The Greek or Mediterranean tortoise (Testudo graeca), commonly known as the spur-thighed tortoise, is a species of tortoise in the family Testudinidae that is found in North Africa, Western Asia and Europe. Several species of this genus are under threat in the wild, mainly from habitat destruction therefore, accurate information about the sexual cycle and the exact time of follicular development can be effective in successful reproduction planning and preventing species extinction.
The experimental part of this study is focused on the evaluation of the reproductive apparatus of tortoises and development of follicles in ovaries during 1 year by ultrasonography and computed tomography.
Ultrasonography and CT scanning was carried out on 10 female 'T. Graeca' tortoises which were maintained at Tehran Eram Zoo from November 2021 to November 2022 (1 year). Ultrasonography and CT exams were performed on all animals.
In the first study, on 28 November 2021, the ovarian cycle was characterized by the presence of previtellogenic follicles and atretic follicles. The numbers of follicles were best demonstrated on CT examination. Ultrasonography and CT scan in the second study showed no change in type of follicles from previous study. In the third study, atretic follicles were more than previtellogenic follicles, whereas in the fourth one, the numbers of previtellogenic follicles were more than atretic follicles. In following, at 6 and 29 June 2022, the absence of atretic follicles and just presence of previtellogenic follicles were observed. On 20 July 2022, the presence of a few number of atretic follicles and more previtellogenic follicles were noticed. On 30 July 2022, the absence of atretic follicles and presence of previtellogenic follicles and, for the first time, preovulatory follicles were obvious. In four following studies the absence of atretic follicles and the presence of previtellogenic follicles were diagnosed. In the last study, the absence of atretic follicles and the presence of preovulatory and previtellogenic follicles were observed.
In current study, the reproductive cycle of female T. Graeca is evaluated during 1 year in captivity with ultrasonography and CT scan. It can be concluded that in captivity, the reproductive cycle does not result in the formation of eggs or calcareous shells and atretic follicles in the study year continued as before; so this should be highly considered in captivity breeding programmes. This study also revealed that among imaging modalities, CT scan is the best modality for detecting the shape, size, type and numbers of the follicles for further evaluation of location and shape of the follicles.