Baseline plasma electrophoresis profiles (EPH) are important components of overall health and may aid in the conservation and captive management of species. The aim of this study was to establish plasma protein fractions for free-ranging Blanding's turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) and evaluate differences due to age class (adult vs. sub-adult vs. juvenile), sex (male, female, or unknown), year (2018 vs. 2019), month (May vs. June vs. July), health status, and geographical location (managed vs. unmanaged sites). Blood samples were obtained from 156 Blanding's turtles in the summer of 2018 and 129 in 2019 at two adjacent sites in Illinois. Results of the multivariate analysis demonstrated that age class, sex, year, month, health status, and geographical location all contributed to the variation observed in free-ranging populations. Adult females had the highest concentration of many protein fractions, likely associated with reproductive activity. Juveniles had lower protein concentrations. Temperature and rainfall differences between years impacted concentrations between 2018 and 2019, while May and June of both years saw higher levels in some protein fractions likely due to peak breeding and nesting season. Individuals with evidence of trauma or disease also showed increased plasma protein fractions when compared to those that were considered healthy. The two sites showed a wide/large variation over the two years. All of these factors emphasize the importance of considering multiple demographic or environmental factors when interpreting the EPH fractions. Establishing ranges for these analytes will allow investigation into disease prevalence and other environmental factors impacting this endangered species.
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