Tor"toise(?), n. [OE. tortuce, fr. OF. tortis crooked, fr. L. tortus twisted, crooked, contorted, p. p. of torquere, tortum, to wind; cf. F. tortue tortoise, LL. tortuca, tartuca, Pr. tortesa crookedness, tortis crooked. so called in allusion to its crooked feet. See Torture.] 1. (Zol.) Any one of numerous species of reptiles of the order Testudinata.
The term is applied especially to the land and fresh-water species, while the marine species are generally called turtles, but the terms tortoise and turtle are used synonymously by many writers. See Testudinata, Terrapin, and Turtle.
(Rom. Antiq.) Same as Testudo, 2.
Land tortoise, etc. See under Box, Land, etc. --
Painted turtle, under Painted. --
(Zol.) See Trionyx. --
(Zol.) A small American fresh-water tortoise (Chelopus guttatus or Nanemys guttatus) having a blackish carapace on which are scattered round yellow spots. --
(Zol.), any one of numerous species of small tortoise-shaped beetles. Many of them have a brilliant metallic luster. The larv feed upon the leaves of various plants, and protect themselves beneath a mass of dried excrement held over the back by means of the caudal spines. The golden tortoise beetle (Cassida aurichalcea) is found on the morning-glory vine and allied plants. --
Elephant's foot, under Elephant. --
Tortoise shell, the substance of the shell or horny plates of several species of sea turtles, especially of the hawkbill turtle. It is used in inlaying and in the manufacture of various ornamental articles. --
(Zol.), any one of several species of handsomely colored butterflies of the genus Aglais, as Aglais Milberti, and Aglais urtic, both of which, in the larva state, feed upon nettles. --
(Zol.), the hawkbill turtle. See Hawkbill.
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