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INCREASING numbers of reptiles, mainly tortoises, are kept as pets. Schröter and others (2004) estimated that 3 per cent of US and European households harbour non-typical companion animals.
These captive animals are prone to several infectious diseases, including superficial as well as deep and systemic mycoses. The known reports of such infections mainly refer to the integumentary system (Jacobson and others 2000) and are due to soil-inhabiting fungi.
Dermal bone is a characteristic feature of chelonian species, it is present in the carapace, plastron and lateral struts connecting these structures and does not match the pattern of overlying keratinised scutes (Harvey-Clark 1995). Turtles and tortoises might suffer from fungal infection involving the skin, scale armour and carapace, which appear to be usually related to inadequate management, with particular regard to inappropriate temperature and moisture (Hatt 2010). Flamant and others (2003) reported a list of fungal biota affecting the shell of several Testudo from Western France, but, in general, data about aetiology and clinical course of tegumentary mycoses in chelonian are scanty. A wide range of both moulds and yeasts has been isolated from carapace lesions, but, to the best of the authors' knowledge, only three reports dealing about fungal scute disease are present in the literature (Bourdeau and Tronco 1992, Bouvard 1992 …