Dermal bone biopsies were collected from the periphery of the carapaces of adult desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) from grazed and ungrazed habitats near the Arizona/Utah border (USA). Quantitative bone histomorphometry was performed on these biopsies as well as on dermal bone biopsies collected from captive juvenile desert tortoises. Except for mild osteomalacia, carapaces of adult desert tortoises from the grazed habitat were relatively normal. No signs of osteopenia were observed. Based on the low numbers of osteoblasts and osteoclasts in dermal bone of both populations of adult desert tortoises, it appears that the peripheral carapace is relatively inert with very low levels of dermal bone turnover. Bone cells and osteoid were more common in dermal bone biopsies from the carapace and plastron of captive juvenile desert tortoises than in adult desert tortoises. However, the great variability in the incidence of bone cells among individuals and the difficulty in collecting juvenile desert tortoises in the field limit the usefulness of dermal bone biopsies from animals of this age group. Based on these results, we propose that dermal bone of the peripheral carapace is a poor sample site for evaluating the effects of dietary or environmental conditions on calcified tissues in desert tortoises.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 28 • No. 4