EMYSystem Text Only Species Page: Geochelone gigantea

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order..........TESTUDINES (turtles, tortoises and terrapins)
family...........Testudinidae (Tortoises)
subfamily.......Testudininae ()
genus...............Geochelone (Typical Tortoises)
species..............Geochelone gigantea (Aldabra Tortoise)
Original Description
Schweigger 1812 : 327
Not designated; but see discussion in Pritchard 1986.
Type Locality
"in Brasilia"; see discussion in Pritchard (1986)
Original name
Testudo gigantea
Common Name
Aldabra Tortoise
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)
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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