Sonoran Desert tortoise - Wikipedia

Sonoran Desert tortoise
Sonoran Desert tortoise, "G. morafkai"
Sonoran Desert tortoise, G. morafkai
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Testudinoidea
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Gopherus
G. morafkai
Binomial name
Gopherus morafkai
Murphy, Berry, Edwards, Leviton, Lathrop, and Riedle, 2011[1]

The Sonoran Desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai), or Morafka's desert tortoise,[2][3] is a species of tortoise native to the Sonoran Desert.

Taxon history[edit]

In 2011, on the basis of DNA, geographic, and behavioral differences between desert tortoises east and west of the Colorado River, it was decided that two species of desert tortoises exist: Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) and Morafka's desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai).[4] G. morafkai occurs east of the Colorado River in Arizona, as well as in the states of Sonora and Sinaloa, Mexico.

The new species name is in honor of the late Professor David Joseph Morafka of California State University, Dominguez Hills, in recognition of his many contributions to the study and conservation of Gopherus.[2]


  1. ^ Rhodin, Anders G.J.; Inverson, John B.; Roger, Bour; Fritz, Uwe; Georges, Arthur; Shaffer, H. Bradley; van Dijk, Peter Paul; et al. (Turtle Taxonomy Working Group) (August 3, 2017). Rhodin A G.J.; Iverson J.B.; van Dijk P.P.; Saumure R.A.; Buhlmann K.A.; Pritchard P.C.H.; Mittermeier R.A. (eds.). "Turtles of the world, 2017 update: Annotated checklist and atlas of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution, and conservation status(8th Ed.)" (PDF). Chelonian Research Monographs. Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (8 ed.). 7: 1–292. doi:10.3854/crm.7.checklist.atlas.v8.2017. ISBN 978-1-5323-5026-9. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Gopherus morafkai at the Reptile Database. Accessed 10 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Morafka's Desert Tortoise Gopherus morafkai". iNaturalist. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  4. ^ Genetic Analysis Splits Desert Tortoise into Two Species. US Geological Survey (2011-06-28). Retrieved on 2019-08-22.