Leopard Tortoise (Stigmochelys Pardalis) Research Articles and Case Study List

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Neal

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Over the past couple of years I have scoured every library and online resource available to me for anything related to leopard tortoises. On this thread I have compiled a list of research articles that I have found and have been suggested to me that have been more helpful and interesting than any book or other publication I have reviewed. I hope others will find the articles and study's below as useful as I have.

If anyone has any additional case studies or articles specifically about leopard tortoises, feel free to share them here.

- Mitochondrial phylogeography and subspecies of the wide-range sub-Saharan leopard tortoise: http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/wp-content/uploads/file/Articles/Fritz_etal_2010a.pdf

- Intake, apparent digestibility, and digesta passage in leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis) fed a complete, extruded feed: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1506&context=theses&sei-redir=1#

- Efficacy of Leopard Tortoise Farming in Tanzania (Geochelone Pardalis Babcocki) farming in Tanzania: http://www.africa.kyoto-u.ac.jp/kiroku/asm_normal/abstracts/pdf/19-4/187-199.pdf

- Community attitudes to tortoises (Geochelone pardalis babcocki) and their conservation in northern Tanzania: http://repository.kulib.kyoto-u.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/2433/68178/1/ASM_19_201.pdf

- Influence of the calcium content of the diet offered to leopard tortoises: http://africantortoise.com/leopard.pdf

- Sighting frequency and food habits of the leopard tortoise, in northern Tanzania: http://africantortoise.com/AfJEcoPardalis2001-1.pdf

- Occurrence and activity budget of the leopard tortoise, in Northern Tanzania: Could not find a link. I have a PDF copy available.

Note: The websites I have linked in this post were found through a simple google search. I do have a PDF copy of each of these studies if the links become inactive. Feel free to email me and request a copy in that case.
 

wellington

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I don't have time now to check them out, but I sure will later. Thanks so much for sharing. Gotta love those beautiful leopards and anything about them.
 

DesertGrandma

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Thanks Neal. This will be a great resource for all us leopard lovers. Thanks for taking the time to post it.
 

Dewback

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Love the first article.

"We conclude that there is no rationale for recognizing subspecies within S. pardalis."

Mind blown. So we are dealing with some regional differences in the same species rather than distinct sub-species. It is true that the largest tortoises are in the northeast section of the range and not South Africa. The other phenotypic traits, like speckling for example and hatchling size of Spp, are probably just a result of isolation by distance.

They explain that "adult size is positively correlated with factors such as food availability and environmental humidity." But does humidity really make a difference in the way a tortoise grows? I doubt it since the leopards in the humid South Sudan, Ethiopian, and Somali forests are the largest of all the leopards and the South African leopards are not far behind and those Spp tortoises (I guess we can stop calling them that now) do not occur in the subtropical areas of South Africa.
 

DesertGrandma

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Dewback said:
Love the first article.

"We conclude that there is no rationale for recognizing subspecies within S. pardalis."

Mind blown. So we are dealing with some regional differences in the same species rather than distinct sub-species. It is true that the largest tortoises are in the northeast section of the range and not South Africa. The other phenotypic traits, like speckling for example and hatchling size of Spp, are probably just a result of isolation by distance.

They explain that "adult size is positively correlated with factors such as food availability and environmental humidity." But does humidity really make a difference in the way a tortoise grows? I doubt it since the leopards in the humid South Sudan, Ethiopian, and Somali forests are the largest of all the leopards and the South African leopards are not far behind and those Spp tortoises (I guess we can stop calling them that now) do not occur in the subtropical areas of South Africa.



You could get a lot of debate going on the truth or untruth to this paper that you are referring to. In essence, if this is true, then the whole idea of the true pardalis pardalis being unique and more valuable would be moot. Consequently, those breeding or hoping to breed the South African tortoises do not agree with this paper. Just to let you know. :cool:
 

yagyujubei

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Scientists are constantly changing their opinions about taxonomy. It really makes no difference whether p.pardalis are another sub species or not. There are distinct differences between the two. So if they aren't a sub species, they certainly are a distinct variety.
Dewback said:
Love the first article.

"We conclude that there is no rationale for recognizing subspecies within S. pardalis."

Mind blown. So we are dealing with some regional differences in the same species rather than distinct sub-species. It is true that the largest tortoises are in the northeast section of the range and not South Africa. The other phenotypic traits, like speckling for example and hatchling size of Spp, are probably just a result of isolation by distance.

They explain that "adult size is positively correlated with factors such as food availability and environmental humidity." But does humidity really make a difference in the way a tortoise grows? I doubt it since the leopards in the humid South Sudan, Ethiopian, and Somali forests are the largest of all the leopards and the South African leopards are not far behind and those Spp tortoises (I guess we can stop calling them that now) do not occur in the subtropical areas of South Africa.
 

Neal

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yagyujubei said:
Scientists are constantly changing their opinions about taxonomy. It really makes no difference whether p.pardalis are another sub species or not. There are distinct differences between the two. So if they aren't a sub species, they certainly are a distinct variety.

This is true, and a lot of us wish to preserve those differences.

I spoke with another forum member awhile ago about some of the traits that exist among the "babcocki" leopards which included spurs on the rear legs of some, as well as some shell flaring I believe. There are specific traits among the different localities of leopards, and I wish those would have been respected and preserved in the US populations. As far as I know, no one has really done this.
 

tortadise

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Neal said:
yagyujubei said:
Scientists are constantly changing their opinions about taxonomy. It really makes no difference whether p.pardalis are another sub species or not. There are distinct differences between the two. So if they aren't a sub species, they certainly are a distinct variety.

This is true, and a lot of us wish to preserve those differences.

I spoke with another forum member awhile ago about some of the traits that exist among the "babcocki" leopards which included spurs on the rear legs of some, as well as some shell flaring I believe. There are specific traits among the different localities of leopards, and I wish those would have been respected and preserved in the US populations. As far as I know, no one has really done this.

This is good stuff Neal. I have done the same with my red and yellow foots long ago when they came from nice local countries and I was able to keep them separate. I wish I had done the same when leopards were still imported. I know Wanda has many diverse rare local species, that show a good physical and even colorful difference in most "common" leopards in the trade now days.
 

Neal

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I shot this idea to another forum member yesterday, and even as I wrote it out it sounded kind of pointless. But I wonder if there was a way to compare the DNA of the leopards here in the US to those in specific localities in Africa to determine the country of origin among the US populations? The other member thought it really wouldn't be possible since the leopard tortoise DNA is basically all the same. Even though it's assumed that our populations here are all muddied, maybe some specific breeding of these muddy specimens will produce offspring that possess the traits of specific localities?

Admittedly (and maybe obvious) taxonomy, sub specie specifics, and scientific classifications are a huge weakness of mine. So maybe that idea sounds silly to those who know better, but if it were possible I suppose the next step would be to determine some sort of benefit to actually pursue that type of thing other than it would be really cool for a few of us leopard tortoise nuts.
 

yagyujubei

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Maybe the "temporary" ban on importation will be lifted some day. Then location specific traits could be found and preserved.
Neal said:
I shot this idea to another forum member yesterday, and even as I wrote it out it sounded kind of pointless. But I wonder if there was a way to compare the DNA of the leopards here in the US to those in specific localities in Africa to determine the country of origin among the US populations? The other member thought it really wouldn't be possible since the leopard tortoise DNA is basically all the same. Even though it's assumed that our populations here are all muddied, maybe some specific breeding of these muddy specimens will produce offspring that possess the traits of specific localities?

Admittedly (and maybe obvious) taxonomy, sub specie specifics, and scientific classifications are a huge weakness of mine. So maybe that idea sounds silly to those who know better, but if it were possible I suppose the next step would be to determine some sort of benefit to actually pursue that type of thing other than it would be really cool for a few of us leopard tortoise nuts.
 

DesertGrandma

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@ Neal maybe some specific breeding of these muddy specimens will produce offspring that possess the traits of specific localities?


This sounds logical to me. Over generations, any living thing can be bred for certain characteristics.
 

Neal

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According to the second edition of "The Batagur" they are attempting to do this sort of thing with Galapogos tortoises, but I believe there are more DNA differences among Galapogos? Again, maybe I have this all wrong. Either way, there is obviously a lot more conservation needed among Galapogos tortoises than with leopard tortoises, so it's easier to justify that sort of a project.
 

DesertGrandma

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Neal said:
According to the second edition of "The Batagur" they are attempting to do this sort of thing with Galapogos tortoises, but I believe there are more DNA differences among Galapogos? Again, maybe I have this all wrong. Either way, there is obviously a lot more conservation needed among Galapogos tortoises than with leopard tortoises, so it's easier to justify that sort of a project.

If we could see photographs taken for this paper, so we could see specific characteristics of their 14 areas, it seems plausible that the physical characteristics could be re-produced by breeders. Do you think they would release their photos? Has anyone ever tried contact them to ask for more information on their studies?
 
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