Speke's hinge-back tortoise

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Speke's hinge-back tortoise
Kinixys spekii.jpg
Not listed[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Kinixys
Species: K. spekii
Binomial name
Kinixys spekii
Gray, 1863e
  • Kinixys spekii Gray, 1863
  • Cinixys spekii Boulenger, 1889
  • Homopus darlingi Boulenger, 1902
  • Testudo procterae Loveridge, 1923
  • Kinixys australis Hewitt, 1931
  • Kinixys darlingi Hewitt, 1931
  • Kinixys jordani Hewitt, 1931
  • Kinixys youngi Hewitt, 1931
  • Kinixys australis mababiensis FitzSimons, 1932
  • Kinixys australis australis Mertens, Müller & Rust, 1934
  • Kinixys belliana spekei Mertens, Müller & Rust, 1934 (ex errore)
  • Malacochersus procterae Mertens, Müller & Rust, 1934
  • Kinixys belliana australis Mertens & Wermuth, 1955
  • Kinixys belliana darlingi Mertens & Wermuth, 1955
  • Kinixys belliana mababiensis Mertens & Wermuth, 1955
  • Kinixys belliana spekii Mertens & Wermuth, 1955

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


This tortoise has an elongated carapace, up to 20 cm 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hinge at the rear end of the upper part of its shell, permitting the protection of its rear legs after they have been retracted.[1] The male has a notably longer tail than the female of this species, and the tails end in a spine.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.[3]

Range and habitat[edit]

The 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.

It 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.

It feeds on small flowers, leaves, grass, herbs, succulents and fungi. It also eats snails and other small invertebrates, having a special preference for millipedes.[1]

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

Parasites of hinge-back tortoises[edit]

Naturally Kinixys species tortoises 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 undiscribed. Ticks (Arachnida) - Roundworms (Nematoda)- Angusticium, Atractis and Tachygontria


  1. ^ a b c nlbif.eti.uva.nl
  2. ^ Fritz Uwe; Peter Havaš (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. 
  3. ^ Chelonia.org

Further reading[edit]