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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Cladus: Archelosauria
Division: Pan-Testudines
Division: Testudinata
Ordo: Testudines
Subordo: Cryptodira
Superfamilia: Testudinoidea

Familia: Testudinidae
Genus: Kinixys
Species: K. belliana - K. erosa - K. homeana - K. lobatsiana - K. natalensis - K. spekii


Vernacular names
English: Hingeback Tortoises
日本語: セオレガメ属

Kinixys is a genus of turtles in the family Testudinidae. The genus was erected by Thomas Bell in 1827.[1][2] The species in the genus Kinixys are native to Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar[2] and commonly known as hinged tortoises[3] or hinge-back tortoises.[2][4]

Most of the Kinixys species are omnivores. They feed mainly on a wide range of different leaves, weeds, roots, flowers and fruits. However, they also eat worms, insects and other small invertebrates.[5][6]


The following species are recognised in the genus Kinixys:[1]

Kinixys belliana (Gray, 1830) – Bell's hinge-back tortoise
Kinixys erosa (Schweigger, 1812) – forest hinge-back tortoise
Kinixys homeana Bell, 1827 – Home's hinge-back tortoise
Kinixys lobatsiana (Power, 1927) – Lobatse hinge-back tortoise
Kinixys natalensis Hewitt, 1935 – Natal hinge-back tortoise
Kinixys nogueyi Hewitt, 1935
Kinixys spekii Gray, 1863 – Speke's hinge-back tortoise
Kinixys zombensis Hewitt, 1931

Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Kinixys.
Three species of Kinixys: K. nogueyi, K. erosa, K. homeana. (Illustration G. Aeschimann).
Distribution and habitat

The several species of the genus Kinxys are found across much of tropical and sub-tropical sub-Saharan Africa, ranging as far south as KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, and as far north as the fringes of the Sahel and Sahara. However, individuals are often very scarce within this range, and several species are threatened.

Though the species' wide geographic ranges overlap considerably, they are separated from each other by favouring different habitats within this range. Some species (such as K. belliana) favour open savannah or grasslands, others (such as K. homeana) favour rainforest.

Species of tortoises in the genus Kinixys play host to a number of ectoparasites (external) and endoparasites (internal). A survey (by Alan Probert & Clive Humphreys) of mixed captive K. spekii and K. belliana (mostly K. spekii) in Zimbabwe showed that the following parasites were known to infest/infect this species. This had been observed and published by others too. However some of the tiny roundworms (photographed under scanning electron microscope) are very likely new species and as yet remain undescribed.

Ticks (Arachnida)
Roundworms (Nematoda) – Angusticium, Atractis and Tachygontria


Kinixys at the Reptile Database. Accessed 30 September 2022.
Kindler, Carolin; Branch, William R.; Hofmeyr, Margaretha D.; Maran, Jérôme; Široký, Pavel; Vences, Miguel; Harvey, James; Hauswaldt, J. Susanne; Schleicher, Alfred; Stuckas, Heiko & Fritz, Uwe (2012). "Molecular phylogeny of African hinge-back tortoises (Kinixys): implications for phylogeography and taxonomy (Testudines: Testudinidae): Molecular phylogeny of hinge-back tortoises". Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 50 (3): 192–201. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0469.2012.00660.x.
Branch, Bill (2012). Tortoises, Terrapins & Turtles of Africa. Penguin Random House South Africa.
Kirkpatrick, D. (1998). "African Hingeback Tortoises of the Genus Kinixys". Reptile & Amphibian Magazine. 54: 32-37. Archived 2012-10-21 at the Wayback Machine
"The Hinge-Back Tortoises".

"Natural History and Care of Bell's Hinged Tortoise".

Further reading
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kinixys.

Bell, T. (1827). "On two new Genera of Land Tortoises". The Transactions of the Linnean Society of London. 15: 392–401. (Kinixys, new genus, p. 398). (in English and Latin).

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