Variation among spur-thighed tortoises Testudo graeca Linnaeus, 1758 complex in central and north-western Morocco, with descriptions of two new taxa Testudines Testudinidae Variabilitaet der Maurischen Landschildkroeten Testudo graeca Linnaeus, 1758 - Komplex im zentralen und nordwestlichen Marokko mit Beschreibung zweier neuer Taxa Testudines Testudinidae
Pieh, A.; Perala, J.
Herpetozoa 17(1-2): 19-47
ISSN/ISBN: 1013-4425 Accession: 038876007
Two new taxa of Spur-thighed Tortoises in the Testudo graeca complex, T g. marokkensis ssp. nov. and T g. lamberti ssp. nov., are described from southern Central Morocco and northwestern Morocco, respectively. Type locality, T g. marokkensis: Tarmilete (33deg. 23 minute N, 06deg. 04 minute W); Type locality, T g. lamberti: 22 km N of Tetuan (Tetuan 35deg. 34 minute N, 5deg. 22 minute W). Testudo g. marokkensis is isolated from the nominotypical form by the High and Middle Atlas mountains, and from a southern Central Moroccan population (T. g. soussensis PIER, 2001 sens. lat. as well as sens. str.) by an arid zone. Testudo g. lamberti is isolated to the east from T g. graeca LINNAEUS, 1758 by the Rif mountains. The Rif range represents also a barrier between the two new taxa. Male T. g. marokkensis differ from male T g. soussensis (sens. lat. and sens. str.) by, e.g., a relatively broad carapace rim. Testudo g. marokkensis differs from T g. graeca by, e.g., a relatively lower shell and a striped carapace. The shape of the shell in T g. lamberti differs from that of all other North African taxa. These tortoises exhibit conspicuous, long and sharp-tipped thigh-spurs, as well as dorsally reverted marginals. The coloration is dull and consists of diffuse flecks, and a very fine stripe-pattern. Contrary to the classification adopted in this article, the second author (J. P.) represents the view that T graeca with its nominal subspecies is a paraphyletic taxon, and that the taxa marokkensis and lamberti as well as graeca represent separate evolutionary species.