Mazanaeva L., Gichikhanova U. Status of populations of the spur-thighed tortoise Testudo graeca Linnaeus, 1758 (Testudinidae, Reptilia) in Dagestan // Principy èkologii. 2021. № 2. P. 21‒37. DOI: 10.15393/

Issue № 2

Analytical review


Status of populations of the spur-thighed tortoise Testudo graeca Linnaeus, 1758 (Testudinidae, Reptilia) in Dagestan

   Lyudmila Feizulaevna
PhD, docent, Dagestan state University,
   Uzlipat Adilmirzaevna
Dagestan state University,
costal lowland
Testudo graeca
costal lowland
Testudo graeca
Summary: The article presents data on the current state of the spur-thighed tortoise, Testudo graeca populations from the Caspian region of Dagestan (North Caucasus). According to the latest literature data the subspecies T. g. armeniaca is widespread in the region. In Dagestan the spur-thighed turtle lives on the northern periphery of its range. The regional range of the species included the coast of the Caspian Sea ("Coastal lowland") and the adjacent foothills up to 700 m above sea level to the border with Azerbaijan. The area size is approximately 418100 ha. Since the end of the 20th century, there has been a decrease of the number and fragmentation of the range in Dagestan, as well as in general within the species range due to the impact of anthropogenic factors. On the coast of the Caspian Sea, the current number of turtles is 1 individuals per ha, in the foothills – about 0.21 ind./ha. In this connection, in 2013–2019 we studied the current distribution and abundance of tortoises in the preserved habitats within the study area. We have identified the most optimal habitats for this species, where populations with good reproductive potential have been preserved. According to our data, two isolated tortoise habitats have been preserved on the Costal lowland in the Samura delta and in the vicinity of Lake Adji (Papas), and three in the foothills – in the Shurdere area, in the vicinity of the village of Shalasi and on the slopes of the Narat-Tube ridge. Currently, the total area of the preserved habitats of this species in the region is about 106600 ha, that of degraded ones – 311500 ha. The main anthropogenic factor contributing to the sharp reduction in the number of tortoises is the destruction of their natural habitats, due to of the operation of numerous quarries for the extraction of sand, soil, gravel and stones on an industrial scale. The article provides recommendations for the preservation of the spur-thighed tortoise in the region.

© Petrozavodsk State University

Reviewer: A. Bakiev
Reviewer: N. Ananyeva
Received on: 21 July 2020
Published on: 21 June 2021


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