Angulate Tortoise

Chersina angulata

Summary 4

The bowsprit tortoise (Chersina angulata), known in southern Africa as the angulate tortoise or rooipens, is a species of tortoises found in dry areas and scrub forest in South Africa. This tortoise in the only known member of the genus Chersina.

Diagnosis 5

A small, shy tortoise with a relatively variable shell, they can often be distinguished by their prominent "bowsprits", which are protrusions of the "gular" shields, from their plastrons under their chins. These are used by males to fight for territory or females. Uniquely, this species has only one gular shield under its chin; all other southern African tortoises have a divided/double scaled gular. Angulate specimens have 5 claws on their front legs and 4 on each back leg. They also, like most other southern African tortoises, have a nuchal scute.

Conservation 6

This species is very common and will congregate in large groups. No conservation measures are really neccesary at the moment.

Sources and Credits 6

  1. Branch, W.R. (1984) Preliminary observations on the ecology of the angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata) in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Amphibia-Reptilia, 5(1): 43 - 55.
  2. Turtles of the World (CD-ROM), by Ernst, C.H., Altenburg, R.G.M. and Barbour, R.W. (November, 2008)

  3. Mann, G.K.H., O’Riain, M.J. and Hofmeyr, M.D. (2006) Shaping up to fight: sexual selection influences body shape and size in the fighting tortoise (Chersina angulata). Journal of Zoology, 269: 373 - 379.
  4. World Chelonian Trust (November, 2008)

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Mike Richardson and Sarah Winch, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND),
  2. (c) Javier Ábalos Alvarez, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  3. James De Carle Sowerby, no known copyright restrictions (public domain),
  4. Adapted by calebcam from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  5. Adapted by calebcam from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  6. (c) calebcam, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)

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