Breeding Meso(Golden) Greeks

passwordstaco

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Hello!

I was wondering if anyone here is experienced in breeding these wonderful torts. I am really interested in trying to get a good line of really bright yellow ones, but the patterns that come out seem to be really random. Anyone have any success in controlling the patterns?
 

TeamZissou

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I do not think there is much you can do, aside from making it a decades long project. Getting some good founding stock, hatching a bunch, raising them for several years looking for the ones that develop fewer dark spots is probably your only option. Chris Leone holds some back and sells the non pure yellow ones on Fauna, though very rarely.

To my understanding, darker streaks can fade to more yellow over time, so it could be misleading if you have an older tortoise that is mostly pure yellow. What you really want is a genetically more pure yellow rather than one that has faded to yellow over decades. Chris has some very excellent looking T.g. terrestris that are almost pure yellow, but I'm not sure if they came out this way or if it developed over time. His are imported, so they could be quite old.

I do not know who has a good group of (the old) T. g. floweri aside from Chris Leone, Sweetgreek torts, and Andy at AzTortosieCompound. Randy at Tortstork had several adults that he sold on Fauna around 2016. I think you really want to limit your group to the floweri that originate (I think) in Gaza. They have more of the nice orange yellow.
 

passwordstaco

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Thank you for the information! I have reached out to most of those for purchasing some and currently have one from Randy. I have really only been looking at the parents and coloration from a hatchling to determine if I want them, but interesting that they can change change drastically.

These little ones seem pretty rare so getting them is a slow process unfortunately. I am committed at the moment to purchasing several and seeing where it goes.
 

TeamZissou

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Thank you for the information! I have reached out to most of those for purchasing some and currently have one from Randy. I have really only been looking at the parents and coloration from a hatchling to determine if I want them, but interesting that they can change change drastically.

These little ones seem pretty rare so getting them is a slow process unfortunately. I am committed at the moment to purchasing several and seeing where it goes.

Yes unfortunately I think it's the only option. It would be great to have more people producing true floweri (for lack of a better term, even though that subspecies is outdated). Some of the other locales of T.g. terrestris, such as Syria and Jordan are nominally 'yellow' though they tend to lack the rich orange yellow color. These get deemed 'golden greeks,' are sold as such and makes things more confusing for people later.

I have one from TortoiseSupply but am not sure how his color development will go. He's almost a year old and still has quite a bit of brown, and the 'yellow' parts are more tan. I think the other sources mentioned might have slightly better founding stock. Kitty from sweetgreektorts has one called 'Apollo' (photos on her website) that is from AZ tortoise compound that has had nice bright yellow color the entire time. Two that were from Chris had a bit of the richness of the yellow become more tan over time.

I still don't fully understand the mechanism of color development in tortoises. In terrestrial turtles--EBTs for example--are quite drab as juveniles and then the yellow streaks come out after a couple years, as long as they are outside. I can't find the link at the moment, but some research group did a study where they place GPS trackers on the back of juvenile turtles, let them go in the wild, and then tracked them down again. A year later, the yellow streaks on the carapace developed, but the area UNDER the tracking device was still a drab brown. They removed the tracker and let them go again. They somehow found a few of them after another year, and the tracker spot was still a drab brown suggesting that there's a critical time period when color development occurs, after which the opportunity is lost. My guess is that it has to do with bright light exposure at sunlight intensities. There could also be a diet component such as beta carotene or other carotenoids.
 

passwordstaco

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Really interesting information. I am really excited to start testing these types of things in a safe way. Getting them seems to be the hardest part. If you happen to run into other good vendors that are selling them, please let me know!
 

TeamZissou

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Really interesting information. I am really excited to start testing these types of things in a safe way. Getting them seems to be the hardest part. If you happen to run into other good vendors that are selling them, please let me know!

Good luck building a group. It would be neat if you posted pics as you go.
 
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