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Psammobates geometricus (LINNAEUS, 1758)

IUCN Red List - Psammobates geometricus - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaTestudinidae, Testudinoidea, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Geometric Tortoise
G: Geometrische Landschildkröte 
SynonymTestudo geometrica LINNAEUS 1758: 199
Testudo geometrica — SHAW & NODDER 1797: plate 306
Testuod luteola DAUDIN 1802
Testudo geometrica — LINK 1807: 53
Testudo geometrica — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 57
Testudo geometrica — BELL 1836-1842
Testudo geometrica — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 220
Peltastes geographicus GRAY 1869 (ex errore)
Testudo geometrica — SOWERBY 1872
Testudo strauchi LIDTH DE JEUDE 1893
Psammobates geometricus — PRITCHARD 1967
Psammobates geometricus — TTWG 2014
Psammobates geometricus — TTWG 2021 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Tulbagh, Paarl, and Malmesbury districts of Cape Province)

Type locality: Asia.  
TypesLectotype: iconotype; Hoogmoed and Crumly 1984:254-257, designated as lectotype the illustration in Piso 1658:105. Wallin 1977, Zoon 5:77-78, demonstrated that the Linnaean type of Testudo geometrica, ZMUU 20 (cited incorrectly as ZIUS by Iverson (1986:165) is actually a Geochelone elegans (Schoepf 1795). The designation by Hoogmoed and Crumly (1984) of a lectotype for the species presently known as Psammobates geometricus eliminates the threat of replacing the name for the African geometric tortoise with the name long applied to the Indian star tortoise (after KING & BURKE 1989). 
CommentThis is one of the 25 most endangered turtle species according to a 2003 assessment by the IUCN.

Type species: Testudo geometrica LINNAEUS 1758: 199 is the type species of the genus Psammobates FITZINGER 1836: 113. 
EtymologyNamed after the geometric pattern on the carapace.

The genus is named after Greek “psammos” = sand, dunes, and Greek “batos” = walkable, accessible and Greek “baino” = walking. 
  • Baard, E. H. W. 1989. The Ecology and Conservation Status of the Geometric Tortoise Psammobates geometricus: Preliminary Results. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (36): 72-72 - get paper here
  • Baard, E. H. W. 1991. A Review of the Taxonomic History of and some Literature on the Geometric Tortoise, Psammobates geometricus. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (39): 8-12 - get paper here
  • Baard, E. H. W. 1992. Morphometric and Stripe Pattern Differences between Geometric Tortoise, Psammobates geometricus, Populations in the South - Western Cape Province. African Herp News (18): 15-20 - get paper here
  • Baard, E.H.W. 1995. Growth, age at maturity and sexual dimorphism in the geometric tortoise, Psammobates geometricus. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (44): 10-15 - get paper here
  • Baard, E.H.W.; Mouton, P.L.N. 1993. A Hypothesis Explaining the Enigmatic Distribution of the Geometric Tortoise, Psammobates geometricus, in South Africa. The Herpetological Journal 3 (2): 65-67 - get paper here
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bell, T. 1836. A monograph of the Testudinata. London, 1836-1842 (sometimes given as 1832-1836, not date given, unnumbered pages) - get paper here
  • Bonin, F., Devaux, B. & Dupré, A. 2006. Turtles of the World. English translation by P.C.H. Pritchard. Johns Hopkins University Press, 416 pp.
  • Duméril, A.M.C., and G. Bibron. 1835. Erpétologie Générale ou Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles, Vol. 2. Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret, Paris, iv + 680 p. - get paper here
  • Ernst,C.H. and Barbour,R.W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. - London
  • Fitzinger, Leopold 1836. Entwurf einer Systematischen Anordnung der Schildkröten nach den Grundsätzen der Natürlichen methode. Annalen des Wiener Museums der Naturgeschichte 1 (1): 103-128 [1835][Facsimile Reprint, SSAR 1997] - get paper here
  • Fraser M. 2023. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa. Biodiversity Observations 13: 162–185. 14 March 2023 - get paper here
  • Henen, Brian T.; Ulric P. van Bloemestein, Margaretha D. Hofmeyr & Craig A. Weatherby 2017. Variation in the daily activity, movement and refugia of Critically Endangered geometric tortoises, Psammobates geometricus, in autumn and spring. African Journal of Herpetology 66 (2): 79-92 - get paper here
  • Hofmeyr, Margaretha D.; Melita Vamberger, William Branch, Alfred Schleicher and Savel R. Daniels 2016. Tortoise (Reptilia, Testudinidae) radiations in Southern Africa from the Eocene to the present. Zoologica Scripta 46: 389–400, DOI: 10.1111/zsc.12223 [Record online: 18 NOV 2016] - get paper here
  • Hofmeyr, Margaretha; van Bloemestein, Ulric; Henen, Brian; Weatherby, Craig 2012. Sexual and environmental variation in the space requirements of the Critically Endangered geometric tortoise, Psammobates geometricus. Amphibia-Reptilia 33 (2): 185-197 - get paper here
  • Hoogmoed, M.S., and C.R. Crumly. 1984. Land tortoise types in the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Histoire with comments on nomenclature and systematics (Reptilia: Testudines: Testudinidae). Zoologische Mededelingen 58(15): 241-259. - get paper here
  • Iverson, J.B. 1986. A Checklist with Distribution Maps of the Turtles of the World. Paust Printing, Richmond, Indiana. viii + 282 pp.
  • Juvik, James, Atherton de Villiers and Riki de Villiers 2014. No fear of falling. The Tortoise 1 (3): 60-65 - get paper here
  • Linnaeus, C. [= Linné, C. von] 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii, Holmiæ. 10th Edition: 824 pp. - get paper here
  • Piso, W. 1658. Historiae Naturalis and Medicae Indiae Occidentalis. Libri Quinque. pp. 105-106. In: W. Piso. De Indiae Utriusque re Naturali et Medica. Libri Quatordecim, Amstelaedami. 327 pp.
  • Rau, R. 1971. Weitere Angaben über die geometrische Landschildkröte, Testudo geometrica. Salamandra 7 (3-4):123-136 - get paper here
  • Shaw,G. & Nodder,F.P. 1797. The Naturalist's Miscellany [...], Vol. IX. London, Nodder & Co., plates 301-348, 188 unnumbered pages [published in monthly issues between between August 1, 1797, and July 1, 1798]. - get paper here
  • Sowerby, James de Carle and Edward Lear 1872. Tortoises, terrapins, and turtles: drawn from life. London, Paris, and Frankfort :H. Sotheran, J. Baer & co. - get paper here
  • Stanford, C.B. et al. 2020. Turtles and Tortoises Are in Trouble. Current Biology 30: R721–R735 - get paper here
  • TTWG [Peter Paul van Dijk, John B. Iverson, Anders G.J. Rhodin, H. Bradley Shaffer, and Roger Bour] 2014. Turtles of the World, 7th Edition: Annotated Checklist of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution with Maps, and Conservation Status. 000.v7. Chelonian Research Monographs (ISSN 1088-7105) No. 5, doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v7.2014 - get paper here
  • TTWG; Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., Bour, R., Fritz, U., Georges, A., Shaffer, H.B., and van Dijk, P.P. 2021. Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status (9th Ed.). In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., van Dijk, P.P., Stanford, C.B., Goode, E.V., Buhlmann, K.A., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Chelonian Research Monographs 8:1–472. doi:10.3854/crm.8.checklist.atlas.v9.2021. - get paper here
  • Walton, Shasheen & Margaretha Hofmeyr 2017. Erythrocyte morphology of the Critically Endangered Geometric Tortoise Psammobates geometricus: effects of season, sex and age. African Journal of Herpetology 66 (1): 39-52 - get paper here
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