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Differentiating Male and Female Manouria impressa (Impressed Tortoise) - Pat Ruby and Chris Tabaka DVM


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Manouria Gallery

Impressed tortoises are one of the most unique of the tortoise chelonian species.  Though currently rare in private and zoo collections, a large amount of work is taking place on the species in a wide variety of arenas including disease detection, taxonomy,  and in country work at the Chengdu Zoo in central China- ($12,300 in American Zoological Association Conservation Endowment Fund award monies given in 2002 for this project).


The number one problem in the species currently is the lack of wild caught founders due to almost 100% mortality during the adaptation process to captivity.  While there are many species that are difficult to adjust, this species is far and away the toughest of all.


This is also an extremely difficult species to sex if you are just looking at one or two animals.  And we do mean extremely difficult!  But much like Geomyda spengleri, once you see a male, the differences are apparant and you know what a female looks like.




The following series of pictures shows a caudal view of the animal . Note the simply MASSIVE tail on the male on the left.  Not only is the base of the tail extremely large and slightly longer than the females on the right, but the overall tail stays large almost throughout it's entire length.


Male Manouria impressa

Female Manouria impressa


Again, note the large circumference of the tail throughout most of it's length in the male pictured on the left as compared to the smaller tail of the female on the right.   The length of the tails are also notably different in these two specimens with the male's tail extending almost up into the rear limb fossa and well past the cloacal scute tip.


Male Manouria impressa

Female Manouria impressa


Last but not least, note where the cloacal opening is in relation to the caudal/back edge of the cloacal scutes.  In the male, the opening is well past the imaginary line between the caudal edges of these scutes.  In the female on the right, the cloacal opening is right below this imaginary line.  Also, again note the sheer bulk of the male's tail throughout much of it's length.


Male Manouria impressa Female Manouria impressa  - World Chelonian Trust


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