EMYSystem Species Page: Gopherus agassizii
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OrderOrder Testudines (turtles, tortoises and terrapins)
FamilyFamily Testudinidae (Tortoises)
SubfamilySubfamily Xerobatinae ()
GenusGenus Gopherus (Gopher Tortoises)
SpeciesSpecies Gopherus agassizii (Desert Tortoise)
range of species Gopherus agassizii
approximate range
Original Description Cooper 1863 : 120
Type Locality "mountains of California, near Fort Mojave" [USA]; surviving syntype (USNM) from "Utah Basin, Mojave River" (USNM catalog reads 'Soldado Valley, California') according to Cochran (1961:236)
Syntypes "Three young specimens, a male of seven years of age, two females of six and four years . . ", apparently originally in the California State Geological Survey collection according to Cooper (1863:120). Syntypes apparently transferred to other collections, since USNM 7888 was listed by Cochran 1961:236 as one of the syntypes; if the other syntypes were transferred to the CAS collection in San Francisco, they were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire.
Original name Xerobates agassizii
Common name Desert Tortoise
Distribution Southeastern California, southern Nevada, and southwestern Utah through southern Arizona (USA), Sonora to northern Sinaloa, and (possibly introduced) the cape region of Baja California Sur, Mexico)
Comments Reviewed by Auffenberg and Franz (1978a and b), Smith and Smith (1979), Groombridge (1982), and Berry (in Swingland and Klemens, 1989). Xerobates lepidocephalus, described by Ottley and Velázquez-Solis (1989:497) from the Cape region of Baja California Sur, is apparently synonymous with G. agassizii (Crumly and Grismer, 1990; see also Pritchard, 1990).
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