Kinixys belliana nogueyi 1 by diotime.jpg
Kinixys belliana
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Testudinoidea
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Kinixys
Bell, 1827

Kinixys is a genus of turtles in the family Testudinidae. The genus was erected by Thomas Bell in 1827.[1][2] The species in the genus Kinixys are native to Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar[2] and commonly known as hinged tortoises[3] or hinge-back tortoises.[2][4]

Most of the Kinixys species are omnivores. They feed mainly on a wide range of different leaves, weeds, roots, flowers and fruits. However, they also eat worms, insects and other small invertebrates.[5][6]


The following species are recognised in the genus Kinixys:[1]

Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Kinixys.

Three species of Kinixys: K. nogueyi, K. erosa, K. homeana. (Illustration G. Aeschimann).
Three species of Kinixys: K. nogueyi, K. erosa, K. homeana. (Illustration G. Aeschimann).

Distribution and habitat

The several species of the genus Kinxys are found across much of tropical and sub-tropical sub-Saharan Africa, ranging as far south as KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, and as far north as the fringes of the Sahel and Sahara. However, individuals are often very scarce within this range, and several species are threatened.

Though the species' wide geographic ranges overlap considerably, they are separated from each other by favouring different habitats within this range. Some species (such as K. belliana) favour open savannah or grasslands, others (such as K. homeana) favour rainforest.


Species of tortoises in the genus Kinixys play host to a number of ectoparasites (external) and endoparasites (internal). A survey (by Alan Probert & Clive Humphreys) of mixed captive K. spekii and K. belliana (mostly K. spekii) in Zimbabwe showed that the following parasites were known to infest/infect this species. This had been observed and published by others too. However some of the tiny roundworms (photographed under scanning electron microscope) are very likely new species and as yet remain undescribed.


  1. ^ a b Kinixys at the Reptile Database. Accessed 30 September 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Kindler, Carolin; Branch, William R.; Hofmeyr, Margaretha D.; Maran, Jérôme; Široký, Pavel; Vences, Miguel; Harvey, James; Hauswaldt, J. Susanne; Schleicher, Alfred; Stuckas, Heiko & Fritz, Uwe (2012). "Molecular phylogeny of African hinge-back tortoises (Kinixys): implications for phylogeography and taxonomy (Testudines: Testudinidae): Molecular phylogeny of hinge-back tortoises". Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 50 (3): 192–201. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0469.2012.00660.x.
  3. ^ Branch, Bill (2012). Tortoises, Terrapins & Turtles of Africa. Penguin Random House South Africa.
  4. ^ Kirkpatrick, D. (1998). "African Hingeback Tortoises of the Genus Kinixys". Reptile & Amphibian Magazine. 54: 32-37. Archived 2012-10-21 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "The Hinge-Back Tortoises".
  6. ^ "Natural History and Care of Bell's Hinged Tortoise".

Further reading