EMYSystem Species Page: Geochelone gigantea
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OrderOrder Testudines (turtles, tortoises and terrapins)
FamilyFamily Testudinidae (Tortoises)
SubfamilySubfamily Testudininae ()
GenusGenus Geochelone (Typical Tortoises)
SpeciesSpecies Geochelone gigantea (Aldabra Tortoise)
range of species Geochelone gigantea
approximate range
Original Description Schweigger 1812 : 327
Type Locality "in Brasilia"; see discussion in Pritchard (1986)
Holotype Not designated; but see discussion in Pritchard 1986.
Original name Testudo gigantea
Common name Aldabra Tortoise
Distribution Aldabra Island, Seychelles Islands; apparently introduced (snowflakes on map) on Mauritius and Reunion islands (Bour, 1985a) and Curieuse in the Seychelles (Stoddart et al., 1982; Spratt, 1989)
Comments Subgenus Dipsochelys according to Bour (1984c). The correct name for this form is still controversial; it has been referred to by most authors as Geochelone gigantea; however, Pritchard (1986) demonstrated that the description of that taxon was based on Geochelone denticulata and recommended using the next available name, Testudo elephantina Duméril and Bibron (1835:110). In contrast, Bour (1982c, 1984b, 1984c) believed the correct genus name should be Dipsochelys, Obst (1985:219) believed it should be Megalochelys, and Pritchard (1986), Meylan and Auffenberg (1987), and King and Burke (1989:69-70) believed it should be Aldabrachelys. Other authors disagree with either use (e.g., Crumly, 1984b, 1984c, 1986, 1988; Hoogmoed and Crumly, 1984), since recognition of the Aldabra tortoise as a separate genus would make the genus Geochelone paraphyletic (see Geochelone account) and would require elevation of radiata and yniphora to a separate genus (i.e., not Geochelone, but Astrochelys). Reviewed as Geochelone gigantea by Arnold (1979), Shaffer and Ernst (1979), Groombridge (1982), and Swingland (in Swingland and Klemens, 1989).
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