Marbling as it developes in cherryheads

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cdmay

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Since JustAnja taught me how to upload photos I thought I would add this thread regarding marbling in cherryheads.
In my experience it begins in some animals when they are quite small and others after they are a year old or so.
This young one showed no signs at one year of age.

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By the time it was 18 months though he started to show some white and his head color began to deepen.

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At a little over two years he had developed some nice marbling. He was a little filthy in this photo as he had been kept outside. BTW, at this time I could guess fairly certainly that he was in fact a male. At three years of age he was very obviously a male.

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The color in the photo isn't quite accurate though as the flash lightened his head color.
 

JustAnja

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Great set of pics. :) Thanks for sharing. What a gorgeous boy he is!
 

Yvonne G

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I'm so glad that Justanja showed you how to post pictures. I'm looking forward to many more. This little guy is beautiful. Would be interesting to know if the marbling occurs in females too.

Yvonne
 

cdmay

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Would be interesting to know if the marbling occurs in females too.

Yvonne
[/quote]

Yes. Marbling can occur equally in both sexes. This is not one of my hatchlings but rather, an import. It is a female.

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She is owned by Mark and Allegra

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Yvonne G

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Wow! She's a beauty. I love all that marbelling.

Yvonne
 

shawngt2

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Yeah, looks awesome. My little one is less than a year old and starting some white between the scutes. Interested in how it will develop...

Shawn
 

terryo

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They are beautiful and I too am looking forward to more of your pictures. I am very excited about this marbling myself. My Pio is 19 months old now and started showing signs of marbling at about 15 months old. He still doesn't have a lot, but he seems to be getting more. Is there something that you can do ....humidity..food...etc. to make this come in more or is it just something that happens on it's own?
This is him at 19 months with a little marbling coming in.
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cdmay

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I don't think there is much you can do to increase the amount of marbling in these animals. But, direct sunlight darkens the white areas much more quickly than those kept indoors.
There seems to be two kinds of marbling. The most common is when white appears along the seams of the marginal scutes in young tortoises as is the case with Pio. It can vary quite a bit between individuals. This will often darken up in time and become unnoticebale as they grow. I think it may be a result of the dark pigment taking longer to catch up to the new growth as it is being laid down along the scute borders. You see this in both young wild caught and young captive raised cherryheads.
The second type is like the one pictured above that Mark and Allegra Fung-Lue own. They are much more uncommon but tend to have the marbling spread over the entire carapace. These cherryheads have more of a tan color to them rather than the usual black. But again, after some years in the sun they too darken considerably and then the marbling really only shows well when their shell is wet.

I guess I should add a little to that last post...
while what I said about the marbling developing along the marginal seams is true, it can actually form along ALL of the scute seams--including those of the plastron, like the first pictured cherryhead. But, it is most commonly seen and the heaviest along the marginals.
Also, there is a nice example of a really unusual cherryhead that is extremely marbled on the website: empireoftheturtle.com under the section on cherryheads. I saw this (female) animal a few weeks ago and she is much darker now but still very different. The overall impression is that she is sort of peanut butter colored with darker and lighter pattern scattered all over the carapace.
 

Jacqui

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Wow that female is interesting! Almost doesn't look like a redfoot.
 
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