CARCASS TRAITS OF AMAZON TURTLES (PODOCNEMIS EXPANSA) REARED IN CAPTIVITY IN BRAZIL
Forty Amazon Turtles raised in captivity in Goias and Para States, Brazil underwent complete carcass dissection to determine parameters for carcass traits. The effects of sex, origin and live weight were investigated on actual weight and proportions of the various body parts. Mean liveweight was 2.19kg. Viscera made up 11.87% of the carcass, while the plastron accounted for 7.91%, meat and bone 34.66%, carapace 25.31% and fat 5.54%. Live weight affected the weights of different digestive tract parts (duodenum, cecum, colon). When weights proportional to live weight were investigated the live weight affected significantly the proportion of blood, head, fat and carapace, heavier animals having less blood and more head, fat and carapace. The means of sectioning the head for bleeding the carcass did not affect the amount of blood released. Males presented significantly more blood, heart, plastron, carapace, shell and liver and smaller head, stomach and intestines in terms of live weight and less blood. Females had larger head, plastron, liver, heart, carapace and shell when proportions were compared. Correlations were in general high and positive between traits except for those with stomach and intestine proportions. Principal component analysis defined different types of animals, including those who were heavy for all traits and those that were heavy for carcass traits but had light intestine and organ weights which would be of interest for breeding these animals for slaughter. These results can be used as the basis for further studies on this species.