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The angulate or bowsprit tortoise, Chersina angulata (Family Testudinidae), is endemic to southern Africa and is the type species of the monotypic genus. No subspecies are distinguished, but mtDNA markers indicate the presence of two distinct evolutionary lineages associated with the southern and western regions of South Africa, respectively. The species is medium-sized (carapace length to ca. 350 mm), sexually dimorphic with males larger than females, characterized by a large, protruding, undivided gular scute, and displays substantial color and size variation. The species is active throughout the year but temperature and rainfall modify its activity patterns. Males appear to establish dominance hierarchies in spring when they use their large gular scute to overturn rival conspecific males. Females produce single-egg clutches from late summer to late spring and can lay up to six clutches annually. Egg retention time varies substantially and correlates with temperature and rainfall. The diet includes a wide range of angiosperms as well as mosses, mushrooms, insects, snails, and animal feces. They are selective feeders and their diet changes with season and site. Chersina angulata is not threatened and is adequately protected.


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© IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group

Source: IUCN SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group

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