Madagascar has a rich and diverse reptile fauna including several species of chelonians that are found nowhere else. It is home to such spectacular species as the Radiated Tortoise, Astrochelys radiata, the Spider Tortoise, Pyxis arachnoides, and the Ploughshare Tortoise, Astrochelys yniphora; which is considered to be the world's rarest tortoise and one of the most endangered reptiles.
The Tortoises and Turtles of Madagascar is the first book to cover all the living and extinct chelonians of Madagascar. This book is an authoritative and comprehensive guide covering every known aspect of their natural history. Recent field studies that have been carried out by the author and others to provide a better understanding of these species' ecology are synthesised in this publication. Practical species accounts provide accurate details of species identification, distribution, ecology and conservation, and are complemented by numerous beautiful photographs of Malagasy tortoises and turtles in the wild. Up-to-date information on the status of their populations is also presented, and there are details on the best sites to observe tortoises and turtles in Madagascar.
Currently all extant endemic species of tortoises and turtles of Madagascar are threatened and the rapidity with which chelonian populations have declined in Madagascar underscores the need for equally rapid action to protect them. The Tortoises and Turtles of Madagascar outlines the challenges to chelonian conservation in Madagascar and the approaches developed to date to facilitate their recovery. This book will not only introduce readers to the fascinating world of Malagasy chelonians but will also raise awareness and support to ensure that they are preserved for the future.
Checklist of Species 3
Key to Living Species and Sub-species 5
Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) 9
Ploughshare Tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) 19
Grandidier’s Giant Tortoise (Dipsochelys gmndidieri) 34
Madagascar Giant Tortoise (Dipsochelys abrupta) 37
Spider Tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides) 40
Flat-tailed Tortoise (Pyxis planicauda) 48
Bell’s Hinged Tortoise (Kinixys belliana) 55
Madagascar Side-necked Turtle (Erymnochelys madagascariensis) 62
Yellow-bellied Mud Turtle (Pelusios castanoides) 69
East African Mud Turtle (Pelusios subniger) 72
African Helmeted Turtle (Pelomedusa subrufa) 75
Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) 79
Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) 84
Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) 90
Loggerhead Turtle (Curetta caretta) 94
Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) 99
Decline and Recovery 103
Sites to Observe Chelonians 113
Useful Addresses 120