Testudo hermanni 

Scope: Global & Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Testudines Testudinidae

Scientific Name: Testudo hermanni Gmelin, 1789
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Hermann's Tortoise
French Tortue D'Hermann
Spanish Tortuga mediterranea, Tortuga Mediterránea
Testudo hercegovinensis Werner, 1899
Testudo hermanni ssp. robertmertensi Wermuth, 1952
Taxonomic Notes: Two subspecies are currently recognized, T. h. hermanni and T. h. boettgeri (includes hercegovinensis).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-12-17
Needs updating
Assessor(s): van Dijk, P.P., Corti, C., Mellado, V.P. & Cheylan, M.
Reviewer(s): Temple, H.J. & Cox, N.A.
Listed as Near Threatened because this species is in significant decline (but probably at a rate of less than 30% over ten years), mainly because of widespread habitat loss through much of its range (especially in the west), thus making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable.

This draft regional assessment is based on draft information gathered at the IUCN Mediterranean Red Listing Workshop - Freshwater Fishes, Reptiles and Amphibians (Malaga [Spain] 13-17 December 2004) and remains under current review by the IUCN-SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group - please contact Peter Paul van Dijk with any comments.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs in patchily in Mediterranean Europe, from coastal northeastern Spain, through southeastern France, Mallorca (Spain), Menorca (Spain), Corsica (France), Sardinia (including Asinara Island) and Sicily (Italy), the coastal plains of peninsular Italy, coastal Croatia, coastal Bosnia-Herzegovina, coastal Montenegro, central and southern Serbia, inland to southwestern Romania, much of Bulgaria, Macedonia, nearly all of Albania, the Greek mainland plus islands from Corfu to Zakynthos, and European Turkey. Records from Cyprus are likely to be in error (Cheylan 2001).

The distribution of the subspecies is as follows:

T. h. hermanni: northeastern Spain, southeastern France, the Balaearic Islands (Spain), Corsica (France), and Sardinia (Italy).

T. h. boettgeri: the Balkan region.

T. hermanni ssp undetermined : Italian Peninsula, Sicily.
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; France; Greece; Italy; Montenegro; Romania; Serbia; Spain; Turkey
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The abundance of the species is regionally variable and is presented below by subspecies. Overall it is declining in the west of its range, but it is more stable in the Balkans.


France: It is restricted to the Maures and Esterel hill areas, where some 10 populations persist at present, at densities up to 11 animals per hectare (Stubbs 1989b; Cheylan 2001). Historically it was known from the French Pyrenean foothills (disappeared 1960-70s) and the Iles d'Hyeres (disappeared mid-19th Century). On Corsica it is mainly in the eastern and southern coastal regions, plus scattered populations near Corte and along the northern Coast (Cheylan 2001).

Spain: It is restricted to the northeastern Mediterranean coast, plus Mallorca and Menorca.

Italy: It is concentrated on the coastal regions, up to 400-500m, to 800m in the south, rarely more than 50 km inland. It is widespread on Sicily and Sardinia. Localised population extinctions have been documented on the mainland and certain islands (Ballasina 1995; Cheylan 2001: 189).

Malta: Its historical status is uncertain, but it is definitely not present any more.

T.h. boettgeri:

Croatia: It is restricted to the narrow costal strip and some of the islands (Cheylan 2001).

Bosnia-Hercegovina: It inhabits the coastal area and Neretva valley of Hercegovina, up to 500m altitude (Cheylan 2001, and references therein).

Serbia and Macedonia: It is widely distributed.

Albania: It occurs nearly throughout the country.

Greece: It occurs nearly throughout the country, but it is scarce in the drier southern parts (where it is replaced by Testudo marginata); it occurs up to 140 m (Cheylan 2001, and references therein). Population density may reach up to 60 animals per hectare in exceptional cases, but 1-5 animals per hectare is more usual (Stubbs 1989b).

Turkey: it is restricted to the European part of Turkey, where it is in decline due to agricultural development (Baran and Atatur 1997; Cheylan 2001).

Bulgaria: It is historically throughout the country below 1300m, locally up to 1400m; it has declined extensively due to anthropogenic factors throughout, and has been locally extirpated, particularly in plains and valleys (Beshkov 1993).

Romania: it is restricted to the southwestern region.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It prefers open patchy evergreen Mediterranean oak forest, but in its absence inhabits maquis, garigue, dune scrub and maritime grassland, as well as agricultural and railway edge habitats (Stubbs 1989b:35). Females produce one or more clutches of 3-5 eggs per year. Both sexes mature at about nine to 12 years of age, the males maturing a little younger (Stubbs 1989b).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Large numbers of animals are captive-bred by hobbyists and distributed within the hobbyist community.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats are: loss of habitat due to agricultural expansion and intensification; agro-chemicals and other pollution impacts; urbanisation and tourist infrastructure development; wildfires; collection for pet trade; genetic pollution; road mortality; and potentially disease impacts from released pet tortoises (Stubbs 1989b, Willemsen 1995). In Serbia the shell is used in traditional medicine.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are conservation programs in France, Spain and Italy. Various protected areas throughout most of the species' range. Clarification of the taxonomic status of hercegovinensis and boettgeri, and field assessments of their conservation status are highly desirable The taxon is included in CITES Appendix II and Annex A of EU Wildlife Trade Regulation 338/97.

Citation: van Dijk, P.P., Corti, C., Mellado, V.P. & Cheylan, M. 2004. Testudo hermanni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T21648A9306057. . Downloaded on 23 September 2018.
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