EMYSystem Species Page: Geochelone nigra
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OrderOrder Testudines (turtles, tortoises and terrapins)
FamilyFamily Testudinidae (Tortoises)
SubfamilySubfamily Testudininae ()
GenusGenus Geochelone (Typical Tortoises)
SpeciesSpecies Geochelone nigra (Galapagos Tortoise)
range of species Geochelone nigra
approximate range
Original Description Quoy and Gaimard 1824 : 172
Type Locality "Sandwich-Inseln" [= Hawaiian Islands, USA] (in error)
Holotype MNHN 9550
Original name Testudo nigra
Common name Galapagos Tortoise
Distribution Galapagos Islands, Ecuador (present range on map according to Pritchard, pers. comm.)
Comments Subgenus Chelonoidis according to Bour (1984c). The more commonly used name Geochelone elephantopus (Harlan, 1827:284) was shown by Pritchard (1984, 1986) and Bour (1984c:62) to be a junior synonym of Geochelone nigra (but see Crumly, 1986). The taxonomy within this species is controversial; most authors regarded the various island populations as subspecies (MacFarland et al., 1974a, 1974b; Wermuth and Mertens, 1977; Marlow and Patton, 1981; Crumly, 1982a; Pritchard, 1984; Bour 1984c; Iverson 1986b; King and Burke 1989); others (e.g., Bour, 1980b; Ernst and Barbour, 1989) regarded each allopatric island population as a distinct species. In fact, in a footnote, Bour (1988:403) even resurrected the genus Elephantopus Gray (1873) for the Galapagos tortoise, but this change has not been followed by subsequent authors. Furthermore, there is also controversy concerning the valid names for the individual island populations. Reviewed by Pritchard (1979; as G. elephantopus), Groombridge (1982; as G. elephantopus), Fritts (1984; as G. elephantopus), de Vries (1984; as G. elephantopus) and Swingland (in Swingland and Klemens, 1989; as G. elephantopus).
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