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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. 
  • 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. Afrikanische Landschildkröten. Reptilia (Münster) 10 (56): 18-25 - get paper here
  • Valverde, J. 2005. African Tortoises. Reptilia (GB) (43): 12-20 - 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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