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Speke's hinge back tortoise

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Kingdom  Animalia
Subphylum  Vertebrata
Order  Testudines
Scientific name  Kinixys spekii
Phylum  Chordata
Class  Reptilia
Suborder  Cryptodira
Rank  Species
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Similar  Kinixys, Home's hinge‑back tortoise, Bell's hinge‑back tortoise, Lobatse hinge‑back tortoise, Forest hinge‑back tortoise

Speke's hinge-back tortoise (Kinixys spekii ), is a species of turtle in the family Testudinidae. The species is endemic to Africa.

Contents

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Etymology

The specific name, spekii, is in honor of English explorer John Hanning Speke.

Description

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K. spekii has an elongated carapace, up to 20 cm (7.9 in) in length, which is distinctly flattened (allowing it to seek refuge in rock crevices and under logs). Its carapace has a weak, disrupted medial keel, and posterior marginals that are neither strongly serrated nor reverted. This species has a well-developed hinge at the rear end of the upper part of its shell, permitting the protection of its rear legs after they have been retracted. The male has a notably longer tail than the female of this species, and the tails end in a spine. Females possess a flat plastron, yet males have a more concave one.

Geographic range

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Speke's hinge-back tortoise is found in East Africa from Kenya south to Swaziland, next to Mozambique and Zululand. Its range extends westwards as far as the coast of Angola.

Habitat

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K. spekii inhabits savannahs and dry bush with rocky areas. It tends to inhabit more wooded areas during the dry season, and to move out into the savannahs when the summer rains come.

Diet

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K. spekii feeds on small flowers, leaves, grass, herbs, succulents and fungi. It also eats snails and other small invertebrates, having a special preference for millipedes.

Reproduction

Females of K. spekii lay a small clutch of two to four eggs in the summer.

Parasites of hinge-back tortoises

Speke's hinge-back tortoise FileSpeke39s Hingeback Tortoise Kinixys spekii 14027958683jpg

Species of tortoises in the genus Kinixys play host to a number of ectoparasites (external) and endoparasites (internal). A survey (by Alan Probert & Clive Humphreys) of mixed captive K. spekii and K. belliana (mostly K. spekii ) in Zimbabwe showed that the following parasites were known to infest/infect this species. This had been observed and published by others too. However some of the tiny roundworms (photographed under SEM) are very likely new species and as yet remain undescribed.

  • Ticks (Arachnida)
  • Roundworms (Nematoda) – Angusticium, Atractis and Tachygontria
  • References

    Speke's hinge-back tortoise Wikipedia


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