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Aldabrachelys gigantea (SCHWEIGGER, 1812)

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Higher TaxaTestudinidae, Testudinoidea, Testudines (turtles) 
SubspeciesAldabrachelys gigantea arnoldi (BOUR 1982)
Aldabrachelys gigantea daudinii (DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835)
Aldabrachelys gigantea gigantea (SCHWEIGGER 1812)
Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa (GÜNTHER 1877) 
Common NamesE: Aldabra Giant Tortoise [gigantea]
E: Daudin’s Giant Tortoise [daudinii]
E: Seychelles Giant Tortoise [hololissa]
E: Arnold’s Giant Tortoise [arnoldi] 
SynonymTestudo gigantea SCHWEIGGER 1812 (nomen protectum)
Testudo indica SCHNEIDER 1783 (ex errore), DEKAY in HARLAN 1827: 292
Testudo dussumieri GRAY 1831 (nomen suppressum)
Testudo elephantina DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 110
Testudo gigantea SCHWEIGGER 1812 (ex errore) DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 120
Testudo Elephantina — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 221
Testudo Gigantea — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 221
Testudo indica BELL — SOWERBY 1872
Testudo ponderosa GÜNTHER 1877: 35
Testudo hololissa GÜNTHER 1877 (part.)
Testudo sumeirei SAUZIER 1892: 396
Testudo gouffei ROTHSCHILD 1906: 753
Testudo daudinii DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835 (ex errore) SAUZIER 1895: 2
Testudo gigantea daudinii — MERTENS & WERMUTH 1955
Aldabrachelys gigantea — LOVERIDGE & WILLIAMS 1957: 259
Aldabrachelys gigantea — BOUR 1980
Dipsochelys elephantina — BOUR 1982: 117
Megalochelys gigantea — OBST 1985
Aldabrachelys elephantina — BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991: 8
Geochelone gigantea — VALVERDE 2004
Dipsochelys elephantina — DEVAUX 2004
Dipsochelys dussumieri — VALVERDE 2004
Geochelone dussumieri — FRITZ & HAVAS 2006
Dipsochelys elephantina — BONIN et al 2006
Geochelone gigantea — ZUG 2009
Aldabrachelys gigantea — BALMER et al. 2010
Aldabrachelys gigantea — SKUBOWIUS 2012
Aldabrachelys gigantea gigantea — TTWG 2012
Aldabrachelys gigantea — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 36

Aldabrachelys gigantea arnoldi (BOUR 1982)
Testudo elephantina DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835 (ex errore) — DUMÉRIL 1854: 197
Testudo vosmaeri — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 221 (?)
Testudo indica SCHNEIDER 1783 (ex errore) — GRAY 1855: 6
Testudo vosmaeri FITZINGER 1826 (ex errore) — GRAY 1855: 6
Testudo daudinii DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835 (ex errore) — GÜNTHER 1877: 33
Dipsochelys arnoldi BOUR 1982
Dipsochelys arnoldi — LÜCKER 2000
Dipsochelys arnoldi — BONIN et al 2006: 223 (uncertain species)
Dipsochelys dussumieri arnoldi — TTWG 2010
Aldabrachelys gigantea arnoldi — TTWG 2012

Aldabrachelys gigantea daudinii (DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835)
Testudo daudinii DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 125
Testudo daudinii — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 221
Dipsochelys daudinii — LÜCKER 2000
Dipsochelys daudinii — RHODIN et al. 2010
Dipsochelys dussumieri daudinii — TTWG 2010
Aldabrachelys gigantea daudinii — TTWG 2012

Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa (GÜNTHER 1877)
Testudo hololissa GÜNTHER 1875: 296 (nomen nudum)
Testudo elephantina DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835 (ex errore) — GÜNTHER 1877: 21
Testudo hololissa GÜNTHER 1877: 39 (part.)
Testudo gigantea SCHWEIGGER 1812 (ex errore) ROTHSCHILD 1897: 407
Testudo daudinii DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835 (ex errore) ROTHSCHILD 1915: 433
Dipsochelys elephantina (DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835) — BOUR 1994: 85
Dipsochelys hololissa — LÜCKER 2000
Geochelone hololissa — FRITZ & HAVAS 2006
Dipsochelys hololissa — BONIN et al 2006
Dipsochelys dussumieri hololissa — TTWG 2010
Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa — TTWG 2012 
DistributionAldabra Atoll (Indian Ocean, Grande Terre, Picard, Malabar), introduced on Curieuse and Fregate (granitic Seychelles). Small groups exist on Cerf, Moyenne, Silhouette, Cousin, Cousine, Bird and Denis in the central Seychelles, on several of the Amirantes, and on Changu Island near Zanzibar (Tanzania).

Type locality: Aldabra [same for Testudo elephantina DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835]

gigantea: Aldabra Atoll

arnoldi: Granitic Seychelles (extinct; see GERLACH & CANNING 1998 for a discussion)

daudini: Granitic Seychelles (extinct since ~1850)

hololissa: Granitic Seychelles (but see GERLACH & CANNING 1998 for a discussion).  
Reproductionoviparous. 
TypesNeotype: USNM 269962 for Testduo gigantea from Aldabra Atoll.
Holotype (daudini): Only two known specimens are referred to this species: the holotype (lacking collection data) and a juvenile in alcohol (MNHN-R 1942; BOUR 1984; GERLACH & CANNING 1998). Synonymy after GERLACH & CANNING 1998.
Holotype: MNHN 9564, male; paratypes: MNHN, BMNH [arnoldi] 
CommentSynonymy modified after GERLACH & CANNING 1998, TTWG 2012, ICZN 2316 (2013). Bour & Pritchard 2009 considered Aldabrachelys a synonym of Chelonoidis.

Nomenclature: OPINION 2316 (Case 3463) has resolved that A. gigantea is the name of this species and T. dussumieri is suppressed. See Frazier et al. (2009) and Chambers et al. (2010) for details.

Conservation: Note that species of Cylindraspis represent a different lineage and are only known as being subfossil (C. borbonica, C. vosmaeri [extinct 1795], C. peltastes, C. triserrata (Mauritius) and C. inepta; see Austin et al. 2002). Cylindraspis indica has been extinct since 1760 (fide JOSEPH-OUNI 2005). A. g. hololissa appears to live only in captivity now (i.e. the species is extinct in nature). A. g. daudini is presumed to be extinct now as it has not been collected since ~1830. A. g. hololissa and A. g. arnoldi appear to live only in captivity now (i.e. the subspecies are extinct in nature). A. g. daudini is presumed to be extinct now as it has not been collected since ~1830. Cylindraspis indica and C. vosmaeri have gone extinct around 1840 and 1795, respectively (TTWG 2010). Le & Raxworthy 2017 discuss the evolution and dispersal of Cylindraspis sp. and related species. We have deleted Aldabrachelys abrupta GRANDIDIER 1868 and Aldabrachelys grandidieri VAILLANT 1885 from our list as they are both extinct now (TTWG 2017).

Aldabrachelys gigantea (= Dipsochelys dussumieri) is the only member of the genus Aldabrachelys which is still found in the wild (all other species are either extinct or are maintained exclusively in captivitiy). wild. Bourne and Coe (1978) estimated that 150,000 individuals survived on Aldabra, although resource depletion (Gibson and Hamilton, 1984) and competition with goats have since caused population declines. Aldabran tortoises were recently introduced to Curieuse Island (1978–1982) and Fregate Island (1968–1973) in the Seychelles as a conservation strategy and tourist attraction (Hambler, 1994). Aldabrachelys gigantea daudinii = Dipsochelys dussumieri daudinii has been extinct since ca. 1830-1850.

Type species: Testudo gigantea SCHWEIGGER 1812 (nomen protectum) is the type species of the genus Aldabrachelys LOVERIDGE & WILLIAMS 1957: 225. 
EtymologyNamed after Jean-Jacques Dussumier (1792-1883), a trader-shipowner in the French mercantile marine, who collected specimens from many areas. 
References
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