Psammobates tentorius 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Testudines Testudinidae

Scientific Name: Psammobates tentorius (Bell, 1828)
Common Name(s):
English Tent Tortoise
Chersinella tentoria (Bell, 1828)
Psammobates tentorius ssp. tentorius (Bell, 1828)
Psammobates tentorius ssp. trimeni (Boulenger, 1886)
Psammobates tentorius ssp. verroxii (Smith, 1839)
Testudo tentoria Bell, 1828
Taxonomic Source(s): TTWG (Turtle Taxonomy Working Group: Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., Bour, R. Fritz, U., Georges, A., Shaffer, H.B. and van Dijk, P.P.). 2017. Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status (8th Ed.). In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Pritchard, P.C.H., and Mittermeier, R.A. (eds), Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, pp. 1-292. Chelonian Research Monographs.
Taxonomic Notes: Members of the Psammobates tentorius complex vary considerably with regard to colour pattern, the pyramiding (raised or flat) of vertebral scutes, and other morphological features. Hewitt (1933, 1934) described several species and subspecies within the P. tentorius complex. Loveridge and Williams (1957) recognized only three subspecies of P. tentorius: P. t. tentorius, P. t. trimeni and P. t. verroxii. These subspecies have been accepted by most subsequent authors (Greig and Burdett 1976; Branch et al. 1995; Branch 1998, 2008; Boycott and Bourquin 2000), but with general acknowledgement of the unresolved taxonomic complexities involved. Distribution maps based on museum and other records show substantial overlap in the ranges of the three subspecies. In many instances, this apparent overlap is due to misidentification of specimens. However, in some regions the overlap in distribution is real, indicating that some subspecies may deserve specific status. Furthermore, the large morphological variation within recognised subspecies, particularly within P. t. verroxii, may indicate that some synonymised taxa should be reinstated. A major revision based on molecular and morphological data is in progress (M.D. Hofmeyr and S.R. Daniels unpubl. data).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2013-05-16
Assessor(s): Hofmeyr, M.D. & Baard, E.H.W.
Reviewer(s): Bauer, A.M., Branch, W.R., Rhodin, A.G.J. & van Dijk, P.P.
A widespread species with no major threats and although normally found at low densities it is assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Endemic to South Africa and Namibia. The distribution ranges of the three subspecies overlap, and there is uncertainty about their exact limits. Of the three subspecies, Psammobates tentorius tentorius occurs furthest south, but is most distinctive in the southeast. Its range extends from Fort Brown in the Eastern Cape to Matjiesfontein (or Touws River) in the Western Cape. Further north, the range extends to Victoria West and the Kamiesberge in the Northern Cape. The distribution of P. t. trimeni extends from Helmeringhausen in southwestern Namibia (Griffin 2003) across the Orange River into Namaqualand in the western region of South Africa. Psammobates t. verroxii has the widest distribution of the three subspecies. It occurs throughout the Northern Cape, across the Orange River into Namibia, as far north as Mariental (Griffin 2003). In the west, P. t. verroxii extends into Namaqualand and through the Ceres Karoo into the Western Cape. There may be considerable overlap between the distributions of P. t. verroxii and P. t. trimeni in South Africa and Namibia. The distributions of P. t. verroxii and P. t. tentorius overlap in the Karoo, but it is not certain if P. t. verroxii occurs below the southern escarpment. In the northeastern part of its range, this species does not occur north of the Orange River, which may be a barrier to movement.
Countries occurrence:
Namibia; South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, Northern Cape Province, Western Cape)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:88660-126742Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:443103-630000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Occurs in low densities, but the population appears stable.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Population severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:5-6
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Occurs in arid regions under varying temperature regimes, from sea level to at least 1,500 m. Psammobates tentorius tentorius occurs in regions with summer or all-year rainfall, frequent frost, and dwarf shrubland with succulents, annuals, grasses and geophytes. Psammobates t. trimeni occurs in winter-rainfall regions dominated by dwarf succulent shrubs and annuals. Psammobates t. verroxii occurs mainly on the inland plateau above 900 m, although its range extends below the escarpment in the west. Rainfall is predominantly in summer and is generally unpredictable.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):25-30
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Used in the pet trade but the extent is not known.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are some threats to the habitat of this species, but those are localised and minor.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on CITES Appendix II.  There is a need to clarify the taxonomic status of the three subspecies.

Citation: Hofmeyr, M.D. & Baard, E.H.W. 2017. Psammobates tentorius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T170524A110341426. . Downloaded on 16 October 2018.
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