© 2017 Chris Leone/Garden State Tortoise LLC.

Testudo graeca ibera, formerly "T. g. anamurensis"

One of the most unique or peculiar of the Greek tortoises is Testudo graeca anamurensis. Found along the coastal belt and surrounding mountains of Anamur, Turkey (hence the name anamuresis), this impressive tortoise is a true rarity especially in American collections. When the Asia Minor tortoise (Testudo graeca ibera) was proposed to be a full species, this tortoise was to be listed as a sub species of it and to be dubbed "Testudo ibera anamurensis". The truth is that the Anamur tortoise does resemble other T. g. ibera to some extent but it is in fact altogether different. The most recent taxonomic changes have discounted this tortoise as a valid subspecies making it a geographical variant of T. g. ibera.  

Greek, or Marginated?

Anamurum Testudo graeca ibera are often characteristically marked by considerable flaring of the rear marginal scutes on the carapace. In addition to this, their body shape is narrow and elongate when compared to other T. graeca ssp. Furthermore, they are also quite flat, lacking a significant arc to the carapace. These traits may confuse the viewer into thinking they are observing the more common Marginated tortoise (Testudo marginata).

Various Testudo species can exhibit flared marginal scutes, particularly males, but the Anamur tortoise rivals the Marginated here. It is rather extreme in some animals and either sex may feature it as it is not isolated to just males. The elongate body shape is truly unique for a Greek tortoise with some specimens being conspicuously narrow. The Anamurum tortoise can easily be separated from Testudo marginata by its markings. While the Marginated tortoise has a black shell with each scute having a light colored center, the Anamur tortoise is an ochre color with black blotching or mottling. However, it can be exceptionally confusing differentiating the two from each other when they are entirely black and both can and do reach "black out" status in terms of coloration. This is where the appearance of the plastron really comes in handy. The Marginated can effortlessly be separated by taking a look at its plastron that is a light cream to yellowish ground color and carefully fitted with black chevrons (triangular shapes). The chevrons run downward on either side of the midline. This is never found on Anamurum tortoises.

Those who are even aware of this variant of Testudo graeca ibera often associate them as being entirely black. While they absolutely are many times black, they are equally as often lighter colored. Some feature little black pigment and are nearly completely ochre in coloration. Most specimens exhibit at least some of the ochre ground color peaking through along scute seams expressly at the base of the coastal scutes where they meet the marginals. Dark or black tortoises are an extreme from what this species looks like as a baby. Some believe the Anamur tortoise to be the most beautiful of all Testudos as neonates because they are a gorgeous blonde color with only slight dark borders along the scute sutures. 

The Head

The head of Anamur tortoise is not unlike the head of other more typically encountered T. g. ibera, but is often considerably narrower with a more pointed snout. It's colored a dark gray to sometimes almost black and the immediate surrounding tissue of the eyes including the eye lids is usually yellowish. 

Size

Females- 8 to 10"

Males- 7 to 8"

Weight

Females- up to and over 2,000 grams

Males- up to and over 1,500 grams