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The Russian tortoise, Horsfield's tortoise or Central Asian tortoise Agrionemys horsfieldii, is a species of tortoise that is a popular pet. It is named after the American naturalist Thomas Horsfield.
The Russian tortoise is a small tortoise species, ranging from about 13 to 25 cm (13–20 cm for males, 15–25 cm for females). They are sexually dimorphic in that the females grow slightly larger, males tend to have a longer tail that is generally tucked to the side, and females tend to have flared scutes on their shells, while males do not. Males have a concave bump on the bottom half of their shells so that they can mount females during intercourse while females have flat bottoms. Coloration varies, but the shell is usually a ruddy brown or black, fading to yellow between the scutes, and the body itself straw-yellow and brown. They have four toes. They live such a long time (about 50–75 years), that people who keep them as pets often leave them in their will. They are usually rather social with humans.
This species is traditionally placed in Testudo. Due to distinctly different morphological characteristics, the monotypic genus Agrionemys was proposed for it in 1966. Today, Agrionemys horsfieldii is currently being accepted. DNA sequence analysis generally concurs, but not too robustly so. Some sources also list three separate subspecies of Russian Tortoise, but they are not widely accepted by taxonomists:
- Agrionemys horsfieldii horsfieldii (Gray, 1844) – Afghanistan/Pakistan and southern Central Asia.
- Agrionemys horsfieldii kazachstanica Chkhikvadze, 1988 – Kazakhstan/Karakalpakhstan.
- Agrionemys horsfieldii rustamovi Chkhikvadze, Amiranschwili & Atajew, 1990 – southwestern Turkmenistan.
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