Galápagos Tortoise

Chelonoidis Nigra

Habitat

The Galápagos Tortoise exists on the Galápagos Islands. The climate varies from island to island. Saddle-backed tortoises tend to inhabit the hotter, drier islands with sparse vegetation, whereas Domed tortoises inhabit the cooler, wetter islands with lush ground vegetation.
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Taxonomic Category

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Testudines

Suborder: Cryptodira

Family: Testudinidae (Terrestrial turtles with high domed carapace, elephantine feet)

Genus: Chelonoidis

Species: Chelonoidis Nigra

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Adaptations

  1. Gigantism (Structural/Physiological) - Better chance of surviving long trips in water to other islands. Allows them to exist within the extremes of weather. Also, it is better since they can hold in water and food.
  2. Domed Shell (Structural) - Supports larger body size, and also allows better body temperature in hotter, humid weather.
  3. Slow Metabolism (Physiological) - Allows the tortoise to live longer, since it doesn’t require as much energy to go about its day. Also, its mating routine is irregular so it gives the tortoise plenty of time to find the best time to mate.
  4. Saddleback Shell (Structural) - Allows tortoises to reach higher vegetation and also is from the lack of predation.
  5. Mutualism between Galapagos Mockingbird and Finch (Behavioral) - When ready, the tortoise extends its neck to allow the finch and mockingbird to clean it. This provides food for the birds and cleaning for the tortoise since it can’t reach all of its body.
  6. Long Neck (Structural) - The longer neck allows the tortoise to reach higher vegetation, also allows them to show dominance over other tortoises.
  7. Long Legs (Structural) - Longer legs allow the tortoises to stretch higher to reach higher vegetation.
  8. Vegetarian Diet (Behavioral) - These tortoises eat plants and such to not only nourish themselves, but to also absorb moisture from them which allows them to survive for up to 6 months without water.
  9. Strong Vision and Scent Awareness (Behavioral) - The tortoise is very good at knowing its surroundings since it has strengthened sight and hearing.
  10. Egg-Laying (Behavioral) - Females lay their eggs in dry sand, and bury them to allow incubation in the sun. Those who incubate longer, tend to be male.