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Testudo kleinmanni LORTET, 1883

IUCN Red List - Testudo kleinmanni - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaTestudinidae, Testudinoidea, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Egyptian Tortoise (werneri: Negev Tortoise)
G: Ägyptische Landschildkröte 
SynonymTestudo kleinmanni LORTET 1883: 188
Testudo leithii GÜNTHER 1869 (non T. leithii CARTER 1852)
Testudo kleinmanni — MERTENS & WERMUTH 1955
Testudo (Pseudotestudo) kleinmanni — LOVERIDGE & WILLIAMS 1957
Testudo kleinmanni — WERNER 1988
Testudo (Pseudotestudo) kleinmanni — SCHLEICH, KÄSTLE & KABISCH 1996: 152
Testudo kleinmanni — LAPPARENT DE BROIN 2001
Testudo werneri PERÄLÄ 2001
Testudo werneri — PIEH & PHILIPPEN 2007
Testudo kleinmanni — SINDACO & JEREMČENKO 2008
Testudo (Testudo) kleinmanni — TTWG 2017: 154
Testudo kleinmanni — TTWG 2021 
DistributionLibya (Tripolitania & Cyrenaica) and the Western desert in Egypt, up to Alexandria in the east

Type locality: "dans le sables de la basse Egypt, a surtout dans le environs d'Alexandrie," Egypt.

Type locality: Alexandria (Egypt) [lectotype; designated by PERÄLÄ 2001].

werneri: Israel, Egypt (from N Negev southwest along Mediterranean coastal regions on the Sinai peninsula to the Nile delta in Egypt). Type locality: northern Negev desert, Israel. Holotype found in “sand dunes 14 km south of Be’er Sheva (northern Negev desert, Israel).”  
TypesLectotype: MHNL 42000414 (original Lortet collection in Lyon; designated by PERÄLÄ 2001). Paralectotypes (formerly syntypes): MNHN 9839, USNM 10979, SMF 7810; SMF 7810 designated lectotype by Mertens 1967:52 is neither a former syntype or a lectotype, nor a current paralectotype, because it has never been part of any type series (PERÄLÄ 2001; and pers. comm.).
Holotype: HUJ 949 (Hebrew University) [werneri] 
CommentNomenclature: The name leithii is already preoccupied by a fossil pelomedusid turtle described from India in 1852. In addition, the type of Testudo leithii was claimed to originate from Baluchistan (today’s NW Pakistan), where the species has never been found again (after PERÄLÄ 2001).

Systematics: Note that a similar species from Israel, T. werneri, has been recently described by Perälä (2001). Bour (1989: Mésogée, 48) showed that the characters distinguishing Pseudotestudo were based on juveniles and are not retained into adulthood - thus Pseudotestudo was not considered a valid subgenus. Based on mtDNA sequence data Široký & Fritz (2007) concluded that T. werneri is not a valid species but a synonym of T. kleinmanni. This has been confirmed by Attum et al. (2007).

Conservation: This is one of the most endangered turtle species according to a 2003 assessment by the IUCN.

Distribution: T. werneri (when accepted as valid) is almost e See Bar et al. 2021 for a map.ntirely restricted to Israel. For a map see Escoriza & Hassine 2022: Fig. 1. 
EtymologyNamed after the collector of the types, E. Kleinmann. T. werneri has been named after Yehuda L. Werner of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 
  • Attum, Omar, Sherif Baha El Din, Salvador Carranza, Ryan Earley, E. Nicholas Arnold, Bruce Kingsbury 2007. An evaluation of the taxonomic validity of Testudo werneri. Amphibia-Reptilia 28 (3): 393-401 - get paper here
  • Attum, Omar; Mohamad M. Esawy, Wissam E. Farag, Ahmad E. Gad, Sherif M. Baha El Din and Bruce Kingsbury 2007. Returning them back to the wild: Movement patterns of repatriated Egyptian Tortoises, Testudo kleinmanni Lortet, 1883 (Sauropsida: Testudinidae). Zoology in the Middle East 41: 35-40. - get paper here
  • Attum, Omar; Rabea, Bassim; Duffy, Kate; El Din, Baha M. 2011. Testing the reliability of ring counts for age determination in the Egyptian tortoise (Testudo kleinmanni). The Herpetological Journal 21: 209-211 - get paper here
  • BAHA EL DIN, S.M.; OMAR ATTUM AND MINDY BAHA EL DIN 2003. Status of Testudo kleinmanni and T. werneri in Egypt. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 4 (3): 648
  • Bar, A., Haimovitch, G. and Meiri, S. 2021. Field guide to the amphibians and reptiles of Israel. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt Am Main. ISBN 9783-89973-120-0 - get paper here
  • Bar, Aviad and Guy Haimovitch 2012. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Israel. Pazbar LTD, 246 pp. - get paper here
  • Bauer, Aaron M.; Jonathan C. DeBoer , Dylan J. Taylor 2017. Atlas of the Reptiles of Libya. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 64 (8): 155-318 - 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.
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  • Devaux, Bernard 1997. Testudo kleinmanni. Reptilia (Münster) 2 (5): 43-51 - get paper here
  • Ernst,C.H. and Barbour,R.W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. - London
  • Escoriza D & J. Ben Hassine 2022. Niche diversification of Mediterranean and southwestern Asian tortoises. PeerJ 10:e13702 - get paper here
  • Farke, C. M. & C. Distler 2015. Ontogeny and abnormalities of the tortoise carapace: a computer tomography and dissection study. Salamandra 51 (3): 231-244 - get paper here
  • Fritz U., Buskirk J.R. 1997. The occurrence of Testudo kleinmanni in Tripolitania. Journal of the National Museum (Prague), Natural History Series 166 (1-4): 143-144 - get paper here
  • Gad, J. 2000. Die Haltung und Zucht der Ägyptischen Landschildkröte Testudo kleinmanni. Salamandra 36 (2): 113-120 - get paper here
  • Gad, Jürgen 2005. Ergänzende Bemerkungen zur Haltung und Zucht, sowie zum taxonomischen Status der Ägyptschen Landschildkröte Testudo kleinmanni Lortet, 1883. Emys 12 (4): 4-21.
  • Geffen, E. & H. Mendelssohn 1988. Home Range Use and Seasonal Movements of the Egyptian Tortoise (Testudo kleinmanni) in the Northwestern Negev, Israel Herpetologica 44 (3): 354-359. - get paper here
  • Geffen, E. & H. Mendelssohn 1989. Activity Patterns and Thermoregulatory Behavior of the Egyptian Tortoise Testudo kleinmanni in Israel Journal of Herpetology 23 (4): 404-409. - get paper here
  • Günther,A. 1869. Report on two collections of Indian reptiles. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1869: 500-507 - get paper here
  • Hlawatsch, W. 2009. Vorkommen von Testudo kleinmanni bei Misurata in Libyen. Elaphe 17 (2): 62-65
  • Hughes, B. 1986. Longevity Records of African Captive Amphibians and Reptiles: Part 1: Introduction and Species List 1 - Amphibians and Chelonians. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (32): 1-5 - get paper here
  • Lortet, L. 1883. Etudes zoologiques sur la faune du Lac de Tiberiade. Poissons et Reptiles du lac de Tibériade de de Quelques Autres Parties de la Syrie. Archives du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle. Lyon 3: 99-194, plates vi-xix - get paper here
  • Lourenço, João M.; Julien Claude, Nicolas Galtier, Ylenia Chiari 2011. Dating cryptodiran nodes: Origin and diversification of the turtle superfamily Testudinoidea. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 62 (1): - get paper here
  • Loveridge, Arthur & Williams, Ernest E. 1957. Revision of the African Tortoises and Turtles of the Suborder Cryptodira. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 115 (6): 163-557 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Amos Belmaker, Daniel Berkowic, Kesem Kazes, Erez Maza, Guy Bar-Oz and Roi Dor 2019. A checklist of Israeli land vertebrates. Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution - get paper here
  • Mendt,A. & Bender. C. 2001. Änderung der Bundesartenschutzverordnung in Aussicht gestellt. Elaphe 9 (1): 21-23
  • Mertens, R. 1967. Die herpetologische Sektion des Natur-Museums und Forschungs-Institutes Senckenberg in Frankfurt am Main nebst einem Verzeichnis ihrer Typen. Senckenbergiana Biologica 48: 1-106 - get paper here
  • Mertens, R., and H. Wermuth 1955. Die rezenten Schildkröten, Krokodile und Brückenechsen. Zoologische Jahrbücher. Abteilung für Allgemeine Systematik, Ökologie und Geographie der Tiere, Gustav Fischer Verlag, Jena. 83(5): 323-440.
  • Parham, James F.; Macey, J. Robert; Papenfuss, Theodore J.; Feldman, Chris R.; Turkozan, Oguz; Polymeni, Rosa; Boore, Jeffrey 2006. The phylogeny of Mediterranean tortoises and their close relatives based on complete mitochondrial genome sequences from museum specimens. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 38(1):50-64 [2005] - get paper here
  • Perälä, Jarmo 2001. A new species of Testudo (Testudines: Testudinidae) from the Middle East, with implications for conservation. Journal of Herpetology 35 (4): 567--582 - get paper here
  • Perala, Jarmo 2005. Assessment of the Threatened Status of Testudo Kleinmanni Lortet, 1883 (Testudines: Testudinidae) for the IUCN Red List. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 4 (4): 891-898.
  • Perälä, Jarmo 2006. Assessment of the threatened status of Testudo werneri Perätä, 2001 (Testudines: Testudinidae) for the IUCN Red List. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 5 (1): 57-66. - get paper here
  • Pieh, A. & Philippen, H.D. 2007. Mediterrane Landschildkröten. Draco 8 (32): 4-34 - get paper here
  • Scheffel, Ron. 2014. Testudo kleinmanni, die Ågyptische Landschildkröte - klein, aber anspruchsvoll. Radiata 23 (1): 4-51
  • Scheffel, Ron. 2014. Testudo kleinmanni, the Egyptian Tortoise - small yet demanding. Radiata (English edition) 23 (1): 4-51
  • Schleich, H.H., Kästle,W., Kabisch, K. 1996. Amphibians and Reptiles of North Africa. Koeltz, Koenigstein, 627 pp.
  • Schneider, C. & Schneider, W. 2008. The Egyptian Tortoise, Testudo kleinmanni LORTET, 1883 in Libya. Salamandra 44 (3): 141-152 - get paper here
  • Sindaco, R. & Jeremcenko, V.K. 2008. The reptiles of the Western Palearctic. Edizioni Belvedere, Latina (Italy), 579 pp. - get paper here
  • Široký, Pavel and Uwe Fritz 2007. Is Testudo werneri a distinct species? Biologia 62 (2): 228-231 - get paper here
  • Spawls, Stephen; Tomáš Mazuch& Abubakr Mohammad 2023. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of North-east Africa. Bloomsbury, 640 pp. - get paper here
  • TTWG; Anders G.J. Rhodin, John B. iverson, Roger Bour, Uwe Fritz, Arthur GeoRges, H. BRadley Shaffer, and Peter Paul van Dijk 2017. Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status (8th Ed.). In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Pritchard, P.C.H., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Ed Chelonian Research Monographs 7:1–292. doi: 10.3854/crm.7.checklist.atlas.v8.2017 - 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
  • van der Kuyl, Antoinette C.; Donato L. Ph. Ballasina, John T. Dekker, Jolanda Maas, Ronald E. Willemsen and Jaap Goudsmit 2002. Phylogenetic Relationships among the Species of the Genus Testudo (Testudines: Testudinidae) Inferred from Mitochondrial 12S rRNA Gene Sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 22: 174-183 - get paper here
  • Vlachos, E. and Rabi, M. 2018. Total evidence analysis and body size evolution of extant and extinct tortoises (Testudines: Cryptodira: Pan-Testudinidae). Cladistics 34: 652–683, doi:10.1111/cla.12227 - get paper here
  • Werner, Y.L. 2009. How not to write in defense of threatened tortoises. Journal of Threatened Taxa 1 (9): 471-473 - get paper here
  • Werner,Y.L. 1988. Herpetofaunal survey of Israel (1950-1985), with comments on Sinai and Jordan and on zoogeographical heterogeneity. in: Yom-Tov,Y. & Tchernov, E. (eds.) The zoogeography of Israel, Dr. W. Junk Publishers, Dordrecht (Netherlands); ISBN 90-6193-650-0
  • Wittmund, P. 2005. Haltung und Nachzucht von Testudo kleinmanni LORTET 1883. Elaphe 13 (2): 33-34
  • Zwartepoorte, H. 2007. Die Ägyptische Landschildkröte (Testudo kleinmanni) - Sehr beliebt und kritisch bedroht. Draco 8 (32): 74-78 - get paper here
  • Zwartepoorte, Henk. 2014. A spark of hope for the Egyptian Tortoise. Turtle Survival 2014: 70 - get paper here
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