Speke's hinge-back tortoise
|Speke's hinge-back tortoise|
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hinge at the rear end of the upper part of its shell, permitting the protection of its rear legs after they have been retracted.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.
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.
Females of K. spekii lay a small clutch of two to four eggs in the summer.
Parasites of hinge-back tortoises
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
- Fritz, Uwe; Havaš, Peter (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World". Vertebrate Zoology. 57 (2): 286–287. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Kinixys spekii, p. 249).
- Gray, J.E. (1863). "Notice of a new Species of Kinixys and other Tortoises from Central Africa". Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., Third Series 12: 381-382. (Kinixys spekii, new species).