Spider tortoise - Wikipedia

Spider tortoise
CITES Appendix I (CITES)[2]
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Testudinoidea
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Pyxis
P. arachnoides
Binomial name
Pyxis arachnoides
Bell, 1827
Pyxis arachnoides arachnoides
  • Pyxis arachnoides Bell, 1827
  • Testudo (Pyxis) aranoides Gray, 1831 (ex errore)
  • Pyxis aranoides Gray, 1831
  • Pyxis madagascariensis Lesson, 1831
  • Testudo (Pyxis) arachnoides Fitzinger, 1835
  • Bellemys arachnoides Williams, 1950
  • Pyxis arachnoides arachnoides Bour, 1979
Pyxis arachnoides brygooi
  • Pyxoides brygooi Vuillemin & Domergue, 1972
  • Pyxis arachnoides brygooi Bour, 1979
Pyxis arachnoides oblonga
  • Pyxis arachnoides matzi Bour, 1979
  • Pyxis arachnoides oblonga Bour, 1985

The spider tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides) is a species of tortoise in the family Testudinidae that is endemic to Madagascar and is one of only two species in the genus Pyxis.[4]


The remaining tortoises are found only in south western Madagascar, where they inhabit the spiny vegetation of the sandy coastal areas.

Spider tortoise in captivity.

Life cycle and breeding[edit]

Very little is known about the life cycle of this endangered tortoise, which is believed to live for up to 70 years.[5] Here they feed on young leaves, insect larvae, and even the droppings of larger animals. When the wet season arrives, the dormancy period ends and the tortoises begin to mate. Females only lay one egg when they reproduce, and the egg is incubated for about 220–250 days.


Their trade is illegal in Madagascar, but they are extensively smuggled[6] for food, body parts, and illegal pets.[5]


  1. ^ Leuteritz, T.; Walker, R. (2020). "Pyxis arachnoides". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T19035A177075588. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T19035A177075588.en. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Appendices | CITES". cites.org. Retrieved 2022-01-14.
  3. ^ Fritz Uwe; Peter Havaš (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World" (PDF). Vertebrate Zoology. 57 (2): 292–293. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-01. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  4. ^ Glaw, Frank; Vences, Miguel (2007). A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar (3rd ed.). Cologne, Germany: Vences & Glaw Verlags. ISBN 978-3929449037.
  5. ^ a b Leuteritz, T.; Walker, R. (2014). "Pyxis arachnoides". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2014: e.T19035A50987297. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-1.RLTS.T19035A50987297.en. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Malagasy Frontier Police seize Indonesia-bound shipment of 'world's rarest' tortoises - Wildlife Trade News from TRAFFIC".