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Kinixys Diversification

Discussion in 'Hingeback tortoises' started by tortadise, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Well I dont have quite all the best photos from some of our specimens, but I am posting this anyways and will update it later I suppose.

    Kinixys Has 8 species. Some are quite difficult to distinguish. Especially in overlapping ranges. We have 6 of the 8 species.
    Some photos and short verbiage to identify some.

    Kinixys Belliana and Kinixys Nogyuei pictured here. Belliana on left and nogyuei on right. Nogyuei have a dark brown facial coloring and straight sloped beak. Nogyuei tend to flatten and oblong toward posterior vertebral scute 3/4 then hinge. Belliana have a shadow mask of blue to black beak and yellow to blonde head. Belliana have 5 forelimb toes and 4 year hind limb toes. Nogyuei have 4 forelimb toes and 4 sometimes 3 hind limb toes. Belliana also do not oblong or flatten at the vertebral scutes. They trapezoid and uprise towards the flank. (photo not taken but will post later to show differences)
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    Belliana Belliana Beak
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    Nogyuei Forelimb Nails
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    Nogyuei Hind Limb Nails
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    Nogyuei beak (Needs trimming, but this should show the dark coloration of the head)
    [​IMG]

    Kinixys Zombensis
    Closest related to the Belliana Belliana. Shadow of the black to blue beak is almost indistinguishable. The beak on belliana belliana curves inward where as zombensis sticks rather straight down.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Forelimb Toes always 5 and Hind limb toes always 4. Tail tends to obtain claw on both males and females(as seen in photo)
    [​IMG]

    Zombensis beak
    [​IMG]

    Kinixys Spekii
    Spekii are very flattened of the kinixys species. They tend to have 5 toforlimb toes and 4 hind limb toes. They are easily distinguishable from belliana,nogyuei and zombensis from their flattened and elongated shells.
    [​IMG]
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    Spekii Beak
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    Kinixys Erosa and Kinixys Homeana
    Both endemic to western africa in the tropics. Both overlap in some range, but erosa tends to hold more of the landscape than homeana.

    Homeana on left Erosa on right.
    [​IMG]

    Homeana will have a knob on their 5th vertebral scute, then slope downwards somewhat inverted. Erosa slope at the 5th vertebral scute.
    [​IMG]

    Erosa have a yellow to reddish hue to their heads. Erosa also have a snouted upright nose. Homeana tend to have more of a brown with light brown hue to their faces, and their nose does not abruptly snout or slope upwards.

    Erosa Female on top, male on bottom. Typical of male specimens to become much lighter and red during breeding season.
    [​IMG]

    Erosa Pig nose snout characteristics
    [​IMG]
    Homeana facial chacteristics
    [​IMG]

    For now I will keep this as is. I will work on more photographs showing more detail. Also will have more species to show as well.
  2. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Some lobatsiana specimens will be added in a month or so. So I will upload that species at a later date. They are easy to distinguish. Their flanking marginal scutes are serrated. The head is solid blonde with orange hue to it and abrubt shortened beak.
  3. bouaboua

    bouaboua Well-Known Member TFO Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    They are very pretty and Thank you for taking your time to share with us. Thank You!
  4. Will

    Will Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hey Kelly, I just noticed this thread, some months now after you posted it. It's great to see what you are doing with this genus. I hope you are able to get some of the less commonly held and the commonly held species to reproduce. I only have some spekii now and I really enjoy their antics. They have gotten over being shy and will eat right through a water dish change or other minor enclosure maintenenace as if I was not a threat. They had at one time run to their hides at the sound of me in the same room as their enclosure. I never pick them up but once in a great while to weigh them, otherwise hands don't ever touch them and they have no more concern about hands.
  5. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Hey Will. I certainly hope to acquire more species as well. The added Lobatsiana specimens are fantastic. Have two ova from the female. I took them out of diapause 2 weeks ago. One egg is infertile the other has early development. So fingers crossed that proves to hatch in 4-6 months. Belliana Belliana have been very difficult to obtain in the. United States. Most end up being Nogyuei and not Belliana Belliana. Seems Tanzania, Somalia, and Mozambique just never really ship those out. Especially not to the US anymore being banned. Similar with zombensis. But a slow move into a good direction for Kinixys for sure here for us. Were actually going to register our erosa through stud book soon. Hope to get more species(more of the uncommon species) so maybe a more known head account per say of who is working with these species. For sure need a better coop of the less common species.
    mike taylor and Iochroma like this.
  6. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Here is another Kinixys zombensis. Young male from Mozambique. The variability of physical appearances within this species of Kinixys can sure get interesting. This specimen looks like a classic zombensis with the radiating yellow markings. As they tend to get older like the 30 year LTC female they get more cream/yellow and the black fades. A lot like a leopard tortoises.
    image.jpg
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  7. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Kinixys Lobatsiana male(left) female(right)
    image.jpg
    Plastron profile
    image.jpg
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  8. (r.t)

    (r.t) Member

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    Beautifull torts you have! Thanks for sharing, and that detailed explanation :tort:
  9. Astrochelys

    Astrochelys Member

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    I have a question, is the Natal Hingeback in the hobby at all? Or did I happen to stupidly read over it?bhaha Thanks!
  10. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    I know of absolutely nobody that keeps natalensis in the United States, Europe or any collection. They're incredibly rare in collections and never cleared for cites export from South Africa. I wish we were working with them, every so often you can get one in a Mozambique shipment of Spekii. But it's very very rare for that to happen, as there range is very sparse into Mozambique. They also are active in different parts of the day and in much different habitats/ecosystems than Spekii so rarely are within field collectors vision of collection. A fantastic species of Kinixys indeed.
  11. Melodey*

    Melodey* New Member

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    Hi hope you can help do you know what tipe of tortise this is

    Attached Files:

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  12. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Hi melody. That appears to be kinixys spekii (Spek hinge back tortoise) they're fantastic. Where did you find it?
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  13. William Lee Kohler

    William Lee Kohler Active Member

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    I have 2 books by fairly well known tortoise people who question the proliferation of various sub or species tortoises branching off the belliana type of hingeback tortoises. My question which I have never seen discussed at all is whether genetic verification has been done to validate all of these extra(claimed)varieties or is it all just what they look like:confused:? Have yours been genetically verified? Thank you.
  14. Will

    Will Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    and http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/wp-content/uploads/file/Accounts/crm_5_000_checklist_v7_2014.pdf

    Nobody is more fairly well know than the others of these two texts.

    Attached Files:

  15. William Lee Kohler

    William Lee Kohler Active Member

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    Thanks for the info. Took a quick look at the first part and will dig in later as time allows. So far very interesting. The folks I referred to were commenting before the advent of genetic testing and this is why I asked. I'm also very interested in how reliable the species/subspecies(?) names are on those imported and in the hands of those we might buy from.
  16. Will

    Will Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I think John Iverson wrote in a preface to one of his books that was a 'to then' best accounting of ranges for all species something to the effect that the finer a grade of precision you look, the more diverse species are down to each individual constituting what may become or is it's own species.

    Species as a concept has been shaped as much by the tools that we use to look at animals as much as the lingering effects of the notion that people have dominion over animals. There are no well designed pigeon holes and species are in flux all the time. Ernst Myer is in my opinion the best resource to read to 'get it' .

    Politics comes into play as well. In as much as subspecies may not get special designation for protection or they may depending on a jurisdiction.

    More to the point, K. erosa and K. homeana are frequently not differentiated in posts for sale by importers as they can be designated as 'Forest Hinge backs' As some parts of the range of K. nogueyi are sympatric, they too could rightly be called 'forest' hingebacks. No matter something had to be written down on the permits for export and/or import and that follows them to some extent. U

    I think most importers know that fool around with hinge-backs know the $$ value of one over the other and they will see that it is what the exporter says it is once it arrives.

    As for field work and running the length and width of Africa to sample and analyse all the species, well I'd do that, just need a small army of mercenaries and then actual field help. That is indeed being done in bits and pieces. Museum collections come into play as well, so to some extent the feild work has been done and the bench zoologists can do their thing.

    I have seen numerous tortoises that temp one to think it's a new species or some kind of hybrid between erosa and homeana, but then again probably not.

    Animals like Galaps it makes sense to scrutinize DNA. I think hingebacks mystery is life history and neonate appearance as they transform into adults.
  17. Will

    Will Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  18. William Lee Kohler

    William Lee Kohler Active Member

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    Have checked out all the links posted and THANK YOU very much. Very informative and "somewhat" enlightening. Had to look up definitions for several scientific terms in the genetic testing paper and got some confusion there as it seems the scientists typically disagree on some things. One thing I found interesting is that the Natal Hingeback (natalensis) seems to be "ancestral" to all the others if I understood the gist of the study. That would mean there was at least one missing link between them and the two forest hingebacks as they're so different. Also very curious that the Natal tortoises have tri cuspid beaks but ALL the others have non cuspid beaks. Very easy identifying characteristic where several of the others look a lot alike including very varying markings as well as fading markings with age. Is it possible to learn who here in the USA is producing hatchlings for Kinixys other than Erosa, Homeana and Spekii? Also who might be importing same? Feel free to send PM if not wanting on open forum.
  19. Musa Nathan

    Musa Nathan Guest

    Bell's Hingeback
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