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Gopherus polyphemus (DAUDIN, 1801)

IUCN Red List - Gopherus polyphemus - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaTestudinidae, Testudinoidea, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: (Florida) Gopher Tortoise
G: Florida Gopherschildkröte 
SynonymTestudo polyphemus DAUDIN 1801: 256
Testudo depressa GUÉRIN-MÉNEVILLE 1829
Testudo Polyphemus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 104
Testudo gopher GRAY 1844
Testudo Polyphemus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 220
Gopherus polyphemus — STEJNEGER 1893
Gopherus polyphemus polyphemus, MERTENS & WERMUTH 1955
Gopherus polyphemus — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 74
Gopherus polyphemus — CROTHER 2000
Gopherus polyphemus — MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNI 2004
Gopherus polyphemus — TTWG 2014
Gopherus polyphemus — TTWG 2021 
DistributionUSA (along the Atlantic Coastal Plain in S South Carolina, Georgia, S Alabama, Florida, E Louisiana, Mississippi)

Type locality: vicinity of Savannah, Georgia (restricted by K.P. SCHMIDT 1953)  
Reproductionoviparous. Exhibits temperature‐dependent sex determination (TSD) fide Cornejo-Páramo et al. 2020 (and references therein). 
TypesSyntypes: unlocated (Iverson 1992: 261) 
CommentGopherus agassizii and G. berlandieri have been considered as subspecies of G. polyphemus previously.

Distribution: See map in Winchell (2006).

Type species: Testudo polyphemus DAUDIN 1802: 256 is the type species of the genus Gopherus RAFINESQUE 1832: 64. 
EtymologyNamed after Greek polyphemus, a cave-dwelling giant in Greek mythology.

The genus was apparently named after French “gaufre” for a small burrowing animal. 
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  • Castellón, Traci D.; Betsie B. Rothermel, and Saif Z. Nomani 2012. Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) Burrow Densities in Scrub and Flatwoods Habitats of Peninsular Florida. Chelonian Conservation and Biology Dec 2012, Vol. 11, No. 2: 153-161. - get paper here
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