Genus Homopus

Duméril and Bibron, 1835

This genus of five small tortoises is endemic to South Africa. The hingeless carapace is only weakly domed with ascending sides and a flattened top. Its rim may or may not be reverted and serrated. Eleven or twelve marginals lie on each side, a single supracaudal is present, and submarginals are absent. A small but broad cervical scute is present, and a low medial keel may occur, at least on younger individuals. Neurals are either hexagonal or four sided; none are octagonal. An enlarged suprapygal encloses a smaller one between its ventral rami. The hingeless plastron contains an anal notch. Its paired gulars are slightly thickened but not greatly projecting, and each is broader than long. The entoplastron lies anterior to the humero-pectoral seam. Both axillary and inguinal buttresses are short but strong. The upper jaw is usually hooked. Triturating surfaces of the jaws lack ridges, and the maxilla does not contribute to the roof of the palate. The anterior palatine foramina are large. The temporal arch is relatively weak. The prootic bone is narrowly exposed dorsally and the quadrate bone encloses the stapes. Limbs are clublike, with four or five claws on each forefoot. See Loveridge and Williams (1957) for a discussion of variation within the genus.

Species identification
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