grandis vs. spinosa

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Marnix Hoekstra
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grandis vs. spinosa

Post by Marnix Hoekstra » Mon Mar 04, 2002 2:44 am

Hello everyone,

Last week I received a photo from Ron Tracy in Indonesia. The photo shows a group of turtles that he bought in Nias island, near Sumatra. Most of them are H.spinosa. Ron believes four of them are grandis. I cannot tell if he's right. They're too big to be spinosas. On the other hand; H.spinosa is a common species in Sumatra, and H.grandis doesn't occur there at all. Here is the photo:
Image
Click here to see the original photo:
images/mfh/Nias.jpg

I qoute from Ron's email:
In December I met with two turtle traders in Nias and brought back some larger turtles which I assumed to be spinosa. The largest weighs over 2 kg and has a top shell about 30 cm long. The trader said the largest turtles he sees weigh about 3 kg. This turtle looks similar to a mature spinosa but is more flat and larger than the largest described spinosa. The older spinosa are more dome shaped. Because these turtles may be 40 or 50 years old, the morophological differences of young grandis and spinosa are not apparent.
Ron's comment on the photo:
I believe there are three species of turtle. If this is correct TOP ROW LEFT, 3RD ROW (LARGEST TURTLE with 30 cm long shell) and 4TH ROW RIGHT may be Heosemys grandis. 4TH ROW LEFT is probably Cyclemys dentata. BOTTOM ROW may also be
Hemsemys grandis (but the shell looks somewhat different). The other turtles are Heosemys spinosa. All three of the turtles here which I guessed were grandis have smoother shells with growth lines. Is this possible? Other than their size, is there some obvious way to differentiate very mature grandis from spinosa? Spinosa appear to be more domed and grandis more flat. Is this a valid?
Opinions are welcome.

Marnix Hoekstra

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identifying Heosemys grandis

Post by mike » Fri Mar 08, 2002 6:52 pm

Hello Heosemys-friends!
Very interesting information we got from Ron/Indonesia.
My first but not last idea to the photo is, that there are six Heosemys spinosa in the top of the photo. The three last more black turtles on the bottom are one Cyclemys spec.(left side) and two Heosemys grandis on the right side).
Possibly the turtles on the photo can reach to the turtle dealer on Nias island by ship or airplane.

If the turtles are orign from Sumatra, so there are two new informations for us:
1.Heosemys spinosa grows up to 30cm lenghts.
(to this day we know only 22cm in:Ernst&Barbour, Turtles of the world,1989)
and
2.Heosemys grandis may live in Indonesia on Nias island!?
(in all books we find the information, that H.grandis only live down to Peninsular Malaysia and not on Sumatra or Borneo)

In Southeast Asia there are some more BATAGURIDAE and all live in Peninsular Malaysia AND on Sumatra, like some other reptiles as snakes and lizards.
This are: Batagur baska, Callagur borneoensis, Cuora amboinensis, Cyclemys spec., Malayemys subtrijuga, Notochelys platynota, Orlitia borneoensis, Siebenrockiella crassicollis and Heosemys spinosa.
Only Heosemys grandis and Hieremys annandalei we found only down to Peninsular Malaysia and not on Sumatra! Why only this two species may not live in both regions?

In the last years I have a look on many (round about 200) living Heosemys grandis and H. spinosa by hobbyists and in zoos and also dead H.grandis and H.spinosa in European Museums. There are many different formes in Heosemys spinosa. There are some with high carapax, flat ones, round, elongated, with spines and without spines when thes are adult, some light brown, some dark brown ...
May be that there are some bigger than 22cm, but i dont remember, that they reach to 30cm.
May be, that there is a revision of this turtle species in future by sientists.

It could be possible that the two black turtles in the bottom of the photo on the right side are also Heosemys spinosa, but only black instead of brown. I saw other blackish turtles in other turtle families, like Indotestudo elongata, Cuora galbinifrons, Psammobates spec., and Testudo graeca. Same like albino(white) turtles or favescetic(yellow) turtles.
Possibly the Heosemys spinosa form on Nias island only groth up better than H.spinosa from other regions like other island form of tutles (for example: Galapagos and Seychelles) and tend to be a little bit more black(like the turtles on the top of the photo too) or even totally black(like the two on the bottom).

We need more information from Ron, like photos from the plastron, the head and the legs, and we can say more!
What think all other Heosemys keepers and scientists about the photo?
yours
Michael Rudolphi/Germany
(P.S. please excuse may horrible english)

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Re: grandis vs. spinosa

Post by a forum member » Sun Mar 10, 2002 12:00 am

The Guide to snakes and other reptiles of Thailand and south east asia states that Heosemys spinosa exist in Sumatra, Borneo,the Natuna Islands and Mindanao.

My friend who is an expert in Turtles also said that Spiny Turtles are abundant in Indonesia.He did not say which island though.

The adult ones are more rounded,some are not spiny at all.

(maris_wong)

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identifying Heosemys grandis

Post by Marnix Hoekstra » Wed Mar 20, 2002 1:27 am

--- mike wrote:
My first but not last idea to the photo is, that there are six
Heosemys spinosa in the top of the photo. The three last more black
turtles on the bottom are one Cyclemys spec.(left side) and two
Heosemys grandis on the right side). (.....)
We need more information from Ron, like photos from the plastron, the
head and the legs, and we can say more!
Yes, that would be helpful. I'll ask for more photos. The descriptions of spinosa & grandis in Ernst & Barbour (1989) are very similar, but there are differences in the legs (toes are partially webbed vs. all toes webbed) & plastron.
Plastral formulas, i.e. relative size of the plastron scutes:
grandis: abdominal > femoral > pectoral > anal > < humeral > < gular
spinosa: abdominal > pectoral > femoral > humeral > gular > anal
I don't think the proportions of the scutes change when the turtles get older. Another difference that I've noticed is in the eyes. A spinosa's iris is an unbroken white ring, and a grandis' iris is divided by a black line. I haven't seen many spinosas, so correct me if this is not always the case.

H.grandis eye:
Image
H.grandis plastron:
Image

With kind regards,
Marnix Hoekstra

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identifying Heosemys grandis

Post by Marnix Hoekstra » Thu Mar 21, 2002 7:43 pm

--- mike wrote:
2.Heosemys grandis may live in Indonesia on Nias island!?
(in all books we find the information, that H.grandis only live down
to Peninsular Malaysia and not on Sumatra or Borneo)
Peter Pritchard's Encyclopedia of turtles, a classic in chelonian literature, shows a picture of a grandis from Indonesia! (p.538) But he doesn't mention their occurrence in Indonesia anywhere else in his books, so it's probably a mistake.
Marnix

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identifying Heosemys grandis

Post by Marnix Hoekstra » Thu Apr 11, 2002 9:40 pm

Hello everyone,
I got another message from Ron Tracy in Indonesia. His turtles have been identified.
All turtles in the picture, except for one Cyclemys, are Heosemys spinosa from Nias island.
So it turns out that spinosas from Nias can get much bigger than the textbooks say. In this case up to at least 30 cm & 3 kg.
With kind regards,
Marnix

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