Feiyan ZHANG,Hexiang GU and Pipeng LI.A Review of Chelonian Hematology[J].Asian Herpetological Research(AHR),2011,2(1):12-20.[doi:10.3724/SP.J.1245.2011.00012]
Click Copy

A Review of Chelonian Hematology
Share To:

Asian Herpetological Research[ISSN:2095-0357/CN:51-1735/Q]

2011 VoI.2 No.1
Research Field:
Original Article
Publishing date:


A Review of Chelonian Hematology
Feiyan ZHANG12* Hexiang GU1* and Pipeng LI2**
1 Huidong Gangkou Sea Turtle National Nature Reserve Management Bureau, Huidong 526359, Guangdong, China
2 Institute of Herpetology and Liaoning Key Lab of Evolution and Biodiversity, Shenyang Normal University, Shenyang 110034, Liaoning, China
chelonian blood cell morphology hematology
Hematologic investigations have been used successfully to diagnose disease and assess the physiological status of chelonians. Here, the microstructure, ultrastructure, development, and function of chelonian blood cells are summarized, and factors that affect hematologic results are reviewed. The limited body of chelonian hematology research is discussed, and recommendations for future work are provided.


Allender M. C., Fry M. M. 2006. Intracytoplasmic inclusions in circulating leukocytes from an eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) with iridoviral infection. J Wildl Dis, 42(3): 677–684
Altherr S., Freyer D. 2000. Asian turtles are threatened by extinction. Turtle and Tortois Newsletter, 1: 7–11
Arnold J. 1994. White blood cell count discrepancies in Atlantic loggerhead sea turtles: Natt-Herrick vs. Eosinophil Unopette. Proc Assoc Zoo Vet Tech, 15–22
Azevedo A., Lunardi L. O. 2003. Cytochemical characterization of eosinophilic leukocytes circulating in the blood of the turtle (Chrysemys dorbignih). Acta Histochem, 105 (1): 99–105
Bolten A. B., Bjorndal K. A 1992. Blood profiles for a wild population of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the southern Bahamas: Size-specific and sex-specific relationships. J Wildl Dis, 28(3): 407–413
Brenner D., Lewbart G., Stebbins M., Herman D. W. 2002. Health survey of wild and captive bog turtles (Clummys muhlenbergii) in North Carolina and Virginia. J Zoo Wildl Med, 33(4): 311–316
Chaffin K., Moler P., Norton T. M., Cray C., Origgi F. C., Gilardi K., Dierenfeld E. S., Gibbs S., Poppenga R., Chen T., Mazzaro L., Oliva M., Mazet J. 2008. Health assessment of free-ranging alligator snapping turtles (Macrochelys temminckii) in Georgia and Florida. J Wildl Dis, 44(3): 670–686
Campbell, T. 1998. Interpretation of the reptilian blood pro?le. Exotic Pet Practice, 3(1): 33–37
Campbell T. W. 2004. Hematology of lower vertebrates. In: 55th Annual Meeting of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) & 39th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASVCP), ACVP and ASVCP (Eds.), Middleton WI, USA. International Veterinary Information Service,?Ithaca NY (www.ivis.org), 1214, pl 1104
Cannon M. S. 1992. The morphology and cytochemistry of the blood leukocytes of Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempi). Can J Zool, 70: 1336–1340
Canfield P. J. 1998. Comparative cell morphology in the peripheral blood film from exotic and native animals. Aust Vet J, 76: 793–800
Cao F. J., Li C. L., Liu C. W., Qu J. L., Liu L. 2000. Micro and ultra - structure of peripheral blood in tortoise (Chinemys reevesii). J Zhanjiang Normal Coll (Nat Sci), 21(1): 51–53 (In Chinese)
Cao F. J., Li C. L., Liu C. W., Liu L. 2001. Micro and ultra-structure of peripheral blood in tortoise (Chinemys reevesii). Acta Hydrobiol Sin, 25(3): 261–267 (In Chinese)
Casal A. B., Freire F., Bautista-harris G., Arencibia A., Orós J. 2007. Ultrastructural characteristics of blood cells of juvenile loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta). Anat Histol Embryol, 36: 332–335
Casal A. B., Orós J. 2007. Morphologic and cytochemical characteristics of blood cells of juvenile loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta). Res Vet Sci, 82(1): 158–165
Cheng B. J., Jiang L., Song X. F., Ling X. Y., Zhu S. W. 1996. Seasonal change of blood cell number of Trionyx sinensis and its shape and structure. Chin J Appl Ecol, 7(4): 411–416 (In Chinese)
Christopher M. M. 1999. Physical and biochemical abnormalities associated with prolonged entrapment in a desert tortoise. J Wildl Dis, 35(3): 361–366
Christopher M. M., Berry K. H., Henen B. T., Nagy K. A. 2003. Clinical disease and laboratory abnormalities in free-ranging in California (1990–1995). J Wildl Dis, 39(1): 35–56
Christopher M. M., Berry K. H., Wallis I. R., Nagy K. A., Henen B. T., Peterson C. C. 1999. Reference intervals and physiologic alterations in hematologic and biochemical values of free-ranging desert tortoises in the Mojave Desert. J Wildlife Dis, 35(2): 212–238
Chung, C. S., Cheng, C. H., Chin, S. C., Lee, A. H., Chi, C. H. 2009. Morphologic and cytochemical characteristics of Asian yellow pond turtle (Ocadia sinensis) blood cells and their hematologic and plasma biochemical reference values. J Zoo Wildl Med, 40(1): 76–85
D?browski Z., Martins I. S. S., Tabarowski Z., Witkowska-Pelc E., Morna D. D. S., Spodaryk K., Podkowa D. 2007. Haematopoiesis in snakes (Ophidia) in early postnatal development. Cell Tissue Res, 328: 291–299
Daimon T., Gotoh Y., Uchida K. 1987. Electron microscopic and cytochemical studies of the thrombocytes of the tortoise (Geoclemys reevesii). J Anat, 153: 185–190
Davis A. K., Holcomb K. L. 2008. Intraerythrocytic inclusion bodies in painted turtles (Chrysemys picta picta) with measurements of affected cells. Comp Clin Pathol, 17: 51–54
Deem S. L., Norton T. M., Mitchell M., Segars A., Alleman A. R., Cray C., Poppenga R. H., Dodd M., Karesh W. B. 2009. Comparison of blood values in foraging, nesting, and stranded loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) along the coast of Georgia, USA. J Wildl Dis, 45(1): 41–56.
Deem S. L., Dierenfeld E. S., Sounguet G. P., Alleman A. R., Cray C., Poppenga R. H., Norton T. M., Karesh W. B. 2006. Blood values in free-ranging nesting leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) on the coast of the Republic of Gabon. J Zoo Wildl Med, 37(4): 464-471
Diaz-Figueroa O. 2005. Characterizing the health status of the Louisiana Gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus). A thesis submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State Univ and Agric and Mech Coll, 1–109
Dickinson V. M., Jarchow J. L., Trueblood M. H. 2002. Hematology and plasma biochemistry reference range values for free-ranging desert tortoises in Arizona. J Wildl Dis, 38(1): 143–153
DuGuy R. 1970. Numbers of blood cells and their variation. In: Gans C., Parsons T.S. (eds). Biology of the Reptilia. Vol 3. New York: Academic Press, 93–109
Frair W. 1977. Sea turtle red blood cell parameters correlated with carapac lenghts. Comp Bioch Physiol, 56: 467–472
Fu L. R., Hong M. L., Shi H. T. 2003. Progress in the research of chelonian blood cells. J Hainan Normal Univ (Nat Sci), 16(3): 68–73 (In Chinese)
Fu L. R., Hong M. L., Shi H. T., Wang X. N. 2004. Morphology and quantification of blood cells in four-eye spotted turtles. Chin J Zool, 39 (6): 73–76 (In Chinese)
Gottdenker N. L., Jacobson E. R. 1995. Effect of venipuncture sites on hematologic and clinical biochemical values in desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii). Am J Vet Res, 56(1): 19–21.
Guo Q. L., Jia W. Z. 2003. Ontogeny of hemopoietic and immune organs in the Chinese soft shelled turtle (Trionyx sinensis). Acta Zool Sin, 49 (2): 238–247
Hart M. G., Samour H. J., Spratt D. M. J. 1991. An analysis of haematological findings on a feral population of aldabra giant tortoises (Geochelone gigantea). Comp Haematol Int, 1(3): 145–149
Hidalgo-Vila J., Díaz-Paniagua C., Pérez-Santigosa N., Laza A., Camacho I., Fernando R. 2007. Hematologic and biochemical reference intervals of free-living mediterranean pond turtles (Mauremys leprosa). J Wildl Dis, 43(4): 798–801
Jacobson E. R. 2007. Infectious diseases and pathology of reptiles. CRC Press, 167–186
Jiang J. P. 2004. Observation on the development of white blood cells of Trionyx sinensis. J Fujian Normal Univ (Nat Sci), 20(2): 97–102 (In Chinese)
Jiang J. P., Huang J., Lin W. 2003. Development of red blood cell of Trionyx sinens. J Fujian Normal Univ (Nat Sci), 19(4): 67–70 (In Chinese)
Joyner P. H., Shreve A. A., Spahr J., Fountain A. L., Sleeman J. M. 2006. Phaeohyphomycosis in a free-living eastern box turtle (Terrapenecarolina carolina). J Wildl Dis, 42 (4): 883–888
Knotková Z., Doubek J., Knotek Z., Hájková P. 2002. Blood cell morphology and plasma biochemistry in Russian tortoises. Acta Vet Brno, 71: 191–198
Knotkova Z., Mazanek S., Hovorka M., Sloboda M., Knotek Z. 2005. Haematology and plasma chemistry of Bornean River turtles suffering from shell necrosis and haemogregarine parasites. Case Report, 50(9): 421–426
Li C. L., Cao F. J., Liu C. W., Liu L. 2000. Observation on the development of red blood cell of tortoise (Chinemys reevesii). J Zhanjiang Ocean Univ, 20(1): 1–4 (In Chinese)
Li C. L., Cao F. J., Liu C. W., Liu L. 2001. Observation on the development of blood cells of Chinemys reevesii. Acta Hydrobiol Sin, 25(5): 491–497 (In Chinese)
Li P. P. 1997. Studies on blood cells and hemopoiesis of turtles in China. In: Zhao E. M. (ed), Chinese Chelonian Research. Sichuan J Zool, 15 (Suppl.): 105–114
Li P. P., Zhu H. W. 1990. Micro- and ultra-structure of turtles basophil. Acta Zool Sin, 36 (2): 210–211 (In Chinese)
Li P. P., Zhu H. W. 1991. Study on fluorescent and EM cytochemistry of granular leukovytes of Clemmys mutica. J Nanjing Univ, 27(3): 520–523 (In Chinese)
Li P. P., Zhu H. W. 1993. Ultrastucture of peripheral blood cells of the freshwater turtle Mauremys mutica. In: Zhao E. M., Chen B. H., Papenfuss T. J. (eds), Proc of the First Asian Herpetol Meeting. Beijing: China Forestry Press, 1993, 91–94 (In Chinese)
Li P. P., Lu Y. Y. 1999. Research progress of blood cells of reptiles (2). J Yantai Teachers Univ, (Nat Sci), 15(4): 310–314 (In Chinese)
Lu Y. Y. 1999. Research progress of blood cells of reptiles (1). J Yantai Teachers Univ, (Nat Sci), 15(3): 235–240 (In Chinese)
Lu Y. Y., Li P. P. 1996. Haemopoiesis of the bone marrow in Chinese soft-shelled turtle (Trionyx sinensis). In: Yao Y. (ed), Collected Papers in the Trans-century. Xi’an: Shaanxi Scientific and Technological Press, 1996, 346–348 (In Chinese)
Lutcavage M. E., Lutz P. L., Bossart G. D., Hudson D. M. 1995. Physiological and clinicopathologic effect of crude oil on loggerhead sea turtles. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol, 28: 417–422
Mead K. F., Borysenko M. 1984. Surface immunoglobulin on granular and agranular leukocytes in the thymus and spleen of the snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina. Dev Comp Immunol, 8(1): 109–120
Mead K. F., Borysenko M., Findlay S. R.. 1983. Naturally abundant basophils in the snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina, possess cytophilic surface antibody with reaginic function. J Immun, 130(1): 334–340
Metin, K., Türkozan O., Kargin F., Basumoglu Y. K., Taskavak E., Koca S. 2006. Blood cell morphology and plasma biochemistry of the captive european pond turtle Emys orbicularis. Acta Vet Brno, 75: 49–55
Mihalca A., Acheǎlri?ei D., Popescu P. 2002. Haemoparasites of the genus Haemogregarina in a population of european pond turtles (Emys orbicularis) from Dr?g??ani, V?lcea county, Romania. Sci Parasitol, 2: 22–27
Mihalca A. D., Racka K., Gherman C., Lonescu D. T. 2008. Prevalence and intensity of blood apicomplexan infections in reptiles from Romania. Parasitol Res, 102: 1081–1083
Mu?oz F. J., Fuente M. D. L. 2004. Seasonal changes in lymphoid distribution of the turtle Mauremys caspica. Copeia, 1: 178–183
Norton T. M., Jacobson E. R., Sundberg J. P. 1990. Cutaneous fibropapillomas and renal myxofibroma in a green turtle, Chelonia mydas. J Wildl Dis, 26(2): 265–270
Oliveira-Junior A. A., Tavares-Dias M., Marcon J. L. 2009. Biochemical and hematologic reference ranges for Amazon freshwater turtle, Podocnemis expansa (Reptilia: Pelomedusidae), with morphologic assessment of blood cells. Res Vet Sci, 86(1): 146–151
Pan L. D. 1998. Histopathological studies on non-parasitical hepatosis of shelled turtle, Trionyx sinensis. J Fish Chin, 129–135
Pan L. D., Zou Y. R. 2000. Phagocytosis of neutrophilic granulocytes in Trioyx sinensis in vitro, J Fish Sci Chin, 7(2): 32–36 (In Chinese)
Pellizzon C. H., Azevedo A., Lunardi L. O. 2002. The thrombocyte aggregation process in the turtle Phrynopys hilarii (Chelonia). An ultrastructural study. J Submicroscopic Cytol Pathol, 34(3): 323–327
Pitol D. L., Issa J. P. M., Caetano F. H., Lunardi L. O. 2007. Morphological characterization of the leukocytes in circulating blood of the turtle (Phrynops hilarri). Int J Morphol, 25(4): 677–682
Rosskopf W. J. 2000. Disorders of reptilian leucocytes and erythrocytes. In: Fudge A. M. (ed.) Laboratory Medicine: Avian and exotic pets. Paddyfield: Sevier Health Sciences, 198–204
Samour J. H., Hewlett J. C., Silvanose C., Hasbun C. R., Al-Ghais S. M. 1998. Normal haematology of free-living green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas). Comp Haematol Int, 8: 102–107
Stamper M. A., Harms C., Epperly S. P., Braun-McNeill J., Stoskopf M. K. 2005. Relationship between barnacle epibiotic load and hematologic parameters in loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), a comparison between migratory and residential animals in Pamlico Sound, North Carolina. J Zoo Wildl Med, 36: 635–641
Tavares-Dias M., Oliveira-Junior A. A., Silva M. G., Marcon J. L., Barcellos J. F. M. 2009. Comparative hematologic and biochemical analysis for giant turtles from the Amazon farmed in poor and normal nutritional conditions. Vet Arhiv, 79: 601–610
Wang J. P., Guo M. S., Han X. F. 1999. Micromorphology and ultrastructure of blood cells of Trionyx sinensis. J Fish Sci Chin, 6 (4): 106-108 (In Chinese)
Wang J. P. 2001. General situation of chelonia hematology and blood chemistry research. Chin J Zool, 36(2): 47–51 (In Chinese)
Wood F. E., Ebanks G. k. 1984. Blood cytology and hematology of the green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas. Herpetologica, 40(3): 331–336
Work T. M., Balazs G. H. 1999. Relating tmor score to hematology in green turtles with fibropapillomatosis in Hawaii. J Wildl Dis, 35(4): 804–807
Work T. M., Raskin R. E., Balazs G. H., Whittaker S. D. 1998. Morphologic and cytochemical characteristics of blood cells from Hawaiian green turtles. Am J Vet Res, 59: 1252–1257
Work T. M., Rameyer R. A., Balazs G. H., Cray C., Chang S. P. 2001. Immune status of free-ranging green turtles with fibropapillmatosis from Hawaii. J Wildl Dis, 37(3): 574–581
Zaias J., Norton T., Fickel A., Spratt J., Altman N. H., Cray C. 2008. Biochemical and hematologic values for 18 clinically healthy radiated tortoises (Geochelone radiata) on St Catherines Island, Georgia. Vet Clin Pathol, 35(3): 321–325
Zhang F. Y., Gu H. X., Chen H. L., Xia Z. R., Li P. P. 2009. Blood cells morphology and hematology of Eretmochelys imbricata and Chelonia mydas. Chin J Zool, 44(6): 113–121 (In Chinese)
Zhu T. 2006. Current captive management and development prediction in Hainan province. Chin Fish, 8: 68–70 (In Chinese)
Zhou T., Wang W. 2009. Atlas of chelonian keeping and breeding. Beijing: China Agriculture Press (In Chinese)


Last Update: 2016-03-15