ISSN 2398-2985      

Sex determination

Jreptile

Synonym(s): Sexing, Gender determination


Introduction

  • Reptile do not possess external genitalia, and a number of different techniques should be used in order to determine the sex in a reptile patient.
  • Methods of sex determination in reptiles include:
    • Sexual dimorphism.
    • Probing.
    • Endoscopy.
    • Radiography.
    • Ultrasonography.
    • Manual eversion of hemipenes or popping.
    • Hydrostatic eversion of hemipenes.
    • Plasma testosterone.
    • DNA sexing (karyotyping).
    • Laparoscopy.
  • The proper method to determine the sex of a reptile varies among species and age classes.
  • A combination of methods is preferred to increase accuracy.
  • No method is applicable for all reptile species.
  • Some methods are not 100% accurate.
  • The determination of sex in some species may be challenging.

Sexual dimorphism

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Turtles / tortoises

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Lizards

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Snakes

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Cloacal probing

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Manual eversion of hemipenes ('popping')

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Endoscopy

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Radiography / ultrasonography

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Other methods

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Di Ianni F, Volta A, Pelizzone I et al (2015) Diagnostic sensitivity of ultrasound, radiography and computed tomography for gender determination in four species of lizards. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 56 (1), 40-45 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Cheek R & Crane M (2017) Herpetoculture and Reproduction. In: Exotic Animal Medicine for the Veterinary Technician. 3rd edn. Eds: Ballard B & Cheek R. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 197-214.
  • Cheek R & Crane M (2017) Snakes. In: Exotic Animal Medicine for the Veterinary Technician. 3rd edn. Eds: Ballard B & Cheek R. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 137-181.
  • Rivera S (2017) Chelonians. In: Exotic Animal Medicine for the Veterinary Technician. 3rd edn. Eds: Ballard B & Cheek R. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 183-196.
  • Wilson B (2017) Lizards. In: Exotic Animal Medicine for the Veterinary Technician. 3rd edn. Eds: Ballard B & Cheek R. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 95-136.
  • Girling S (2013) Basic Reptile and Amphibian Anatomy and Physiology. In: Veterinary Nursing of Exotic Pets. 2nd edn. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 250-251, 254 & 259.
  • Mader D R (2006) Ed Reptile Medicine and Surgery. Saunders Elsevier, USA. pp 1242.
  • Girling S J & Raiti P (2004) BSAVA Manual of Reptiles. BSAVA, UK. pp 383.
Reproduced with permission from Bonnie Ballard & Ryan Cheek: Exotic Animal Medicine for the Veterinary Technician © 2017, and Simon J Girling: Veterinary Nursing of Exotic Pets © 2013, published by John Wiley & Sons.

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