CHELONIA are very ancient in evolutionary terms. The total number of species worldwide remains variable as species differentiation is difficult and studies in the wild are limited. The small range of some species has allowed complex, local diversification that will take a lot of research to unravel. Members of the Chelonia Order (ie, shelled reptiles) include seven species of marine turtle, 199 species of freshwater terrapin and 50 species of land tortoise. This article provides some key points to help identify the tortoise species seen more commonly in the UK pet market.
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