Critically Endangered Tortoises of Madagascar
On top is the Radiated Tortoise, Astrochelys radiata (Testudinidae), considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful tortoises, whose carapace up to 40 cm long is brilliantly marked with yellow lines radiating from the center of each dark plate of the shell (hence its common name). This “star” pattern is more finely detailed and intricate than the normal pattern of other star-patterned tortoise species.
In the bottom you can see the smaller Spider Tortoise, scientifically named Pyxis arachnoides (Testudinidae), with the typical, attractive spiders-web pattern that adorns the shell.
Both species are endemic to Madagascar, and are currently classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
In both cases, available information indicates that the two species have disappeared entirely from about 40% of its past range through a combination of habitat loss and exploitation, predominantly for domestic consumption.
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Photo credit: ©peace-on-earth.org | Locality: Île Sainte-Marie (Nosy Boraha), Madagascar (2007)