Formation of the chondrocranium of Trachemys scripta (Reptilia: Testudines: Emydidae) and a comparison with other described turtle taxa

Frank J. Tulenko, Christopher A. Sheil

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Few descriptions of the formation of the chelonian chondrocranium exist. Herein, developmental stages critical to the formation of the chondrocranium of the Redeared Slider, Trachemys scripta (Testudines: Emydidae), are described and illustrated, with particular attention given to ontogenetic changes that take place in the orbitotemporal region of the skull. Morphological descriptions are based on cleared and double-stained and serially-sectioned embryos. These specimens allowed for a detailed evaluation of the developmental morphology of the trabeculae, interorbital septum, pilae metoptica, taeniae marginalis, acrochordal cartilage, pilae antotica, parachordal cartilages, and crista sellaris. Additionally, the formation of the chondrocranium of T. scripta is compared to those of Chrysemys picta (Emydidae) and Caretta caretta (Chelonidae). Overall, the patterns of formation and remodeling of the chondrocranium are quite similar among these species, with the most conspicuous differences observed in remodeling of the posterior orbital cartilages (specifically, the pila metoptica). Reorganization of these cartilages is discussed briefly in the context of associated extraocular muscles for T. scripta and C. caretta. A prominent intertrabecula is reported in T. scripta, supporting previous observations of this structure in emydid turtles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-151
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Morphology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Caretta caretta
  • Chondrocranium
  • Chrysemys picta
  • Emydidae
  • Extraocular muscles
  • Orbitotemporal region
  • Reptilia
  • Testudines
  • Trachemys scripta

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