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Thursday, July 23, 2009


What is it with Fleurie and lusus naturae?

Once again it was Fleur who pointed this one out. She sent me the link at the bottom of this page purely because she knows that I am fond of turtles. However, have a butchers at this one. It is priced at two hundred bucks, which is not particularly steep for a creature like this. The website blurb reads:

This one of a kind turtle hatched with a color anomaly like no other... It's entire right side is very dark with lots of black coloration. The same for its feet and right side of it's head. The left side is light or normally colored.
The left feet, and side of the head are also light, or normally colored.

What triggered this anomaly is possibly a geneticist's dream project... (It calls to mind an episode of the original Star Trek series.) This turtle is 6 weeks old, doing very well and behaves exactly like a normal colored Yellow Bellied Slider.

If it were an insect I would say that it was a halved gynandromorph, but a turtle?


fleury said...

there were lots of weird turtles to choose from on there, i particularly liked the pink ones, the shell-less ones and the siamese one... very odd. are these people deliberately breeding freaks or do turtle have more mutations than other animals?

Retrieverman said...

Turtles never cease to amaze me.

These things are bred on massive farms in Louisiana at volume-- at such a high volume that all sorts of mutations occur. Often these mutations are sold at higher prices than the normal ones.

However, they can't be sold on the domestic market until they are 4 inches long-- a bureaucratic rule that supposedly prevents salmonella. (I guess children were putting baby turtles in their mouths or something.)Most are exported to East Asia, where many become turtle soup. Those that aren't eaten are exported from there onto the European market.

Most pet turtles are world travelers before they are even six months old.

Just look at all the mutations: http://www.theturtlesource.com/turtle_inventory.asp?cat=333&id=100200362

My relatives have a villa on the South Carolina coast that overlooks a pond filled with native water turtles that are so tame that they beg food like dogs. They actually come out of the water and give you the exact same look that dogs give you when they beg for food.

shiva said...

Shell-less? That sounds practically impossible, considering that a turtle's shell is its rib-cage... are you sure they weren't a species like "soft-shell" turtles (whose shells are covered by skin making them look like they are soft like the rest of the animal)?

Two-headed turtles appear to be fairly common (or at least turtles and snakes appear to be the animals that 2-headed specimens of either most often survive or are most often reported).

This one could be a chimera (caused by the blending/fusion of non-identical twins at a very early stage of embryonic development). I've seen a medical photo of a human example who was "mixed race" and had a dividing line down hir chest and belly between darker and lighter skin colours. Its internal organs would be anatomically normal, but some with one genome and some with the other (there have been cases of paternity tests failing when the father was a chimera without knowing it and his blood was genetically different from his gonads).

It also seems to have a small patch of the darker colouration within the lighter side of its shell, which supports the chimera theory...

Retrieverman said...

The "shell-less" ones just have deformed shells.

I didn't see that one when I first looked at the page.