Speke's hinge-back tortoise

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Speke's hinge-back tortoise
Speke's Hingeback Tortoise (Kinixys spekii) (14027958683).jpg
Speke's hinge-back tortoise at Kruger National Park, South Africa
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Kinixys
K. spekii
Binomial name
Kinixys spekii
Gray, 1863
  • 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

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


The specific name, spekii, is in honor of English explorer John Hanning Speke.[2]


Kinixys 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 (the co-occurring pancake tortoise is even more flattened). 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hinge at the rear end of the upper part of its shell, permitting the protection of its rear legs after they have been retracted.[3] The male has a notably longer tail than the female of this species, and the tails end in a spine.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.[4]

Geographic range[edit]

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.


Kinixys 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.


Kinixys 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.[3]


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


  1. ^ Fritz, Uwe; Havaš, Peter (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World" (PDF). Vertebrate Zoology. 57 (2): 286–287. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  2. ^ 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).
  3. ^ a b nlbif.eti.uva.nl Archived 2011-06-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Chelonia.org

Further reading[edit]

  • 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).

External links[edit]