PREVALENCE AND HISTOPATHOLOGY OF SHELL
DISEASE IN TURTLES FROM LAKE BLACKSHEAR,
Jeffrey E. Lovich,l ,5 Steve W. Gotte, 2 Carl H. Ernst,3 John C. Harshbarger, 4
Arndt F. Laemmerzahl,3 and J. Whitfield Gibbonsl
l Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, South Carolina 29802 USA
2National Biological Service, Biological Survey Project,
National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. 20560 USA
3George Mason University, Department of Biology,
4400 University Drive, Fairfax, Virginia 22030 USA
4Registry of Tumors in Lower Animals, Department of Pathology, Ross 520,
George Washington University Medical Center, 2300 1 Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.
5Present Address: National Biological Service, Midcontinent Ecological Science Center,
Palm Springs Field Station, 63500 Garnet Avenue, P.O. Box 2000, North Palm Springs,
California 92258-2000 USA
ABSTRACT: Turtles in Lake Blackshear, Crisp County, Georgia (USA) were
evaluated for shell disease during intensive trapping efforts on 8 and 9 May 1990.
The disease was most prevalent in Pseudemys concinna (74%) and Trachemys
scripta (35%). The degree of necrosis on the carapace was significantly positively
correlated with the degree of necrosis on the plastron in T. scripta (rs = 0.50),
but not in P. concinna (rs = 0.06). Female T. scripta with lesions were
significantly larger than females wihtout lesions. Lesions were not detected on six
other speciesof turtles. Some areas contained multinucleate osteoclasts that were
destroying bones. No tumers were detected in soft tissue samples.
were defected in soft tissiie samples.
Key words: Turtle, Trachemys scripta, Pseudemys concinna, shell disease,
SREL Reprint #2080
Lovich, J.E., S.W. Gotte, C.H. Ernst, J.C. Harshbarger, A.F. Laemmerzahl, and
J.W. Gibbons. 1996. Prevalence and histopathology of shell disease in turtles
from Lake Blackshear, Georgia. Journal of Wildlife Disease 32:259-265.
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