY gauge formula which is Möbius invariant is proposed, but its true nature awaits further study.

  14. LIKE TURTLES IN THEIR SHELLS?: CIVIC WITHDRAWAL AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE IN DIVERSE SMALL TOWNS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Celeste Lay

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available Robert Putnam has argued that ethnic diversity is associated with declines in civic engagement because when faced with diversity, a natural reaction is to retreat into oneself. Goals: This paper tests this proposition by looking at adolescents in small towns that have recently undergone “rapid ethnic diversification”. Immigrants and refugees from Latin America and Southeast Asia have migrated to these small, ethnically homogeneous towns. Methods: I utilize a panel study in which adolescents in five small Iowa public high schools were surveyed at the beginning and the end of an academic year. Conclusions: This paper shows very little evidence of a lasting negative effect of ethnic diversity on civic engagement. In the first wave, young people in the diverse towns have lower levels of political knowledge and trust than those in predominantly-White towns, but they also have higher levels of participation in school activities. At the end of the year, these differences have been alleviated.

  15. Arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, and selenium levels in blood of four species of turtles from the Amazon in Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burger, Joanna; Jeitner, Christian; Schneider, Larissa; Vogt, Richard; Gochfeld, Michael

    2010-01-01

    Using blood as a method of assessing metal levels in turtles may be useful for populations that are threatened or endangered or are decreasing. In this study the levels of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), and selenium (Se) in blood of four species of turtles from the tributaries of the Rio Negro in the Amazon of Brazil were examined. The turtles included the six-tubercled Amazon (river) turtle (Podocnemis sextuberculata), red-headed Amazon (river) turtle (Podocnemis erythrocephala), big-headed Amazon (river) turtle (Peltocephalus dumerilianus), and matamata turtle (Chelus fimbriatus). Blood samples were taken from the vein in the left hind leg of each turtle. There were significant interspecific differences in the sizes of the turtles from the Rio Negro, and in concentrations of Pb, Hg, and Se; the smallest species (red-headed turtles) had the highest levels of Pb in their blood, while Se levels were highest in big-headed turtles and lowest in red-headed turtles. Hg in blood was highest in matamata, intermediate in big-headed, and lowest in the other two turtles. Even though females were significantly larger than males, there were no significant differences in metal levels as a function of gender, and the only relationship of metals to size was for Cd. Variations in metal levels among species suggest that blood may be a useful bioindicator. Metal levels were not high enough to pose a health risk to the turtles or to consumers, such as humans.

  16. High incidence of deformity in aquatic turtles in the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bell, Barbara [Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (United States); Spotila, James R [Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (United States); Congdon, Justin [Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia, Drawer E., Aiken, SC (United States)

    2006-08-15

    The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge is subject to pollution from multiple sources. We studied development of snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) and painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) embryos from the refuge from 2000 through 2003. Mean annual deformity rate of pooled painted turtle clutches over four years ranged from 45 to 71%, while that of snapping turtle clutches ranged from 13 to 19%. Lethal deformities were more common than minor or moderate deformities in embryos of both species. Adult painted turtles had a higher deformity rate than adult snapping turtles. Snapping turtles at JHNWR had high levels of PAH contamination in their fat. This suggests that PAHs are involved in the high level of deformities. Other contaminants may also play a role. Although the refuge offers many advantages to resident turtle populations, pollution appears to place a developmental burden on the life history of these turtles. - This paper presents findings on the prevalence of developmental abnormalities in turtles at a national wildlife refuge that have direct relevance to studies on the effects of contamination on development and morphology of vertebrates.

  17. High incidence of deformity in aquatic turtles in the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bell, Barbara; Spotila, James R.; Congdon, Justin

    2006-01-01

    The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge is subject to pollution from multiple sources. We studied development of snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) and painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) embryos from the refuge from 2000 through 2003. Mean annual deformity rate of pooled painted turtle clutches over four years ranged from 45 to 71%, while that of snapping turtle clutches ranged from 13 to 19%. Lethal deformities were more common than minor or moderate deformities in embryos of both species. Adult painted turtles had a higher deformity rate than adult snapping turtles. Snapping turtles at JHNWR had high levels of PAH contamination in their fat. This suggests that PAHs are involved in the high level of deformities. Other contaminants may also play a role. Although the refuge offers many advantages to resident turtle populations, pollution appears to place a developmental burden on the life history of these turtles. - This paper presents findings on the prevalence of developmental abnormalities in turtles at a national wildlife refuge that have direct relevance to studies on the effects of contamination on development and morphology of vertebrates

  18. Induction of oviposition by the administration of oxytocin in hawksbill turtles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kawazu, Isao; Kino, Masakatsu; Maeda, Konomi; Yamaguchi, Yasuhiro; Sawamukai, Yutaka

    2014-12-01

    We set out to develop an oviposition induction technique for captive female hawksbill turtles Eretmochelys imbricata. The infertile eggs of nine females were induced to develop by the administration of follicle-stimulating hormone, after which we investigated the effects of administering oxytocin on oviposition. Seven of the turtles were held in a stationary horizontal position on a retention stand, and then oxytocin was administrated (0.6-0.8 units/kg of body weight; 5 mL). The seven turtles were retained for a mandatory 2 h period after oxytocin administration, and were then returned to the holding tanks. As the control, normal saline (5 mL) was administered to the other two turtles, followed by the administration of oxytocin after 24 h. The eggs in oviducts of all nine turtles were observed by ultrasonography at 24 h after oxytocin administration. The control experiment validated that stationary retention and normal saline administration had no effect on egg oviposition. Eight of the turtles began ovipositing eggs at 17-43 min after oxytocin administration, while one began ovipositing in the holding tank immediately after retention. All turtles finished ovipositing eggs within 24 h of oxytocin administration. This report is the first to demonstrate successful induced oviposition in sea turtles. We suggest that the muscles in the oviducts of hawksbill turtles may respond to relatively lower doses of oxytocin (inducing contractions) compared to land and freshwater turtles (4-40 units/kg) based on existing studies.

  19. Measuring Energy Expenditure in Sub-Adult and Hatchling Sea Turtles via Accelerometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Halsey, Lewis G.; Jones, T. Todd; Jones, David R.; Liebsch, Nikolai; Booth, David T.

    2011-01-01

    Measuring the metabolic of sea turtles is fundamental to understanding their ecology yet the presently available methods are limited. Accelerometry is a relatively new technique for estimating metabolic rate that has shown promise with a number of species but its utility with air-breathing divers is not yet established. The present study undertakes laboratory experiments to investigate whether rate of oxygen uptake ( o 2) at the surface in active sub-adult green turtles Chelonia mydas and hatchling loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta correlates with overall dynamic body acceleration (ODBA), a derivative of acceleration used as a proxy for metabolic rate. Six green turtles (25–44 kg) and two loggerhead turtles (20 g) were instrumented with tri-axial acceleration logging devices and placed singly into a respirometry chamber. The green turtles were able to submerge freely within a 1.5 m deep tank and the loggerhead turtles were tethered in water 16 cm deep so that they swam at the surface. A significant prediction equation for mean o 2 over an hour in a green turtle from measures of ODBA and mean flipper length (R2 = 0.56) returned a mean estimate error across turtles of 8.0%. The range of temperatures used in the green turtle experiments (22–30°C) had only a small effect on o 2. A o 2-ODBA equation for the loggerhead hatchling data was also significant (R2 = 0.67). Together these data indicate the potential of the accelerometry technique for estimating energy expenditure in sea turtles, which may have important applications in sea turtle diving ecology, and also in conservation such as assessing turtle survival times when trapped underwater in fishing nets. PMID:21829613

  20. ORGANOCHLORINE CONTAMINANTS IN SEA TURTLES FROM THE EASTERN PACIFIC

    Science.gov (United States)

    We measured organochlorine residues in three species of sea turtles from the Baja California peninsula, Mexico. Seventeen of 21 organochlorine pesticides analyzed were detected, with heptachlor epoxide and y-hexachlorocyclohexane the most prevalent in 14 (40%) and 11 (31%) of th...