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Kinixys homeana, 070

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Kinixys homeana Bell 1827 –
Home’s Hinge-Back Tortoise

Luca Luiselli1 and Tomas Diagne2

1Centre of Environmental Studies Demetra s.r.l., via Olona 7, 00198 Rome, Italy [[email protected]];
2African Chelonian Institute and Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) Africa,
P.O. Box 657, 25022 Rufisque, Senegal [[email protected]]


Summary. – Home’s Hinge-back tortoise, Kinixys homeana (Family Testudinidae), is a small to medium-sized forest tortoise (carapace length up to 220 mm), with a range extending over the coastal regions of the Gulf of Guinea, in the continuous Guinea-Congo West Africa rainforest region. The species belongs to a unique genus of tortoises that can close themselves entirely within their shells through a posterior carapacial hinge rather than a plastral one. Population structure, ecology, and abundance of K. homeana have been studied in the Niger Delta, southern Nigeria, and in western Cameroon, with ongoing research in Ghana and Togo. The species is omnivorous, with a diet based primarily on mushrooms. Population sizes may be strongly depressed in areas where the species is actively hunted by humans, and there is evidence that it is heavily declining throughout much of its range. The main threats include subsistence hunting by local people in desperately poor economic conditions, agricultural and industrial expansion with deforestation, and trade for the international pet industry. There are not yet any conservation actions known for this species and there is a strong need to conduct more field research (e.g., ecology, abundance) and to establish protected areas that include viable populations of the species across its natural range.

Distribution. – Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo Kinshasa) (?), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon (?), Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Togo. Distributed mainly in the southern coastal region of West Africa from Liberia to Cameroon and into western Central African Republic, with a disjunct population reportedly occurring in eastern Congo Kinshasa (DRC).

Synonymy.Kinixys homeana Bell 1827, Cinixys homeana, Testudo (Kinyxis) homeana, Kinixys belliana homeana.

Subspecies. – None recognized.

Status.IUCN 2013 Red List Status: Vulnerable (VU A2cd, assessed 2006); TFTSG Draft Red List: Critically Endangered (CR, assessed 2013); CITES: Appendix II, as Testudinidae spp.



Luiselli, L. and Diagne, T. 2013. Kinixys homeana Bell 1827 – Home’s Hinge-Back Tortoise. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 070.1–070.10, doi:10.3854/crm.5.070.homeana.v1.2013, //iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt/.

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Adult female Kinixys homeana from Cameroon, central Africa.
Photo by Tomas Diagne.


Distribution of Kinixys homeana in western and central Africa. Purple lines = boundaries delimiting major watersheds (level 3 hydrologic unit compartments – HUCs); red dots = museum and literature occurrence records of native populations based on Iverson (1992), plus more recent and authors’ data; green shading = projected native distribution based on GIS-defined HUCs constructed around verified localities and then adding HUCs that connect known point localities in the same watershed or physiographic region, and similar habitats and elevations as verified HUCs (Buhlmann et al. 2009), and adjusted based on authors’ subsequent data. The disjunct populations previously reported from eastern Congo Kinshasa (DRC) need verification.