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Jo – female spur-thighed tortoise


Jo – female spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca ibera)


Jo – female spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca ibera)

One of the most difficult and regularly debated subjects amongst tortoise experts over the world is the accurate taxonomy of the Mediterranean Spur Thighed tortoises. It seems apparent that for over two centuries any tortoises that inhabited countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea which also possessed large tubercles on their rear thighs were deemed to be Testudo Graeca or a sub species of. However, recent studies have provided enough sufficient evidence to prove this original classification is considerably flawed, although most texts still refer to these subspecies, namely: Testudo Graeca Graeca (the nominate species described by Linneaus in 1758), Testudo Graeca Ibera, Testudo Graeca Zarudnyi, and Testudo Graeca Terrestris.

Scientifically there are far too many genetic differences between these assumed subspecies to warrant them to be of the same family. It is a far more likely conclusion that they are of an entirely separate species to one another. Testudo Graeca Ibera was once described as a completely separate animal – Testudo Ibera – by Pallas in 1814, before being reclassified in 1947 as the subspecies T.G.Ibera. The actual existence of another subspecies – T.G.Terrestris – is doubtful, as this race has been classified and reclassified by several different people over the years, with each description being entirely contradictory to one another.