Baseline values and ranges for 10 hematologic and 32 plasma chemistry parameters were analyzed for 36 free-ranging Sonoran desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizzi) collected in Yavapai and La Paz Counties (Arizona, USA) from 1990 to 1995. Tortoises were radio-tagged from 1990 to 1994, and attempts were made to recapture them three times a year. Tortoises were weighed, measured, and chemically immobilized to collect blood for hematology and blood chemistry assessments. Tortoise biochemistry differed (P < 0.01) between sites and sexes and among seasons and years. Normal reference ranges for hematologic and plasma biochemistry parameters were determined. Seasonal and annual differences in hematology and blood chemistry were related to rainfall patterns, forage availability, and physiological condition.
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Vol. 38 • No. 1