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Chersina angulata (SCHWEIGGER, 1812)

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Higher TaxaTestudinidae, Testudinoidea, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: South African Bowsprit Tortoise, Angulate Tortoise
G: Schnabelbrustschildkröte 
SynonymTestudo angulata SCHWEIGGER 1812: 321, 360, 443
Testudo angulata — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 130
Testudo angulata — BELL 1836-1842
Testudo Angulata — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 221
Testudo angulata — SOWERBY 1872
Testudo angulata — BOETTGER 1889: 286
Goniochersus angulata — LINDHOLM 1929
Neotestudo angulata — HEWITT 1931: 504
Chersina angulata — LOVERIDGE & WILLIAMS 1957
Chersina angulata — KING & BURKE 1989
Chersina angulata — VALVERDE 2005
Chersina angulata — HOFMEYR AND BAARD in BATES et al. 2014
Chersina angulata — TTWG 2021 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (along the coastline of Cape Province, from East London westward to the mouth of the Orange River), Namibia (introduced fide LEVER 2003: 22).

Type locality: "Patria ignota" (= country unknown).  
Reproductionoviparous, facultatively viviparous (Kuchling & Hofmeyr 2022) 
TypesLectotype: MNHN-RA 4087, paralectotype: MNHN-RA 4067, designated by Bour. See BOUR (2008) for details. 
CommentIllustration in Elaphe 10 (1): 23 [2002].

Status: IUCN 2008 Red List: Not Listed (= Least Concern, LR/lc) (assessed 1996, needs updating); CITES: Appendix II (as Testudinidae spp.); South African Red Data Book: Not Listed.

Type Species: Testudo angulata SCHWEIGGER 1812 s the type species of the genus Chersina GRAY 1831.

Chersina angulata can be quite variable with bright red and black or yellow and black plastrons. 
EtymologyUnclear, but apparently from Latin angulatus = made angular, cornered, with angles, angular. 
  • 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.
  • Bauer, A.M., and Branch, W.R. 2003. The herpetofauna of the Richtersveld National Park, Northern Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. Herpetological Natural History 8: 111-160 [2001]
  • Bell, T. 1836. A monograph of the Testudinata. London, 1836-1842 (sometimes given as 1832-1836, not date given, unnumbered pages) - get paper here
  • Boettger, O. 1889. Herpetologische Miscellen. [I Epirus, II Corfu, III Kamerun, IV Gross-Namaland, V Transvaal, VI. Pondoland, VII Madagascar, VIII Madras, IX Java, X Nias, XI Nordwest-Peru]. Bericht senckenb. naturf. Ges. (Frankfurt): 267-316 - 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.
  • Bour, R. 2008. The type specimens of Testudo angulata Schweigger, 1812 and Testudo bellii Gray, 1828. Emys 15 (1): 28-34
  • Branch, W. R. 1973. Birth in the Mole Snake, Pseudaspis cana. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (10): 24-29 - get paper here
  • Branch, W. R. 1990. Life History Note: Chersina angulata: Predation. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (37): 52-52 - get paper here
  • Branch, W. R. 1991. Life History Note: Chersina angulata: Avian Predation. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (39): 27-27 - get paper here
  • Branch, W.R. 1984. Preliminary Observations on the Ecology of the Angulate Tortoise (Chersina angulata) in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa Amphibia-Reptilia, 5(1): 43-55. - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1994. Herpetofauna of the Sperrgebeit [sic] Region of Southern Namibia. Herpetological Natural History 2 (1): 1-11.
  • Daniels, Savel R.; Margaretha D. Hofmeyr, Brian T. Henen and Keith A. Crandall 2007. Living with the genetic signature of Miocene induced change: Evidence from the phylogeographic structure of the endemic angulate tortoise Chersina angulata. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 45 (3): 915-926 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M.C., G. BIBRON & A. DUMÉRIL 1854. Erpétologie générale ou Histoire Naturelle complète des Reptiles. Vol. 9. Paris, XX + 440 S. - get paper here
  • 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
  • Els, R. A. 1989. Aspects of the Thermoregulation of Chersina angulata. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (36): 74-74 - get paper here
  • Ernst,C.H. and Barbour,R.W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. - London
  • Fleck, J. & Fleck, S. 2001. Erfolgreiche Nachzucht von Chersina angulata und Homopus areolatus über mehrere Jahre. Elaphe 9 (3): 5-14
  • 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
  • Fritz, U., Tolley, K. A., Vamberger, M., & Ihlow, F. 2022. Phylogeny and phylogeography of chelonians from sub-Saharan Africa—A review of current knowledge in tribute to Margaretha D. Hofmeyr. Vertebrate Zoology, 72: 951-969 - get paper here
  • Gray,J. E. 1866. Notes on some young specimens of tortoises (Testudo). Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1866: 305-306 - get paper here
  • Greig, J.C., and P.D. Burdett. 1976. Patterns in the distributions of Southern African terrestrial tortoises (Cryptodira: Testudinidae). Zool. Africana 11(2): 250-267.
  • Haagner, G. V. 1990. Life History Note: Chersina angulata: Size and Distribution. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (37): 51-51 - get paper here
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Hewitt, J. 1931. Descriptions of some African tortoises. Annals of the Natal Museum Pietermaritzburg. 6: 461-506.
  • Hofmeyr, M.D. 2004. Egg Production in Chersina angulata: An Unusual Pattern in a Mediterranean Climate Journal of Herpetology 38 (2): 172-179. - get paper here
  • Hofmeyr, M.D. 2009. Chersina angulata (Schweigger 1812) – Angulate Tortoise, South African Bowsprit Tortoise. Chelonian Research Monographs (5): 030.1-030.6 - 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
  • Joshua, Quinton I.; Margaretha D. Hofmeyr, and Brian T. Henen 2010. Seasonal and Site Variation in Angulate Tortoise Diet and Activity. Journal of Herpetology 44 (1): 124–134 - get paper here
  • Kuchling G and Hofmeyr MD 2022. Too Hot to Nest? In a Hot Summer the Tortoise Chersina angulata Can Switch From Nesting to Facultative Viviparity. Front. Ecol. Evol. 9: 788764 - get paper here
  • Lever, C. 2003. Naturalized reptiles and amphibians of the world. Oxford University Press, 338 pp.
  • Lindholm W.A. 1929. Revidiertes Verzeichnis der Gattungen der rezenten Schildkröten nebst Notizen zur Nomenklatur einiger Arten. Zoologischer Anzeiger 81(2): 275-295
  • 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
  • Ramsay, S.L., M.D. Hofmeyr & Q.I. Joshua 2002. Activity Patterns of the Angulate Tortoise (Chersina angulata) on Dassen Island, South Africa Journal of Herpetology 36 (2): 161-169. - get paper here
  • Schleicher, Alfred 2015. Reptilien Namibias. Namibia Scientific  Society, 276 pp.
  • Schleicher, Alfred 2020. Reptiles of Namibia. Kuiseb Publishers, Windhoek, Namibia, 271 pp.
  • Schönecker, P. 2014. Südafrika. Auf Reptiliensuche entlang der Garden Route. Reptilia (Münster) 19 (105): 80-93
  • Schweigger, A.F. 1812. Prodromus Monographia Cheloniorum auctore Schweigger. Königsberg. Arch. Naturwiss. Mathem., 1: 271-368, 406-458.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Valverde, J. 2005. African Tortoises. Reptilia (GB) (43): 12-20 - get paper here
  • Valverde, J. 2005. Afrikanische Landschildkröten. Reptilia (Münster) 10 (56): 18-25 - get paper here
  • Van Den Berg, P.; Baard, E.H.W. 1994. Regional variation in morphometric characters in the angulate tortoise, Chersina angulata, from South Africa. Journal of the Herpetological Association of Africa 43: 28-32 - get paper here
  • Van Heezik, Yolanda M.;Cooper, John;Seddon, Philip J. 1994. Population characteristics and morphometrics of angulate tortoises on Dassen Island, South Africa. Journal of Herpetology 28 (4): 447-453 - get paper here
  • Vinke, T. & Vinke, S. 2005. The tortoises of Africa. Diversity through adaptation to extreme habitats. Reptilia (GB) (43): 21-25 - get paper here
  • Vinke, T. & Vinke, S. 2005. Die Lanschildkröten Afrikas - Vielfalt durch Anpassung an extreme Lebensräume. Reptilia (Münster) 10 (56): 26-28 - get paper here
  • Wirth, M. 2009. Afrikanische Schönheit unter Pinguinen - Ökologische Beziehungen der Schnabelbrustschildkröte im Kapland Südafrikas. Reptilia (Münster) 14 (75): 66-75 - get paper here
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