Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tortoise splitters

According to Bob Murphy et al. the desert tortoise ought to be split into at least two species, called Gopherus agassizi (California/Nevada/Utah) and G. morafkai (Arizona and, for now, Sonora and Sinaloa).

My reaction to most taxonomy papers is basically The Dude's:

But as opinions go, I guess Bob Murphy's is a good one.

I am happy they used the opportunity to coin a new North American tortoise name to honor Dave Morafka; he was a good guy.

Look for serious conservation/political fallout from this one.


here's a FAQ

and here's a map:


Lars said...

Morafka's dead? When did that happen? Sorry to hear it, he was one of the Good Guys.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...


I hope this finds you well! I am writing from Chino Basin Water Conservation District, a non-profit governmental special district located in Montclair, CA. We are constructing a new Water Conservation Center and demonstration garden, currently working on garden signs to explain the various areas. A google search came up with this tortoise image (here: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-j9gSFQYyaSc/TgpYXtpkbeI/AAAAAAAAAVY/EVNOmjoTUZI/s400/desert-tortoise.jpg) and we are wondering if we may use it for one of our signs (the desert tortoise area). We would be sure to properly attribute it to you if you would like to provide the information. What do you think?

Thanks for your help – it is much appreciated.

All best,
Liane Veenema