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Genus Indotestudo - Elongated, Forstens, Travancore (conversation thread)

Discussion in 'Elongated and Forsten's tortoises' started by Az tortoise compound, Dec 28, 2013.

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  1. Az tortoise compound

    Az tortoise compound Active Member 5 Year Member

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    As most know......Indotestudo is a genus of tortoise from South and Southeast Asia. in the Testudinidae family. The three species in the genus are all threatened.

    It contains the following species:

    Elongated tortoise (Indotestudo elongata)
    Forsten's tortoise (Indotestudo forstenii)
    Travancore tortoise ('Indotestudo travancorica)

    ATC wanted to try to show the differences of these species so tortoise keepers can have some type of a reference, and also to be able to provide Travancore Tortoise photos.

    Typically Elongateds have a nuchal scute and the other two species do not. (Although a percent of Forstens do)

    Travancore Tortoises grow the largest out of the three and the nuchal scute right behind the head is absent.
    (pictured in order are carapace photos of Elongated, Forstens, Travancore)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Travancore Tortoises second scute along the vertebral column is located at the highest point of the shell.
    (pictured in order are side carapace photos of Elongated, Forstens, Travancore)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Travancore Tortoises Pectoral scutes are typically wider then the other two sub species, as shown in the photos below.
    (pictured in order are plastron photos of Elongated, Forstens, Travancore)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Elongateds and Travancore Tortoises will typically have a white head with pink markings.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Most Forsten's Tortoises have some type of black marking on the head, as shown below.
    [​IMG]

    Indotestudo tortoise keepers - feel free to add any additional information to this thread as seen fit....
    Iochroma and bouaboua like this.
  2. Kapidolo Farms

    Kapidolo Farms Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    ATC wrote "ATC wanted to try to show the differences of these sub species so tortoise keepers can have some type of a reference, and also to be able to provide Travancore Tortoise photos."

    They are all full species, there are NO recognized subspecies in this genus of three full species. I'd really hate to see some some long drawn out non-sense about SUBspecies recognition in this genus, historically plagued by poor nomenclature.

    What do you say ATC/mods - do you think maybe that small near insignificant error in your text could be fixed?
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Mod note to Andy: I took out "sub" in the several places where I saw it. I hope that's ok with you.
  4. Az tortoise compound

    Az tortoise compound Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Your right Will. On the second sentence, I phrased it correctly but the rest of the info listed I used sub, Oops. I tried correcting it, but the forum will not let me edit it now..... Thank you for pointing it out, maybe the monitors can help...

    Have you ever worked with Indotestudo travancorica Will? I know you have seen a lot of things most people have not. During my research I was doing on Travancore I could not find clear picture of specimens. Most pictures were from a far distance. Also this forum does not have any info of this species. I was trying to get others to provide info and insight.....
  5. Kapidolo Farms

    Kapidolo Farms Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I posted a diet study here on TFO, I guess it's still here.

    I have not worked with them. I have not had occasion to talk with anyone who has done field work with them either, though I have ongoing contact with several Indian Chelonian people.

    If I get to India they will be a high priority to see in one of the reserves.
  6. cdmay

    cdmay Well-Known Member 10 Year Member!

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    Great thread with very good information and illustrated with gorgeous animals too. Thanks!
    I have a photo Bill Zovickian sent me a photo of his 50+ year captive male Travancore tortoise that was found as a juvenile by famed University of Florida herpetologist Walt Auffenberg in the early 1960s. Bill received that young male along with another juvenile from Walt and they eventually became a breeding pair. When the female died Bill was never able to pair up the male and he eventually sold it.
    From what I understand--and I could be wrong--most of the travancorica in the United States are related to this pair?
    One thing that has really struck me about two of the species (elongata and forstenii) I've seen neonates of is that although the adults are superficially similar in appearance, the newly hatched are very different from each other.
  7. Az tortoise compound

    Az tortoise compound Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you cdmay! I have heard of Bill's old male from back in the day. I don't think Bill ever produced any offspring with his pair though, when he had them. I know he sold the male to Mark B. Mark also has the Turtle Source's Travancore, Elongateds and hybrids that were being offered on the web. Trying to get info and pictures from these sources are proving very hard. Turtle Source's employees don't know much of anything and Mark B is a very busy person. Pictures of a true Travancore hatchlings is almost impossible to find and far as I know none have been produced in the U.S. Again Turtle Source has a picture on there site of a hatchling, but I think that is a photo of a Travancore/ Elongated hybrid... In my adventures Ill be sure to post any insights that I find and or photos if I can locate them.
  8. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Andy the one and only time Bill offered offspring was back in 2006. He had 8 offspring that he sold. Unfortunately I was too late in getting dibs. Not sure who got them or where they are. But wish he still had his. I Dont feel comfortable buying from TS or Mark as they are inter graded with elongated he keeps. Such a shame. They are very lovely species and very rare in collections here.
  9. cdmay

    cdmay Well-Known Member 10 Year Member!

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    I'm pretty sure Bill did produce offspring from his pair as I know he was actively trying to purchase back a female from someone who bought it as a neonate from him. This was a couple of years before he gave up and sold the male.
    I am also aware that he was fairly disgusted with the fact that his male was used to produce hybrids and expressed regret at selling him to whom he did.
  10. cdmay

    cdmay Well-Known Member 10 Year Member!

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    Kelly...I seem to remember seeing one or two travancorica at the Expo in Daytona around 2006. They were about 5 or 6 inches and appeared almost brownish in color to me. But I thought they were brought in from Germany. Or maybe France? Do you remember these?
  11. Az tortoise compound

    Az tortoise compound Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Cdmay, can you post the picture you have of the Travancore?
  12. EricIvins

    EricIvins Active Member 5 Year Member

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    More than likely France. La Ferme Tropicale...
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  13. cdmay

    cdmay Well-Known Member 10 Year Member!

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    Andy---here are the photos Zovick sent me of his male that was captured as a juvenile by Walt Auffenberg.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Eric---You're probably right about La Ferme Tropicale
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  14. Benjamin

    Benjamin Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Great thread, I think this is the most pictures of travencorica I have seen!

    Here goes my bit.

    What is lacking here is the fact that until 2000 forstenii was considered a synonym for travencorica. Forstenii were considered to be an introduced population of travencorica. In 2000 Dr.Peter Pritchard published "Indotestudo Forstenii a Valid Species" in an issue of Reptile Hobbyist magazine. Pretty sure that title is correct. I am typing all from memory without referencing my stowed away literature.

    My first hand experience is as follows. In 2003 I started preparing the 1st edition of the AZA regional studbook for indotestudo forstenii. At this time many institutions called I.forstenii "travencore tortoises". Of the 19 living specimens of indotestudo ISIS registered that were NOT elongate only one was indeed a I.travencorica. There is/was a current regional AZA studbook for I.elongata. The travencorica was hatched at the Bronx Zoo,can't remember when 1970s maybe, but the sire was the pictured male belonging to Mr.Zovickian. This was confirmed by Mr.Holstrom from the Bronx Zoo and indeed was the pair collected by Mr.Auffenberg in the 1950s. This CB male tortoise went from Bronx to Philadelphia and last I knew at the Henry Doorly zoo.

    I speculate that in the future there may be some splitting of I.elongata. They have such a huge range. It is a situation similar to the redfoot tortoise in SA.

    Andrew is there any history of your travencorica that you care to share? Is that your only one and any lines on a female?
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  15. Az tortoise compound

    Az tortoise compound Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Yes, through my research I have found that there is a few outdated "Travancore Care Sheets" that are really "Forstenii Care Sheets".
    Totally understandable though as you described above Ben. The only hatchling pictures or descriptions I can find, I believe are hybrids. (not worth sharing)
    Here is a link to a great read.... http://www.academia.edu/5058588/Relative...hats_India You will need to scroll down a bit to find the article.

    The Travancore I pictured in the article came out of California, a lady contacted me in April 2013 and stated she received a Travancore Tortoise from her Grandmother that died and left the tortoise in the will to her. I went back and forth with her for a few weeks trying to figure out a fair price for him and I was asking questions as to the history of the animal. She didn't have any info on the history and then all of a sudden, she broke contact with me.

    I contacted Mark and asked him to contact the lady to get the tortoise into a breeding group since they are so rare in the US and he has the only group I know of. I gave him her number and he never persued it.

    Few months went by, I was contacted by a gentleman stating he had a male Travancore Tortoise available that he recently got from a lady. ( Both people were located in CA) We talked price, checked pictures and it was the same tortoise. It worked out this time and I received the tortoise. Based off what has been stated above, I would assume maybe this Travancore was one of Bills hatchlings from back in the day. The Travancore is a younger looking specimen compared to other photoed specimens I can find.

    Still no response from Mark, but here is a photo I found on his site....really hope he doesnt mind me sharing it here.....
    [​IMG]
    [hr]
    Thank you for sharing the picture Cdmay!!!!!!
    [hr]
    EricIvins, your in Florida correct? Have you seen or worked with this species before?
  16. cdmay

    cdmay Well-Known Member 10 Year Member!

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    Glad to help.
    I'm fairly certain the locality for the Auffenberg animals was Kerala? Is this correct?
  17. juli11

    juli11 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    There aren't a lot of informations about travancoria right. But there are some animals in the Netherlands. I don't know who got them but here is a link about forstenii and travancoria..
    Maybe it is interesting for someone..
    https://db.tt/5wwRHT73
  18. Az tortoise compound

    Az tortoise compound Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Very interesting juli11 !!! Thank you. In that article it show pictures of true Travancoria hatchlings. Ive been searching for a photo of that for a long time.
    I spoke with Dr. Kenneth L. Krysko at the Florida Museum of Natural History they have a collection of preserved specimens and will allow visitors to view them if you set it up with the curator of Herpetology.
  19. juli11

    juli11 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Very cool! But I'm from Germany so I haven't got a chance to visit them. But in the US there is a breeder if travancoria isn't it? I saw them for 1500$ per hatchling. Also the leucephalon yuwoni are very interesting. In Czech Republic is a breeder of them.. Next weekend ( I hope) I can meet the guy who send me this link about the 3 tortoises. Than I will ask him for travancoria too.
  20. cdmay

    cdmay Well-Known Member 10 Year Member!

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    I go up to the UF museum fairly regularly to see Kenney Krysko and also Jason Bourque. Next time I'll try and get some photos of the travancorica.
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