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Citation: Midtgaard, Rune. RepFocus - A Survey of the Reptiles of the World. (www.repfocus.dk).
Latest update: December 31st, 2022.

Taxonomy of the family Testudinidae
Bibliography of the genus Gopherus
Biodiversity of the family Testudinidae


Gopher Tortoises



1832 Gopherus Rafinesque (type species: Testudo polyphemus Daudin 1802)
1857 Xerobates Agassiz (type species: Xerobates berlandieri Agassiz 1857; syn. Fritz & Havas 2006)
1982 Scaptochelys Bramble (type species: Xerobates agassizii Cooper 1863; syn. Fritz & Havas 2006)

Contents: 6 species, of which 4 (66.7%) are endemic.
Endemism: 0% 100%
Remarks: The taxonomic status of records from Baja California Sur is unclear (González-Sánchez, Johnson, González-Solís, Fucsko & Wilson 2021).
Distribution: S. USA, N. Mexico.
Reported from: Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Veracruz), USA (Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah).

Gopherus agassizii

Mohave Desert Tortoise, (Agassiz' Desert Tortoise, Desert Tortoise)



1863 Xerobates agassizii Cooper
Testudo agassizii Cope 1875
Gopherus agassizii Stejneger 1893
Gopherus polyphemus agassizii Mertens & Wermuth 1955
Scaptochelys agassizii Bramble 1982
1989 Xerobates lepidocephalus Ottley & Solis (Crumly & Grismer 1994; Fritz & Havas 2006; Murphy, Berry, Edwards, Leviton, Lathrop & Riedle 2011)

Remarks: Previously included the populations now assigned to morafkai and evgoodei. The taxonomic status of records from Baja California Sur is unclear (González-Sánchez, Johnson, González-Solís, Fucsko & Wilson 2021).
Distribution: USA (Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah).

Gopherus agassizii
© Rune Midtgaard

Gopherus berlandieri

Texas Tortoise, (Berlandier's Tortoise)



1857 Xerobates berlandieri Agassiz
Testudo berlandieri Strauch 1862
Xerobates gopher berlandieri Gray 1873
Gopherus berlandieri Stejneger 1893
Gopherus polyphemus berlandieri Mertens & Wermuth 1955
Scaptochelys berlandieri Bramble 1982

Remarks: This species was reported to occur in San Luis Potosi by Taylor (1949), but without localities or vouchers. The record was repeated by many others (e.g., Auffenberg & Franz 1978; Fritz & Havas 2006; McCord & Joseph-Ouni 2004c). However, the most recent checklists for San Luis Potosi (Lemos-Espinal & Dixon 2013; Lemos-Espinal, Smith & Woolrich-Piña 2018) did not include the species. It is tentatively included for the state herein on the basis of Rhodin, Iverson, Bour, Fritz, Georges, Shaffer & Dijk (2017), who plotted two localities that are clearly within the state.
Introduced to: Mexico (Jalisco), USA (California).
Distribution: Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Veracruz), USA (Texas).

Gopherus evgoodei

Sinaloan Desert Tortoise, Sinaloan Thornscrub Tortoise, (Goode's Thornscrub Tortoise)



2016 Gopherus evgoodei Edwards, Karl, Vaughn, Rosen, Meléndez-Torres & Murphy

Remarks: Previously regarded as the southernmost populations of agassizi or, more recently, of morafkai.
Distribution: Mexico (Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Sonora).

Gopherus flavomarginatus

Bolson Tortoise, Mexican Giant Tortoise, Mexican Giant Gopher Tortoise

Bolson-Gopherschildkröte, Mexikanische Gopherschildkröte


1959 Gopherus flavomarginatus Legler
Gopherus polyphemus flavomarginatus Wermuth & Mertens 1961

Distribution: Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango).

Gopherus morafkai

Sonoran Desert Tortoise, (Morafka's Desert Tortoise)



2011 Gopherus morafkai Murphy, Berry, Edwards, Leviton, Lathrop & Riedle

Remarks: This species, along with evgoodei, represents what was formerly considered the southern populations of agassizii. Previously included the populations now assigned to evgoodei. Rhodin, Iverson, Bour, Fritz, Georges, Shaffer & Dijk (2017) erroneously included Sinaloa in the distribution, however, records of morafkai from this state refer to evgoodei, which also corresponds to these authors' range maps. Several individuals have been reported from southwesternmost New Mexico, although there is no indication that the species has become established in the state (Bartlett & Bartlett 2013, as G. agassizii).
Distribution: Mexico (Sonora), USA (Arizona).

Gopherus polyphemus

Gopher Tortoise



1802 Testudo polyphemus Daudin
Emys polyphemus Schweigger 1812
Xerobates polyphemus True 1881
Gopherus polyphemus Stejneger 1893
1829 Testudo depressa Cuvier in Guérin-Méneville (Fritz & Havas 2006)
1844 Testudo gopher Gray (Fritz & Havas 2006)
Xerobates gopher Gray 1873

Introduced to: USA (Tennessee).
Distribution: USA (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina).

Gopherus polyphemus
© Henrik Bringsøe