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Home » Archive » 2019

TDK conference 2019

Sex determination of lizard species (Sauria) with imaging diagnostic method
Ziszisz Árisz - year 4
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Exotic Animal and Wildlife Medicine
Supervisors: Dr. János Gál, Dr. Márton Hoitsy

Abstract:

Certain species of reptiles can be sexed upon hatching/birth, and there are further species where the sex of the new generation may be determined by temperatures used during incubation. However, sexual dimorphism is not pronounced in many species even in adult specimens. Sexing male and female specimens is an essential part of husbandry and species conservation today. During our research, we focused on species, where sexual dimorphism does not manifest, or only visible at a certain age.

We were looking for the least invasive method for our research, which still delivers reliable results, and is suitable for meeting the increasing demand from reptile keepers at a pet clinic. Based on the above factors, we decided on radiocontrast imaging. Little information is available on the method regarding its use in reptiles, for which reason we had to develop several detailed aspects ourselves, and we performed most examinations for the first time on the species used in our research.

After an overview of the anatomy of the species assessed, we selected an appropriate fixation technique, contrast material and injection applicator. Using the appropriate instruments, we administered the radiocontrast material into the cavity containing the animals' hemipenis/hemiclitoris. Following the manual filling of the cavity, we took X-ray images of the ventrodorsal, dorsoventral, and laterolateral aspects. This was followed by the evaluation of the images, where we distinguished between male and female genitalia based on the morphological differences shown by the radiocontrast material. We performed our examinations on the pets and breeding stock of private reptile keepers, and on specimens in zoo collections. We examined specimens of more than 20 species during our research, all of which belonged to the suborder of lizards. The great majority of these species have never been studied with similar methods.

We wish to use our findings in ex- and in situ species conservation in the future, and transfer them to practical applications. We are planning to determine reference points for further species of reptiles, based on which the examining veterinarian may draw clear conclusions as to the sex of the specimens in the safest manner possible.



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