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Gopherus agassizii

Scientific Name:Gopherus agassizii
Common name:Mojave desert tortoise
Rank and Status   
Global Rank:G3 Native Status:Native
Subnational (State) Rank:S2S3 Endemic:No
US ESA Status:Listed threatened Sand Dunes:No
NNHP Tracking Status:At-Risk List Wetland:No
Other Agency Status Status Last Updated Status Comments
Bureau of Land Management - Nevada Sensitive BLM Nevada Sensitive Species List dated 2017-10-01
US Forest Service - Region 4 (Intermountain) Threatened USFS list, Jan 2015 update
State of Nevada Protected Threatened Reptiles NAC 503.080.2
State of Nevada Protected Nevada State Emblems Declared 1989
Nevada Wildlife Action Plan - 2012 Species of Conservation Priority
Nevada Wildlife Action Plan - 2005 Species of Conservation Priority
International Union for Conservation of Nature Vulnerable
CCVI Score Presumed Stable Conf. VH.
Distribution (NV Counties)

Status: Confident or certain

Clark Esmeralda Lincoln Nye
Summary Occurrence Data
Occurrence Count:442
Total Observed Area (hectares):518
Maximum Known Elevation (m):1454
Minimum Known Elevation (m):198
Gopherus agassizii data at NatureServe
Gopherus agassizii photos and data at Encyclopedia of Life
Character Abstract
Identification Comments:
Subspecies Comments:
Food Habits:Eats a wide variety of herbaceous vegetation, particularly grasses and the flowers of annual plants. They also forage on perennial grasses, woody perennials, cacti, and non-native species such as red brome and red-stem filaree (USFWS 2008).
Phenology Comments:
Reproduction Comments:Sexual maturity reached between 13 and 20 years. Low reproductive rates. The number of eggs as well as the number of clutches produced in a season is dependent on a variety of factors including environment, habitat, availability of forage and drinking water, and physiological condition. Success rate of clutches has proven difficult to measure, but predation appears to play an important role in clutch failure (USFWS 2008).
Migration Mobility:
Habitat Comments:Occupies a variety of habitats from flats and slopes dominated by creosote bush scrub at lower elevations to rocky slopes in blackbrush and juniper woodland ecotones (transition zone) at higher elevations. Requires soils that are friable enough for digging burrows, but firm enough so that burrows do not collapse (USFWS 2008). Also uses caliche caves as shelters.
Ecology comments:Long-lived (70-100 yrs) and slow-growing, they reach sexual maturity at 13-20 years. Desert tortoises have low reproductive rates. Much of their life is spent in burrows. In late winter or early spring they emerge from their overwintering burrows and remain active through the fall (USFWS 2008).
Version Date:09/14/2011 - 12:00am
adult individual
Photographer: Glenn Clemmer, Nevada Natural Heritage Program
Photo Date: