EMYSystem Text Only Species Page: Geochelone nigra

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order..........TESTUDINES (turtles, tortoises and terrapins)
family...........Testudinidae (Tortoises)
subfamily.......Testudininae ()
genus...............Geochelone (Typical Tortoises)
species..............Geochelone nigra (Galapagos Tortoise)
Original Description
Quoy and Gaimard 1824 : 172
MNHN 9550
Type Locality
"Sandwich-Inseln" [= Hawaiian Islands, USA] (in error)
Original name
Testudo nigra
Common Name
Galapagos Tortoise
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador (present range on map according to Pritchard, pers. comm.)
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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