A World of Tortoises

Global distribution of family “Testudinidae”


  • Indotestudo elongata – Elongated tortoise (Southeast Asia and parts of India)
  • Indotestudo forstenii – Sulawesi (or Forsten’s) tortoise (Indonesia)
  • Indotestudo travancorica – Travancore tortoise (India)
  • Manouria emys – Asian forest tortoise (southern and southeastern Asia)
  • Manouria impressa – Impressed tortoise (mountains of Southeast Asia)
  • Geochelone elegans – Indian star tortoise (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka)
  • Geochelone platynota – Burmese star tortoise (Myanmar)

Indian Ocean

  • Aldabrachelys gigantea – Aldabra tortoise (Aldabra atoll, Seychelles)
  • Astrochelys radiata – Radiated tortoise (Madagascar)
  • Astrochelys yniphora – Ploughshare tortoise (Madagascar)
  • Pyxis arachnoides – Spider tortoise (Madagascar)
  • Pyxis planicauda – Flat-tailed tortoise (Madagascar)


  • Centrochelys sulcata – Sulcata (or African spurred) tortoise (Africa, Sahel region)
  • Chersina angulata – Bowsprit tortoise (Namibia and South Africa)
  • Chersobius boulengeri – Karoo padloper (South Africa)
  • Chersobius signatus – Speckled Namaqualand padloper (South Africa)
  • Chersobius solus – Nama padloper (Namibia and South Africa)
  • Homopus areolatus – Parrot-beaked tortoise (South Africa)
  • Homopus femoralis – Greater padloper (South Africa)
  • Kinixys belliana – Bell’s hinge-back tortoise (central Africa)
  • Kinixys erosa – Forest hinge-back tortoise (central and western Africa)
  • Kinixys homeana – Home’s hinge-back tortoise (western Africa)
  • Kinixys lobatsiana – Lobatse hinge-back tortoise (southern Africa)
  • Kinixys natalensis – Natal hinge-back tortoise (eastern southern Africa)
  • Kinixys spekii – Speke’s hinge-back tortoise (East Africa)
  • Kinixys nogueyi – Western hinge-back tortoise (tropical western Africa)*
  • Kinixys zombensis – Eastern hinge-back tortoise (eastern southern Africa)*
    • * Considered by some researchers to be subspecies of K. belliana.
  • Malacochersus tornieri – Pancake tortoise (Kenya & Tanzania)
  • Psammobates geometricus – Geometric tortoise (southern Africa)
  • Psammobates oculifer – Serrated tortoise (southern Africa)
  • Psammobates tentorius – Tent tortoise (southern Africa)
  • Stigmochelys pardalis – Leopard tortoise (eastern and southern Africa)


  • Testudo graeca – Greek or spur-thighed tortoise (North Africa and southern Spain)
  • Testudo kleinmanni – Egyptian tortoise (Egypt, Libya, and Israel)
  • Testudo marginata – Marginated tortoise (Southern Europe)
  • Testudo horsfieldii – Russian tortoise (Central Asia)
  • Testudo hermanni – Hermann’s tortoise (southern Europe)
    • Note: The taxonomy of the Mediterranean tortoise group is unsettled due to their vast range around the Mediterranean Ocean, and the various terrains, climates, and biotopes across three continents.

North America

  • Gopherus agassizii – Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Mojave desert)
  • Gopherus berlandieri – Texas tortoise (Texas)
  • Gopherus evgoodei – Sinaloan (or Goode’s) thornscrub tortoise (Mexico)
  • Gopherus flavomarginatus – Bolsón tortoise (Chihuahuan desert)
  • Gopherus morafkai – Morafka’s desert tortoise (Sonoran desert)
  • Gopherus polyphemus – Gopher tortoise (southeastern United States)

South America

  • Chelonoidis carbonarius – Red-footed tortoise (Amazon basin)
  • Chelonoidis chilensis – Chaco tortoise (Patagonia region of Argentina)
  • Chelonoidis denticulatus – Yellow-footed tortoise (Amazon basin)
  • Chelonoidis niger* – Galápagos tortoise – with 12 living subspecies:
    • C. n. becki – Volcán Wolf giant tortoise (Isabela island)
    • C. n. chathamensis – San Cristóbal giant tortoise (San Cristóbal island)
    • C. n. darwini – Santiago Island giant tortoise (Santiago island)
    • C. n. donfaustoi – Eastern Santa Cruz tortoise (Santa Cruz island)
    • C. n. duncanensis – Pinzón Island giant tortoise (Pinzón island)
    • C. n. guentheri – Sierra Negra giant tortoise (Isabela island)
    • C. n. hoodensis – Hood Island giant tortoise (Española island)
    • C. n. microphyes – Volcán Darwin giant tortoise (Isabela island)
    • C. n. phantasticus – Fernandina Island tortoise (Fernandina Island)
    • C. n. porteri – Western Santa Cruz tortoise (Santa Cruz island)
    • C. n. vandenburghi – Volcán Alcedo giant tortoise (Isabela island)
    • C. n. vicina – Cerro Azul giant tortoise (Isabela island)
      • *The Turtle Taxonomy Working Group in 2021 released a study supporting classification as subspecies due to genetic analysis, although some researchers consider the subspecies each to be a species. The taxonomic status of this group of tortoises is not fully resolved.

Sources:Turtles of the World: A Guide to Every Family” by Jeff Lovich and Whit Gibbons; additional expert and internet sources.