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Agrionemys horsfieldii (but see text)
The Russian tortoise, Horsfield's tortoise or Central Asian tortoise Agrionemys horsfieldii, is a species of tortoise and a popular pet. The species is named after the American naturalist Thomas Horsfield.
The Russian tortoise is a small tortoise species, with a size range of 13–25 cm (5–10 in). Females grow slightly larger (15–25 cm [6–10 in]) to accommodate more eggs. Males average 13–20 cm (5–8 in).
Russian tortoises are sexually dimorphic. Males tend to have longer tails generally tucked to the side; females have a short, fat tail. The male has a slit-shaped vent (cloaca) near the tip of its tail; the female has an asterisk-shaped vent (cloaca). Russian tortoises have four toes. Coloration varies, but the shell is usually a ruddy brown or black, fading to yellow between the scutes, and the body is straw-yellow and brown.
The male Russian tortoise courts a female through head bobbing, circling, and biting her forelegs. When she submits, he mounts her from behind, making high-pitched squeaking noises during mating. these tortoises are very friendly
This species is traditionally placed in Testudo. Due to distinctly different morphological characteristics, the monotypic genus Agrionemys was proposed for it in 1966. Today, Agrionemys horsfieldii is currently being accepted. DNA sequence analysis generally concurs, but not too robustly so. Some sources also list three separate subspecies of Russian tortoise, but they are not widely accepted by taxonomists:
- T. h. horsfieldii (Gray, 1844) – Afghanistan/Pakistan and southern Central Asia
- T. h. kazachstanica Chkhikvadze, 1988 – Kazakhstan/Karakalpakhstan
- T. h. rustamovi Chkhikvadze, Amiranschwili & Atajew, 1990 – southwestern Turkmenistan
- Fritz Uwe; Peter Havaš (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World". Vertebrate Zoology 57 (2): 301–302. ISSN 18640-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- Khozatsky & Mlynarski (1966)
- e.g. Fritz et al. (2005)
- da Nóbrega Alves, Rômulo Romeu; da Silva Vieira; Washington Luiz & Gomes Santana, Gindomar (2008): Reptiles used in traditional folk medicine: conservation implications. Biodiversity and Conservation 17(8): 2037–2049. doi:10.1007/s10531-007-9305-0 (HTML abstract, PDF first page)
- Fritz, Uwe; Kiroký, Pavel; Kami, Hajigholi & Wink, Michael (2005): Environmentally caused dwarfism or a valid species - Is Testudo weissingeri Bour, 1996 a distinct evolutionary lineage? New evidence from mitochondrial and nuclear genomic markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37: 389–401. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.03.007
- Khozatsky, L.I. & Mlynarski, M. (1966): Agrionemys - nouveau genre de tortues terrestres (Testudinidae). Bulletin de l'Académie Polonaise des Sciences II - Série des Sciences Biologiques 2: 123-125.
- Tortoise & Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG) (1996). Testudo horsfieldii. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Listed as Vulnerable (VU A2d v2.3)
- Alderton, D.: Turtles and Tortoises of the World. New York, New York: Facts on File, 1988.
- Ernst, C. H. and Barbour, R. W.: Turtles of the World. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.
- Highfield, A. C.: Keeping and Breeding Tortoises in Captivity. Avon, England: R & A Publishing, 1990.
- Obst, F. J.: Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins. St. Martin's Press, New York, 1988.
- Pritchard, P. C. H.: Encyclopedia of Turtles. Neptune City, New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications. 1979.
- Pursall, B.: Mediterranean Tortoises. Neptune City, New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications, 1994.
- Wahlquist, H.: Horsfield's tortoise, Agrionemys horsfieldii. Tortuga Gazette 27(6): 1-3, June 1991.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Testudo horsfieldii.|
- Russian (Horsfield's) Tortoise Care Information
- Tortoise Forum: Russian Tortoise Care Sheet
- Tortoise Supply: Russian Tortoise Care Sheet
- TurtleTimes - Online Resource for Tortoises and Turtles
- Popular Pets: Russian Tortoise Care Sheet
- Russian Tortoise Basic Care and some insight
- Pictures, Images and Photos