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Split/Extra Scutes

Discussion in 'Advanced Tortoise Topics' started by N2TORTS, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. Carol S

    Carol S Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    The only split scute hatchling I had was a hatchling from one of the two nests that I missed in the Summer of 2014.
  2. AnimalLady

    AnimalLady Well-Known Member

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    I'm just like Jacqui, i find them to be beautiful and attractive. I really really want one with split scutes!!! I even have a name ~ Scooter :D
  3. tctpa523

    tctpa523 Member

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    Last year around the holidays, my breaker box tripped and the power to my incubator was out for maybe 7 hours. Luckily the temps only dropped to 78° from 84° for a few hours. I did have some very unique imperfections in 2 of the 14 Redfoot clutches that were in there at the time. I had 2 hatch unevenly formed with imperfect/extra scutes, 1 hatch with a tremendous overbite and deformed bottom jaw, and one hatch without eyes. I've had imperfect hatchlings a time or two in the past but never to this extent. The imperfectly formed babies died after a couple of months, the eyeless one lasted probably 6 months, and the deformed jaw guy I gave to a little girl at the Daytona show who fell in love with the little guy. I don't know if it is still alive or not. I will post photos of the eyeless hatchling as soon as I can dig them up on my hard drive.
  4. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    @N2TORTS : Since you first wrote this thread, I've had another extra scute experience. I had a clutch of YF eggs in the incubator in a little plastic container with perlite as the medium. I had the incubator set at 87F but it went up or down a point or two throughout the period. Three of the 7 eggs hatched out with an extra marginal scute.
  5. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Just a reminder. This is an Advance topic section. Idol chitchat is is not allowed here. Please keep it on topic and experienced.
  6. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1451843404.037762.jpg here's some split scutes on my Shellie ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1451843489.924104.jpg ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1451843523.060754.jpg she's got splits/extras... I used to think we had received "defective" tortoise and was bracing for raising a special needs baby... Would never return her (or any pet for that matter) to the breeder like some "merchandise" for exchange or credit. In my home once an animal comes through the door they stay. I'm so glad to have this policy, Shellie turns out to be a perfect little tortoise!
    Kenno, Lyn W and Anyfoot like this.
  7. N2TORTS

    N2TORTS Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I have had some radical swings in temps this past summer due to how hot it was outside.....but 25 eggs on one tray only 2 hatched with extra scute, (same female who throws out babies with this visual occurrence)....eggs on same tray 1/4" - 1/2" spaced ...no problem and symmetrical.
    Some interesting observations/reads can be seen here.
    (Don't forget to read the references at the bottom as there are other great articles too!)
    ISRN Zoology
    Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 846136, 13 pages
    http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/846136
    Research Article
    Interspecific Variation in Temperature Effects on Embryonic Metabolism and Development in Turtles
  8. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jeff.

    Do split/extra scutes occur amongst wild tortoises/turtles?
  9. cdmay

    cdmay Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Anyfoot, in answer to your question about split or extra scutes (called supernumerary) occurring in wild caught tortoises, yes!
    I have found numerous wild striped mud turtles, eastern mud turtles, box turtles and Barbour's map turtles that possessed supernumerary scutes. Barbour's map turtles are especially prone to this condition. It may be that because the females are utilizing spoil islands in the Apalachicola River Basin to nest on their eggs are exposed to higher temps.

    Not every wild female tortoise (or turtle) nests in an ideal site.

    I've also seen a number of wild caught imported tortoises with perfect zig-zag or zipper patterns to their vertebral scutes.

    Eric Holt, who incubates literally thousands of turtle and tortoise eggs every year tells me that low, or fluctuating humidity during incubation can result in split scutes. I would believe him in this matter.
    Anyfoot and SarahChelonoidis like this.
  10. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Carl.
    So we know that part of raising a smooth Tortoise is due to good himidity levels.
    So do the humidity levels play a major roll as the neonate develops within the egg?
    Especially when it's at the bone and karatin stage of development.

    Do you know if any of the cases that you've come across with split wild torts were not only hotter temps but also dryer conditions.
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  11. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    You got me thinking now Carl.
    So the nests that are not as deep in the ground would surely become less humid under hotter conditions at a faster rate.
    What sort of depths do mud and box turtle make there nests at?
  12. cdmay

    cdmay Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    According to Mr. Holt, humidity can play a role--in extreme cases. I wouldn't infer that slight fluctuations of humidity would do much of anything though. Mud turtles are well known for sometimes simply depositing their eggs in some leaves right on the surface of the ground. Other times they nest in the typical turtle fashion. The individual mud turtles I've found in the wild with aberrant scutes were few and far between. I have found far more box turtles with goofed up scutes but again, it's not like they're everywhere. I guess I've found maybe a dozen in the past 25 years?
    Like I mentioned above, the one species that I've found a number of with supernumerary scutes is Graptemys barbouri, the Barbour's map turtle. My thinking is that the adult females are nesting on spoil islands or other sunny locations where the incubation temp will be warmer due to solar exposure.
    Jackson and Meylan discussed the higher incubation temperatures of alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys apalachicolae) nests in the lower Apalachicola River as the female snappers seemed to be nesting on spoil islands that are the result of channelization of the main river stem. The spoil islands offer less shaded nesting locations than the typical river bank locations. Although they didn't mention aberrant scutes, they did bring up the idea that the higher incubation temperatures could influence the sex ratios in the long term.

    I'm sure humidity could play a role in shell development as Eric Holt says, but I think he was talking about a minority of cases.
    Anyfoot likes this.
  13. skuttle

    skuttle Member

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    Hi guys, is there ang health related issues of tortoise with split scute/ extra scutes? Thanks
  14. Sara G.

    Sara G. Active Member

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    I don't think there are any health related issues.
    I think it just means the incubation temps were hotter and likely incubated for females.
  15. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have any males with extra/split scutes?
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  16. SarahChelonoidis

    SarahChelonoidis Well-Known Member

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    I have a male elongated with split scutes.
    Anyfoot likes this.
  17. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    Photo:rolleyes:
  18. SarahChelonoidis

    SarahChelonoidis Well-Known Member

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    ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1462969047.829409.jpg

    He is not a looker, carapace wise.
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  19. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    Cool, he's sprawled out just enjoying life.
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  20. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    Ok, now the confusion kicks in.
    It's said higher temps produce females with potential splits etc and lower temps produce males. Above is a male splitty.
    Does this mean an egg is layed,then at some point the embryo develops and the temp at that/a particular stage dictates the sex to be. (let's say in this instance it was a low temp at the critical sexing stage to produce a male), then after that stage and for duration of incubation the temps got on the high side. Is this how a male splitty would happen?
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