Dimensions, mass and volume of the liver of turtles (Trachemys scripta

gender. The liver is across the middle third of the coelomic cavity, with two lobes, right and left, taking the carapace and the dorsal vertebrae, and the plastron, ...

Original article

Dimensions, mass and volume of the liver of turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans WIED, 1839) Silva, GFN.1*, Freire, VTO.1, Matos, WCG.1, Pereira Neto, J.2, Seyfert, CE.3, Andrade, NS.1 and Faria, MD.4 1 Graduates of the Course of Veterinary Medicine, University of Vale do São Francisco – UNIVASF, Petrolina, PE, Brazil 2 Associate Professor, Department of Statistics, University of Bahia – UNEB, Salvador, BA, Brazil 3 Associate Professor, Department of Morphology, Federal University of Campina Grande – UFCG, Campina Grande, PB, Brazil 4 Adjunct Professor of the Academic Board of Veterinary Medicine, Laboratory of Anatomy of Domestic and Wild Animals, Federal University of São Francisco Valley – UNIVASF, Petrolina, PE, Brazil *E-mail: [email protected]

Abstract Turtles are the oldest representatives of the class Reptilia, as they appeared on earth about 340 million years ago. Currently, there is little more than 200 species, varying greatly between sizes and natural environment. The Trachemys scripta elegans, belonging to the suborder Cryptodira and family Emydidae, comes from the Mississippi Valley in the United States of America. This study aimed to determine the size, mass and volume of the liver of Turtle T. scripta elegans (WIED, 1839) correlating the hepatic data with body biometrics and gender. The liver is across the middle third of the coelomic cavity, with two lobes, right and left, taking the carapace and the dorsal vertebrae, and the plastron, ventral. Furthermore, we observed that the organ has reddish-brown color, but in the case of males, were slightly pale, yellowish-brown all over its surface. The gallbladder was present on the rear-end face of the organ. In females, most of the variables (mass, volume and dimensions) established correlations, demonstrating the interdependence of physical biometric parameters and liver of the turtle Trachemys  scripta  elegans. However, in males, few variables were correlated, i.e. the parameters are developed independently. It follows therefore that only in female Trachemys scripta elegans, the values of hepatic biometry are proportional to the values somatometric, i.e. the larger the animal, the bigger the liver. Keywords: biometry, liver, turtles.

1 Introduction The tortoises are the oldest representatives of the class Reptilia, as they appeared on earth about 340 million years ago. Currently, there is little more than 200 species, varying greatly between sizes and natural environment. Some features are common to several species, such as: rapid growth in early life, becoming slower over the years, short limbs, corneous skin consists of scales that provide greater resistance to moisture loss and make up the shell and plastron, and are variegated animals. The Trachemys scripta elegans, belonging to the suborder Cryptodira and family Emydidae, comes from the Mississippi Valley in the United States of America. Its skin is greenish, ranging from the yellow-green and dark green stripes when young, losing its tone, becoming olive-green when adult. It features a red-orange band in the caudal to the eye, which extends to the neck. Males can measure 13 to 29 cm, being smaller than females, with oval, flattened dorsal carapace, yellowish plastron with dark spots, and longer fingernails. Females have front claws and shorter tail. When young they are carnivorous, feeding mainly on minnows, tadpoles and snails, as adults, incorporate vegetables to their diet, becoming omnivorous. They live in aquatic environment, but they need land to nest or hibernate. They survive J. Morphol. Sci., 2011, vol. 28, no. 4, p. 235-239

on average  30 years in captivity but in the wild, no one knows for sure because they do not have a balanced diet, being more vulnerable to predators, among other factors. (ERNST, BARBOUR, 1989 apud VIEIRA, COSTA, 2006; MALVASIO, 1996). The liver of the turtle T.  scripta  elegans, the most voluminous organ of the body (HILDEBRAND,  1995), is found in the coelomic cavity and is lined by coel