Blood biochemical parameters were compared for green turtles (Chelonia mydas) with and without green turtle fibropapillomatosis (GTFP) from both captive and wild populations in Hawaii (USA) and from a captive population from California (USA), during the period between 1994 and 1996. Statistical analysis did not detect an influence of disease in any of the blood parameters for free-ranging turtles; however, captive turtles in Hawaii with GTFP had significantly higher levels of alkaline phosphatase and significantly lower levels of lactate compared to non-tumored captive turtles. Multivariate analysis found that biochemical profiles could be used to accurately predict if turtles were healthy or afflicted with GTFP. Discriminant function analysis correctly classified turtles as being with or without GTFP in 89% of cases, suggesting that diseased animals had a distinct signature of plasma biochemistries. Measurements of blood parameters identified numerous differences between captive and wild green turtles in Hawaii. Levels of corticosterone, lactate, triglyceride, glucose, and calcium were significantly higher in wild green turtles as compared to captive turtles, while uric acid levels were significantly lower in wild turtles as compared to captive turtles. Additionally, turtles from Sea World of California (San Diego, California, USA), which had been in captivity the longest, had higher levels of alanine aminotransferase and triglycerides as compared to nearly all other groups. Differences in diet, sampling methods, environmental conditions, and turtle size, help to interpret these results.
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Vol. 36 • No. 1