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The Different Races of Redfoot Tortoise

Discussion in 'Redfoot and yellowfoot tortoises' started by Madkins007, Apr 1, 2009.

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  1. Madkins007

    Madkins007 Well-Known Member Moderator 10 Year Member!

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    Depending on who you talk to, there are up to 7 'groups' of Red-foots.

    Functionally, I think there are probably basically 5, with some regional color variation within the 5. This is based on Vinke's South American Tortoises, Pritchard's Turtles of Venezuela, and so forth.

    First, we can usually divide the Northerns from the Southerns by the plastron- a mostly light plastron is usually a Northerner, a mostly dark plastron is usually a Southerner.

    North-eastern (E. Venezuela to French Guiana): the 'typical' Red-foot. 30-35cm adult length, black carapace background, constricted waist on adult male, yellow/orange/red colors on limbs.

    North-western (Panama, Colombia, W. Venezuela): Shell background is more coffee/grey, almost no red coloration on limbs.

    South-eastern (East Brazil): This region seems to be home to 2 variants- the 'red' and the 'yellow'.

    'Reds' are the 'Cherry Head' variant. These MAY average a bit smaller (22-28cm), but many specimans are a bit larger than average. Reds tend to have very dark necks with bright red or orange colors on it. They tend to show shell mottling more often than others, and seem to have a slightly bulbous red-tip nose (the Rudolph Sign). They rarely show the male wasp-waist, but usually have a distinct hooked scale below the front elbows- almost a 'spur'.

    'Yellows' look like North-easterns with yellow coloration and a dark plastron.

    South-western (Paraguay and Bolivia): Big- 35-45cm- tortoises, little to no wasp-waist, 'spur' like the South-eastern Reds.


    Within the above 5 groups, I think there are some local color variations- but a lot of these variations seem to disappear as the tortoises get older.
    ***********************************************************

    UPDATE March 25th, 2011: Based on DNA research (VARGAS-RAMIREZ, Mario; Maran, Jerome; Fritz, Uwe. "Red- and yellow-footed tortoises, Chelonoidis carbonaria and C. denticulata (Reptilia: Testudines: Testudinidae), in South American savannahs and forests: do their phylogeographies reflect distinct habitats?"), I've modified the types of Red-foots a little:

    (Names in CAPS are the terms used in the above article. Names in (parentheses) are the names I use to try to clarify things)

    NORTHWESTERN (Panamanian)- Panama and west of the Andes in Venezuela
    NORTHERN (Columbian)- Columbia, south of Venezuela. This was not a group that has been discussed widely as a separate group before. They seem to look a lot like the next group.
    NORTHWESTERN (Guyanan)- The 'Guyanan Climatic Zone' of mid-Venezuela to French Guiana and bits of northern Brazil
    EASTERN (Brazilian)- The 'Cherry-heads' and there yellow-headed but otherwise identical kin from the central-to southern part of Eastern Brazil
    SOUTHERN (Gran Chaco)- Paraguay and Bolivia

    Research has been showing that a.) these groups have a significant difference in their DNA and that there are barriers of some sorts between the groups to help keep them apart, and b.) that one of the barriers is the Amazonian Basin Rain Forest- Yellow-foots travel freely throughout the Basin, but Red-foots do not enter it to any great extent- the DNA does not drift from group to group.

    Not much different than what I posted earlier. The big changes are:
    - combine Cherry-heads and the 'yellow heads' as just being normal color variants of Brazilians.
    - breaking Columbians into their own group, and
    - yet another researcher using some slightly different names for the groups. It would be nice to have agreed-upon names for these groups.
  2. Dud

    Dud New Member 5 Year Member

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    thx madkins007 this is really helpful.. but i would be great if u could post the pic.. so it will be easier to identify it .. thx
  3. Madkins007

    Madkins007 Well-Known Member Moderator 10 Year Member!

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    ? I thought I posted this as a response to question, not as a separate thread?

    As for photos- all of mine are North-eastern variants (the 'common' Red-foot). I'll see if I can find some images online to link to, though.
  4. egyptiandan

    egyptiandan New Member 5 Year Member

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    All my fault :p I copied and made it it's own thread and stickied it. It was definately worthy. Douglas (elegans) has posted Chacoan redfoots on the forum. There are plenty of Cherryhead pictures. Just need Colombian and Brazilian pictures.

    Danny
  5. Madkins007

    Madkins007 Well-Known Member Moderator 10 Year Member!

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    Thanks, Danny! I was worried I hit a wrong button somewhere.

    I cannot find any really good photos of North-westerns, or Brazilian 'Yellows'. A lot that MAY be those, but without plastrons and such, it is a guess.
  6. Neohippy

    Neohippy New Member 5 Year Member

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    Perhaps people should start posting top an bottom pics and other people can try their hand at figuring out which area the tort's ancestors came from.

    Cordelia bottom shot
    [​IMG]
    Top shot
    [​IMG]
    Wet top shot
    [​IMG]
    Mug shot for good measure
    [​IMG]

    Woodrow bottom shot.
    [​IMG]
    Woodrow top shot.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    And one eyed mugshot for good measure.
    [​IMG]


    Dunno if it will help at all to have pics up, but I know for one, I am curious about these little tort's history. If anyone could take a shot at ID on these two, I'd appreciate it.

    Also, post 'em if you got 'em. Let's get pics and ID's to spread the knowledge here maybe.
  7. Madkins007

    Madkins007 Well-Known Member Moderator 10 Year Member!

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    Both of them have the lighter plastron of the Northern group. The first has the classic darker carapace of the North-eastern. The second COULD be a North-western, or just a light North-easterner.
  8. lezsolt

    lezsolt Member 5 Year Member

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    What about my little 6-month-old redfoot?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  9. egyptiandan

    egyptiandan New Member 5 Year Member

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    Lezsolt your little one is also a Northern form Redfoot. :D

    Danny
  10. Bryan

    Bryan Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Yup, specifically it could be a Venezuelan (I'm thinking this because I've seen Venezuelan's offered with light colored shells like that), or maybe not. Definitely a Northern though. Very nice tort, congrats!
  11. matt41gb

    matt41gb Member 5 Year Member

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    I'm wondering about my two females, they both have no red, only yellow on legs and head. Any idea where they're from? I was guessing Colombian?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  12. Madkins007

    Madkins007 Well-Known Member Moderator 10 Year Member!

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    As I have said before, I ain't an expert on ID'ing them, I just summed up my research into it- but most reports describe adult torts from Columbia and the other north-west areas as having shells that are 'grey', 'coffee', or otherwise 'not black'. I would guess your guys come from east of the Andes- Eastern Venezuela to French Guiana... but it is just a guess.
  13. fishtanker

    fishtanker New Member 5 Year Member

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    I love your female with almost no scute coloration. Very unique. I'd be interested in hatchlings if you ever hatch any.
  14. t_mclellan

    t_mclellan New Member 5 Year Member

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    Those females look to be from Panama.
    Could you post plastron photo's?
  15. matt41gb

    matt41gb Member 5 Year Member

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    I'll take some pictures tomorrow of their plastrons. I'm getting a nice male to breed with them soon. I wonder if the hatchlings will have any color. Both females almost have no red. I'll definitely let you know if I get any babies.
  16. t_mclellan

    t_mclellan New Member 5 Year Member

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    If you PM me with photo's of Top, Bottom, Side, Front, Rear. I might be able to get you an almost positive (kinda, sorta) Local & maybe locate a male.
  17. matt41gb

    matt41gb Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks, will do.
  18. matt41gb

    matt41gb Member 5 Year Member

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    Ok, here are some pictures of the tortoise and plastron shots.

    30 something year old red-foot (no red)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Red-foot in her teens (no red, some orange on legs)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Young male red-foot (no red)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Young female red-foot (no red)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    -Matt
  19. N2TORTS

    N2TORTS Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  20. matt41gb

    matt41gb Member 5 Year Member

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    Provide some plastron shots as well.
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