Testudo marginata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Testudines Testudinidae

Scientific Name: Testudo marginata
Species Authority: Schoepff, 1793
Common Name(s):
English Marginated Tortoise, Margined Tortoise
French Tortue Bordée
Spanish Tortuga Marginada
Testudo marginata ssp. sarda Mayer, 1992
Testudo weissingeri Trutnau, 1994
Taxonomic Notes: The recognised subspecies are marginata, sarda, and weissingeri. The subspecies weissingeri was elevated to species rank by Bour (1996), but it is frequently considered a to be subspecies of Testudo marginata. It is not even accorded subspecies status by some authors, but it was validated as a full species by Perala (2002a). In this account we include weissingeri within T. marginata, pending resolution of its taxonomic status.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-12-17
Needs updating
Assessor(s): van Dijk, P.P., Lymberakis, P. & Böhme, W.
Reviewer(s): Temple, H.J. & Cox, N.A.
Listed as Least Concern since, although its currently known Extent of Occurrence is not much greater than 20,000 km2, it occurs in an area of extensive, suitable habitat which appears not to be under significant threat, it has a presumed large population, and it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

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 mainly in northwestern, central and sothern Greece, and adjoining extreme southern Albania, including a number of islands (Kyra Panagia, Valaxa, Paris, Salamis, Sfakythiria, Spetsopoula, and possibly Korfu), as well as northeastern Sardinia and satellite islands, plus Isola di San Pietro off southwestern Sardinia. Sardinian occurrences may be the result of human introduction in the Classical era (see Bringsoe et al. 2001: 300). It is also introduced on Crete. The subspecies T.m. weissingeri occurs in west Taygetos mountains of the Peloponnesus, southern Greece, and small area that stretches for about 50 km North-South, but only 2-5 km East-West (Bour, in Artner, 200: 34). The species may have been introduced to western Anatolia, Turkey, however this requires confirmation (Sindaco et al., 2000).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Greece
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is generally considered to occur at low densities (Stubbs 1989c). Willemsen (1995b) and Bringsoe et al. (2001) note that the preferred habitat of the species is very hard to penetrate and survey, thus records of low-density occurrence might pertain to marginal habitats. A population in Sardinia that was perceived as intensively collected in the 1950s persists at 'normal' density (Stemmler, Fritz, in Bringsoe et al., 2001: 318). Populations of T.m. weissingeri are apparently dense, as Bour (1996) examined 384 animals and Artner (1996) encountered 30 animals in four hours, and 80 animals in two days. Bour (1996) recorded a male-dominated population structure, and very few juveniles (juveniles of T. marginata are very cryptic) (data summarised in Bringsoe et al. 2001: 317). It is a very rare and localised species in Albania (Haxhiu, 2004).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It characteristically inhabits 'Phrygana' and Macchia scrub, dense thorny scrub among rocky outcrops, but also a range of other vegetation types, from coastal dunes to olive groves, small-scale agricultural landscapes and damp areas. It ranges up to 1300m, but mostly occurs below 800m. It generally prefers drier, hotter areas than the sympatric T. hermanni boettgeri. (Willemsen 1995b; Bringsoe et al. 2001). Clutches consist of four to seven eggs, perhaps up to 15; females produce one to three clutches per year (review by Bringsoe et al. 2001). Animals require about eight to 14 years to reach maturity (review by Bringsoe et al. 2001). Testudo m. weissingeri inhabits both Phrygana (Spartan shrubby rocky areas) as well as more lush habitats such as olive groves with dense herbaceous ground cover (Artner 2000; Bringsoe et al. 2001: 309-311). This taxon ranges from near sea level to about 1,300m altitude (Mueller1908, Bour 1996, in Bringsoe et al. 2001: 311), and feeds on a variety of herbs (Bour 1996, in Bringsoe et al. 2001: 312). Its clutch size is a maximum of four, perhaps six eggs (Bour 1996, in Bringsoe et al. 2001: 314; Artner 2000).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat is wildfires. It is less impacted by agricultural land conversion and practices than the sympatric T. hermanni boettgeri due to T. marginata's preference for stony habitats (Bringsoe et al. 2001). Tourist infrastructure development eliminates some habitat. There is some mortality recorded from fires and trampling of juveniles by livestock, and destruction by farmers as perceived crop pests (Bringsoe et al. 2001). Some collection for (illegal) pet trade might still take place.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is included in CITES Appendix II, Annex A of EU Wildlife Trade Regulation 338/97, and Greek domestic legislation. Hobbyist captive breeding appears to provide sufficient offspring to meet much of the demand. Establishment of effectively protected areas containing viable populations of the species would be desirable. Research is needed on taxonomy (especially with regard to the status of T.m. weissingeri), population dynamics and conservation biology.

Classifications [top]

14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.1. International level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.4. Scale unspecified

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Yes
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.3. Tourism & recreation areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.1. Roads & railroads
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.3. Persecution/control
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.3. Trend Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

0. Root -> 100.2. OLD 3-Research actions
1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

Artner, H. 2000. Beobachtungen and … Testudo weissingeri Bour, 1996 in Messinien (Griechenland) und Diskussion ueber die Validitaet ihres Artstatus. In: Artner & Meier (ed.), Schildkroeten - Symposiumsband, pp. 34-38. Natur und Tier - Verlag, Muenster.

Bringsoe, H., Buskirk, J.R. and Willemsen, R.E. 2001. Testudo marginata Schepff, 1792 - Breitrandschildkroete. In: Fritz, Uwe (ed.), Handbuch der Reptilien und Amphibien Europas [Band 3/IIIa] - Schildkroten (Testudines) I, pp. 291-334. Aula Verlag, Wiebelsheim, Germany.

IUCN. 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 23 November 2004).

Sindaco, R., Venchi, A., Carpaneto, G.M. and Bologna, M.A. 2000. The reptiles of Anatolia: a checklist and zoogeographical analysis. Biogeographia 21: 441-554.

Willemsen, R.E. 1995b. Status of Testudo marginata in Greece. In: Ballasina, Donato (ed.), Red Data Book on Mediterranean Chelonians, pp. 103-109. Edagricole, Bologna, Italy.

Citation: van Dijk, P.P., Lymberakis, P. & Böhme, W. 2004. Testudo marginata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T21653A9307262. . Downloaded on 23 May 2017.
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