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Chersobius solus (BRANCH, 2007)

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Higher TaxaTestudinidae, Testudinoidea, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Nama dwarf tortoise, Nama padloper, Berger’s Cape Tortoise
G: Nama-Zwergschildkröte 
SynonymHomopus solus BRANCH 2007
Homopus bergeri LINDHOLM 1906
Homopus boulengeri — MERTENS 1955: 33
Homopus boulengeri — MERTENS 1971: 24
Homopus boulengeri — GREIG & BURDETT 1976: 270.
Homopus bergeri — BOYCOTT 1986, 10
Homopus bergeri — BRANCH et al. 1988: 5
Homopus bergeri — BRANCH 1989: 75
Homopus bergeri —IVERSON 1992: 264
Homopus bergeri — DAVID 1994: 50
Homopus bergeri — BONIN et al. 1996: 136
Homopus bergeri — ROGNER 1996: 81
Homopus sp. — BRANCH 1998: 28
Homopus sp. — BOYCOTT & BOURQUIN 2000: 180
Homopus bergeri — SCHLEICHER & LOEHR 2001
Homopus sp. — CUNNINGHAM & SIMANG 2007: 129.
Homopus “Namibian form” — VETTER 2002: 47
Homopus ‘solos’ — DAVAUX 2003: 40
Homopus bergeri (solos) — BONIN et al. 2006: 227
Homopus solus — SCHLEICHER 2015
Chersobius solus — HOFMEYER et al. 2016
Chersobius solus — TTWG 2021 
DistributionS Namibia (escarpment mountains near Aus, but with scattered records from other isolated mountains in the sand and gravel plains of the southern Namib Desert, e.g., the Kowiesberg near Luderitz, low granite hills 4-5 km SW from Tschaukaib siding (2615Da), and 2-3 km SE from Haalenberg siding)

Type locality: vicinity of Aus, Luderitz District, Namibia  
TypesHolotype: PEM R8754 (CDNEC 6381), an adult female collected by Peter Mostert during June 1982. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A small Homopus that forms part of the ‘Chersobius group’, and thus differs from H. areolatus and H. femoralis by possessing five claws on each forelimb, an obvious plastral concavity in mature males, a single inguinal and 11-12 marginals. Among the ‘Chersobius group’ it differs from H. signatus, its nearest geographical neighbour, and from H. boulengeri, to which it was originally referred (Mertens 1955, 1971), by having an areolar carapace colour pattern (usually speckled in signatus and patternless in boulengeri); usually lacking prominent buttock tubercles in both sexes (present in both sexes in signatus, but usually only in males in boulengeri); having two axillaries (usually single in both signatus and boulengeri); a tricuspid beak (usually bicuspid in signatus and rounded in boulengeri); a small, narrow nuchal (broad in signatus); a relatively shallower shell; fragmented prefrontals (usually more elongate and longitudinally divided in signatus and boulengeri); usually having 11 marginals (mainly 12 in signatusand always 12 or more in boulengeri); having a well-defined ridge on the bridge (rounded in boulengeri); and having the anal midline suture longer than the femoral (femoral suture longer than the anal in H. boulengeri). 
CommentTaxonomy: the type of H. bergeri Lindholm 1906 is actually Psammobates tentorius verroxii (A. Smith 1839, fide Branch 2007). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet solusis Latin for alone or lonely, describing both the separation of the species’range from that of all other members of the genus, as well as the desolate, parsely-populated habitat in which the tortoise lives. In addition, the name alludes phonetically (sol) to the sun and the heat of the Namib Desert. 
  • Bonin, F., Devaux, B. & Dupré, A. 1996. Toutes les Tortues du Monde. Delachaux et Niestlé, Lausanne, 254 pp.
  • Bonin, F., Devaux, B. & Dupré, A. 2006. Turtles of the World. English translation by P.C.H. Pritchard. Johns Hopkins University Press, 416 pp.
  • Boycott, R.C., & Bourquin, O. 2000. The Southern African Tortoise Book. A Guide to Southern African Tortoises, Terrapins and Turtles. Rev. ed. Privately published, Hilton. 228 pp.
  • Branch, W. R. 1998. Field Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. 3rd ed. Fully Revised and Updated to Include 83 New Species. Ralph Curtis Books (Sanibel Island, Florida), 399 pp.
  • Branch, W.R. 1989. Homopus bergeri Nama or Berger's padloper (English), Bergerse Skilpad (in Afrikaans). OCCASIONAL PAPERS OF THE IUCN SPECIES SURVIVAL COMMISSION (SSC) No. 5: 75-77
  • Branch, W.R. 2007. Anew species of tortoise of the genus Homopus(Chelonia: Testudinidae) from southern Namibia. African Journal of Herpetology 56 (1): 1-21 - get paper here
  • Branch,W.R. 1988. Field Guide to the snakes and other reptiles of southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town, 328 pp.
  • CUNNINGHAM, P.L. & A. SIMANG. 2007. Some aspects of ecology and behaviour of Homopus sp. from south-western Namibia (Chelonia: Cryptodira: Testudinidae). Herpetozoa 19 (3/4): 129-134 - get paper here
  • David, Patrick 1994. Liste des reptiles actuels du monde. I. Chelonii. Dumerilia 1: 7-127
  • Devaux B. 2003. Namibie, Afrique du Sud; des tortues d’exception!. La Tortue 63-64: 40-56.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Hofmeyr, Margaretha D. & William R. Branch 2018. The padloper’s tortuous path (Chelonia: Testudinidae): Two genera, not one. African Journal of Herpetology 67 (2): 99-112 - 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
  • Iverson, J.B. 1992. A revised Checklist with Distribution Maps of the Turtles of the World. Richmond, Indiana, privately published, 363 pp.
  • Lindholm W.A. 1906. Beschreibung einer neuen Schildkrötenart aus Deutsch-Südwestafrika nebst Bemerkungen über die Gattung Homopus D. et B. Jahrbücher des Nassauischen Vereins für Naturkunde 59: 345-351 [348]; Wiesbaden
  • Mertens, R. 1971. Die Herpetofauna Südwest-Afrikas. Senck. Naturf. Gesell., Frankfurt am Main, Abhandl. 529: 110 pp.
  • Mertens,R. 1955. Die Amphibien und Reptilien Südwestafrikas. Aus den Ergebnissen einer im Jahre 1952 ausgeführten Reise. Abh. senckenb. naturf. Ges. (Frankfurt) 490: 1-172 - get paper here
  • Rogner, M. 1996. Schildkröten 2. Heidi-Rogner-Verlag, Hürtgenwald, 265 pp.
  • Schleicher, A. & Loehr, V.J.T. 2001. Husbandry, Behavior, and Captive Breeding of the Nama Padloper, Homopus bergeri, from Southwestern Namibia. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 4 (1): 165-170
  • Schleicher, Alfred 2012. Seltenen Schildkröten Namibias auf der Spur. Terraria-Elaphe 2012 (1): 36-37 - 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.
  • 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
  • Vetter, H. 2002. Turtles of the world, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and Western Asia. Edition Chimaira, Terralog 1, 96 pp. - get paper here
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