Comparative Morphology of Three Populations of Testudo graeca Linnaeus, 1758 from the Western Taurus Mountains, Turkey

Oğuz Türkozan, Yusuf Kumlutaş, S. Hakan Durmuş


We examined a total of 65 specimens of the Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise Testudo graeca Linnaeus, 1758 from three distinct localities in the western Taurus Mountains of the Mediterranean region of Turkey: Kalkan (12 ♀, 14 ), Çığlıkara (6 ♀, 7 ♂), and Akseki (7 ♀, 19 ♂). For morphological comparisons 15 morphometric characters and 17 ratios developed by combination of characters were investigated. Post-ANOVA pairwise analysis (Tukey’s) across all groups verified sexual dimorphism in the Kalkan and Çığlıkara populations in terms of the following ratios: plastron length/plastron width 2 (p = 0.02) and straight carapace length/femoral suture length (p = 0.04), respectively. Females in all three populations are larger than males, and in the Çığlıkara population individuals are larger than those from other populations (ANOVA F(2.22) = 16.28, p < 0.0001). The maximum straight carapace length measured was of a female in the Çığlıkara population (295 mm). This is a new record size for Turkish tortoises. Discriminant analysis based on 13 ratios confirms that the Kalkan population tends to differ from the other two populations. This difference was more clear between Akseki and Kalkan.


Reptilia; Testudines; Testudinidae; Testudo graeca; Taurus Mountains; Turkey

Full Text:



Ballasina P. D. L. and Van der Kuyl A. C. (2002), «What is a Testudo graeca?», Chelonii, 3, 130 – 132.

Baran İ. and Atatür M. K. (1998), Türkiye Herpetofaunası (Kurbağa ve Sürüngenler) [in Turkish], T. C. Çevre Bakanlığı, Ankara.

Başoğlu M. and Baran İ. (1977), Türkiye Sürüngenleri. Kısım I Kaplumbağa ve Kertenkeleler [in Turkish], Ege Univ. Fen Fak. Kitaplar Ser. No. 76, Bornova-İzmir.

Berglas R. (2000), «Zwei Unterarten der Marische Landschildkröete. Testudo graeca in der Türkei», in: H. Artner and E. Meier (eds.), Schildkröten Symposiumband, pp. 21–23.

Beshkov V. A. (1997), «Record-sized tortoises. Testudo graeca ibera and Testudo hermanni boettgeri from Bulgaria», Chelonian Conserv. Biol., 2(4), 593 – 596.

Boulenger G. A. (1889), Cataloque of Chelonians, Rhyncocephalians and Crocodiles in the British Museum (Natural History), Br. Mus. Nat. Hist., London, pp. 176 – 177.

Brinckmeier C., Bode F., and Hampe A. (1989), «First record of the marginated tortoise. Testudo marginata in Turkey», Zool. Middle East, 3, 47 – 48.

Çevik E. (1987), «Trakya kara kaplumbağalarının (Testudo graeca ve Testudo hermanni) taksonomik durumları. 8», in: Ulusal Biyoloji Kongresi, 3 – 5 Eylül 1986, Izmir, Cilt 2 [in Turkish], pp. 372 – 379.

Demirsoy A. (1997), Türkiye Omurgalıları [in Turkish], Sürüngenler.

Eiselt J. and Spitzenberger F. (1967), «Ergebnisse zoologischer Sammelreisen in der Türkei: Testudines», Ann. Nat. Hist. Mus. Wien, 70, 357 – 378.

Highfield A. C. (1992), «Observations of Testudo (graeca) ibera in Lycia, Turkey», The Tortuga Gazette, 28(9), 1 – 3.

Klemens M. (2000), Turtle Conservation, Smithsonian Inst. Press.

Mertens R. (1946), «Über einige mediterrane Shildkröten-Rassen», Senckenbergiana, 27, 111 – 118.

Perälä J. (1996), «Tortoises in southern Turkey», in: M. Kanza, J. Perälä, and J. Vikberg (eds.), Herpetokonressi I. The Official Congress Publication, The Herpetol. Soc. of Finland, pp. 14 – 26.

Perälä J. (2002a), «The genus Testudo (Testudines: Testudinidae): phylogenetic inferences», Chelonii, 3, 32 – 39.

Perälä J. (2002b), «Morphological variation among Middle Eastern T. graeca L., 1758 (sensu lato), with a focus on taxonomy», Chelonii, 3, 78 – 107.

Pieh A., Taşkavak E., and Reimann M. (2002a), «Remarks on the variability of the spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) in Turkey», Chelonii, 3, 67 – 71.

Pieh A., Fritz U., and Berglas R. (2002b), «New data on morphology, distribution and nomenclature of Testudo graeca armeniaca Chkhikvadze and Bakradze, 1991 (Reptilia: Testudines: Testudinidae)», Faunist. Abh. Mus. Tierkunde, 22(21), 329 – 345.

Siebenrock F. (1906), «Zur Kenntnis der mediterranean Testudo-Arten und über ihre Verbreitung in Europa», Sonderabd. Zool. Anz., 30(25), 847 – 854.

StatSoft, Inc. (1999), STATISTICA for Windows [Computer program manual]. StatSoft, Inc., Tulsa (OK, USA).

Stubbs D. (1989), «Testudo graeca Spur-thighed Tortoise», in: I. R. Swingland and M. W. Klemens (eds.), The Conservation Biology of Tortoises. Occasional Papers of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, No. 5, pp. 31 – 33.

Taşkavak E., Türkozan O., and Kumlutaş Y. (2002), «Some investigations on the taxonomic status of Testudo graeca from the aegean and mediterranean regions of turkey. Report from Int. Congress on Testudo genus», Chelonii, 3, 72 – 77.

Tok V. (1999), «The taxonomy and ecology of Mauremys caspica rivulata Valenciennes. 1833 (Testudinata: Bataguridae) and Testudo graeaca ibera Pallas. 1811 (Testudinata: Testudinidae) on Reşadiye (Datça) Peninsula», Tur. J. Zool., 23, 17 – 21.

Türkozan O., Kumlutaş Y., and Ilgaz Ç. (2001), «On the possible occurrence of the marginated tortoise, Testudo marginata, in Turkey», Chelonian Conserv. Biol., 4(1), 208 – 210.

Türkozan O., Ayaz D., Tok C. V., and Cihan D. (2003a), «On Testudo graeca Linnaeus, 1758 specimens of Mardin province», Tur. J. Zool., 27, 145 – 151.

Türkozan O., Kumlutaş Y., Arikan H., Ilgaz Ç., and Avcı A. (2003b), «Morphological and serological comparison of Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoises, Testudo graeca Linnaeus, 1758 from the Aegean region and southeastern Turkey», Zool. Middle East, 29, 41 – 50.

Van der Kuyl A. C., Ballasina P. L. D., Dekker T. J., Maas J., Willemsen E. R., and Goudsmit J. (2002), «Phylogenetic relationships among the species of the genus Testudo (Testudines: Testudinidae) inferred from mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene sequences», Mol. Phylogen. Evol., 22 (2), 174 – 183.

Weissinger H. (1987), «Testudo graeca anamurensis ssp. nov. aus. Kleinasien», ÖGH-Nachrichten, No. 10/11, 14 – 18.

Wermuth H. (1958), «Status and Nomenklatur der Maurischen Landschildkröte, Testudo graeca, in SW-Asien und NO-Afrika», Senckenbergiana Biol., 39, 149 – 153.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

You can subscribe to the print or electronic version of the journal on the site of EastView Company. If you have any questions, please write to the email