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Chelonoidis niger (QUOY & GAIMARD, 1824)

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Higher TaxaTestudinidae, Testudinoidea, Testudines (turtles)
SubspeciesChelonoidis niger abingdonii (GÜNTHER 1877)
Chelonoidis niger becki (ROTHSCHILD 1901)
Chelonoidis niger chathamensis (VAN DENBURGH 1907)
Chelonoidis niger darwini (VAN DENBURGH 1907)
Chelonoidis niger donfaustoi POULAKAKIS et al. 2015
Chelonoidis niger duncanensis (PRITCHARD 1996)
Chelonoidis niger guntheri (BAUR 1889)
Chelonoidis niger hoodensis (VAN DENBURGH 1907)
Chelonoidis niger microphyes (GÜNTHER 1875)
Chelonoidis niger niger (QUOY & GAIMARD 1824)
Chelonoidis niger phantasticus (VAN DENBURGH 1907)
Chelonoidis niger porteri (ROTHSCHILD 1903)
Chelonoidis niger vandenburghi (DESOLA 1930)
Chelonoidis niger vicina (GÜNTHER 1874) 
Common NamesE: Charles Island Giant Tortoise
G: Elefantenchildkröte; Galapagos-Riesenschildkröte
E: Abingdon Island Giant Tortoise [abingdonii]
E: Duncan Island Giant Tortoise, Saddleback giant tortoise [ephippium]
E: E: Volcan Wolf Giant Tortoise, Cape Berkeley Giant Tortoise [becki]
E: Chatham Island Giant Tortoise [chathamensis]
E: James Island Giant Tortoise [darwini]
E: Duncan Island Giant Tortoise [duncanensis]
E: Hood Island Giant Tortoise [hoodensis]
E: Sierra Negra Giant Tortoise [guntheri]
E: Volcán Darwin Giant Tortoise, Darwin Volcano Giant Tortoise, Tagus Cove Giant Tortoise [microphyes]
E: Narborough Island Giant Tortoise [phantasticus]
E: Indefatigable Island Giant Tortoise [porteri]
E: Volcán Alcedo Giant Tortoise, Alcedo Volcano Giant Tortoise [vandenburghi]
E: Cerro Azul Giant Tortoise, Iguana Cove Giant Tortoise [vicina] 
SynonymTestudo nigra QUOY & GAIMARD 1824 (nomen dubium)
Testudo californiana QUOY & GAIMARD 1824 (nomen oblitum)
Testudo elephantopus HARLAN 1826
Testudo californica — GRAY 1831
Testudo Nigra — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 115
Testudo californica — GRAY 1844
Testudo Nigra — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 221
Testudo planiceps GRAY 1854 (non T. planiceps SCHOEPFF 1792)
Testudo planiceps GRAY 1855: 135 (nomen dubium)
Testudo californica — GRAY 1855
Testudo californica — GRAY 1870
Testudo californica — GRAY 1872
Testudo elephantopus — GÜNTHER 1874: 312
Testudo elephantopus — JULIEN & WYMAN 1878
Testudo galapagoensis BAUR 1889:1044
Testudo nigra — BOULENGER 1889
Testudo clivosa GARMAN 1917 (nomen dubium)
Testudo typica GARMAN 1917 (nomen dubium)
Testudo elephantopus elephantopus — MERTENS & WERMUTH 1955
Testudo elephantopus galapagoensis — WERMUTH & MERTENS 1955
Geochelone elephantopus elephantopus — PRITCHARD 1967
Testudo elephantopus galapagoensis — WERMUTH & MERTENS 1977
Chelonoidis elephantopus elephantopus — OBST 1985
Geochelone elephantopus — ERNST & BARBOUR 1989
Geochelone nigra — KING & BURKE 1989
Chelonoidis nigra — DAVID 1994
Chelonoidis nigra nigra — DAVID 1994
Chelonoidis nigra galapagoensis — DAVID 1994
Geochelone elephantopus elephantopus — SWASH & STILL 2000
Geochelone elephantopus — SWASH & STILL 2000
Geochelone elephantopus — VALVERDE 2004
Chelonoidis nigra — MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNI 2004
Chelonoidis nigra — GERLACH (pers. comm.)
Chelonoidis nigra — LE et al. 2006
Geochelone elephantopus — POULAKAKIS et al. 2008
Geochelone nigra — PARENT et al. 2008
Chelonoidis nigra — RHODIN et al. 2010
Chelonoidis elephantopus — GARRICK et al. 2012
Chelonoidis nigra — TTWG 2014: 394
Chelonoidis niger — OLSON & DAVID 2014
Chelonoidis niger — TTWG 2017: 130
Chelonoidis elephantopus — MILLER et al 2017
Chelonoidis niger niger — TTWG 2021

Chelonoidis niger abingdonii (GÜNTHER 1877)
Testudo abingdonii GÜNTHER 1877
Testudo ephippium GÜNTHER 1874: 312 (partim)
Testudo ephippium — GÜNTHER 1875: 271
Testudo elephantopus abingdonii — MERTENS & WERMUTH 1955
Testudo elephantopus ephippium — MERTENS & WERMUTH 1955
Geochelone elephantopus ephippium — PRITCHARD 1967
Geochelone elephantopus abingdoni — PRITCHARD 1967
Geochelone nigra abingdoni — IVERSON 1992: 250
Geochelone nigra ephippium — IVERSON 1992: 250
Chelonoidis nigra ephippium — DAVID 1994
Geochelone elephantopus ephippium — SWASH & STILL 2000
Geochelone elephantopus abingdoni — SWASH & STILL 2000
Geochelone abingdoni — VALVERDE 2004
Geochelone abingdonii — CISNEROS-HEREDIA 2006
Geochelone ephippium — CISNEROS-HEREDIA 2006
Geochelone ephippium — POULAKAKIS et al. 2008
Geochelone abingdoni — POULAKAKIS et al. 2008
Geochelone nigra — FRITZ & BININDA-EMONDS 2007
Chelonoidis abingdonii — RHODIN et al. 2010
Chelonoidis abingdonii — TTWG 2017: 125
Chelonoidis niger abingdonii — TTWG 2021: 266

Chelonoidis niger becki (ROTHSCHILD 1901)
Testudo becki ROTHSCHILD 1901: 372
Geochelone elephantopus becki — PRITCHARD 1967
Geochelone nigra becki — IVERSON 1992: 250
Chelonoidis nigra becki — DAVID 1994
Geochelone elephantopus becki — SWASH & STILL 2000
Geochelone becki — CISNEROS-HEREDIA 2006
Geochelone becki — POULAKAKIS et al. 2008
Chelonoidis becki — RHODIN et al. 2010
Chelonoidis becki — TTWG 2014: 394
Chelonoidis becki — TTWG 2017: 126
Chelonoidis niger becki — TTWG 2021: 267

Chelonoidis niger chathamensis (VAN DENBURGH 1907)
Testudo chathamensis VAN DENBURGH 1907: 4
Testudo wallacei ROTHSCHILD 1902: 619 (partim, nomen dubium)
Testudo elephantopus chathamensis — MERTENS & WERMUTH 1955
Geochelone elephantopus chathamensis — PRITCHARD 1967
Geochelone nigra chathamensis — IVERSON 1992
Chelonoidis nigra chathamensis — DAVID 1994
Geochelone elephantopus chathamensis — SWASH & STILL 2000
Geochelone chathamensis — CISNEROS-HEREDIA 2006
Chelonoidis nigra chathamensis — FRITZ & HAVAS 2007: 130
Geochelone chathamensis — POULAKAKIS et al. 2008
Chelonoidis chathamensis — RHODIN et al. 2010
Chelonoidis chathamensis — TTWG 2014: 394
Chelonoidis chathamensis — TTWG 2017: 126
Chelonoidis niger chathamensis — TTWG 2021: 268

Chelonoidis niger darwini (VAN DENBURGH 1907)
Testudo darwini VAN DENBURGH 1907: 4
Testudo wallacei ROTHSCHILD 1902:619 (partim, nomen dubium)
Testudo elephantopus darwini — MERTENS & WERMUTH 1955
Geochelone elephantopus darwini — PRITCHARD 1967
Geochelone nigra darwini — IVERSON 1992
Chelonoidis nigra darwini — DAVID 1994
Geochelone elephantopus darwini — SWASH & STILL 2000
Geochelone darwini — CISNEROS-HEREDIA 2006
Geochelone darwini — POULAKAKIS et al. 2008
Chelonoidis darwini — RHODIN et al. 2010
Chelonoidis darwini — TTWG 2014: 395
Chelonoidis darwini — TTWG 2017: 126
Chelonoidis niger darwini — TTWG 2021: 268

Chelonoidis niger duncanensis (PRITCHARD 1996)
Testudo duncanensis GARMAN 1917 (nomen nudum)
Geochelone nigra duncanensis GARMAN in PRITCHARD 1996: 50
Testudo ephippium GÜNTHER 1875:271 (partim, misidentified type)
Chelonoidis duncanensis — RHODIN et al. 2010
Chelonoidis duncanensis — TTWG 2012: 277
Chelonoidis duncanensis — TTWG 2014: 395
Chelonoidis duncanensis — TTWG 2017: 128
Chelonoidis niger duncanensis — TTWG 2021: 269

Chelonoidis niger donfaustoi POULAKAKIS, EDWARDS & CACCONE in POULAKAKIS et al. 2015
Chelonoidis donfaustoi POULAKAKIS, EDWARDS & CACCONE in POULAKAKIS et al. 2015
Chelonoidis donfaustoi — TTWG 2017: 127
Chelonoidis niger donfaustoi — TTWG 2021: 269

Chelonoidis niger guntheri (BAUR 1889)
Testudo güntheri BAUR 1889 (not Testudo güntheri GADOW 1914)
Testudo wallacei ROTHSCHILD 1902: 619
Geochelone elephantopus guntheri — PRITCHARD 1967
Chelonoidis elephantopus guentheri — OBST 1985
Geochelone nigra guntheri — IVERSON 1992
Chelonoidis nigra guntheri — DAVID 1994
Geochelone elephantopus guntheri — SWASH & STILL 2000
Geochelone guntheri — CISNEROS-HEREDIA 2006
Geochelone guntheri — POULAKAKIS et al. 2008
Chelonoidis guntheri — TTWG 2017: 128
Chelonoidis niger guntheri — TTWG 2021: 270

Chelonoidis niger hoodensis (VAN DENBURGH 1907)
Testudo hoodensis VAN DENBURGH 1907: 3
Testudo elephantopus hoodensis — MERTENS & WERMUTH 1955
Geochelone elephantopus hoodensis — PRITCHARD 1967
Geochelone nigra hoodensis — IVERSON 1992
Chelonoidis nigra hoodensis — DAVID 1994
Geochelone elephantopus hoodensis — SWASH & STILL 2000
Geochelone nigra hoodensis — HILL 2004
Geochelone hoodensis — CISNEROS-HEREDIA 2006
Geochelone hoodensis — POULAKAKIS et al. 2008
Chelonoidis hoodensis — RHODIN et al. 2010
Chelonoidis hoodensis — TTWG 2014: 395
Chelonoidis hoodensis — TTWG 2017: 129
Chelonoidis niger hoodensis — TTWG 2021: 270

Chelonoidis niger microphyes (GÜNTHER 1875)
Testudo microphyes GÜNTHER 1874: 313 (nomen dubium)
Testudo microphyes GÜNTHER 1875
Testudo macrophyes GARMAN 1917: 273
Geochelone elephantopus microphyes — PRITCHARD 1967
Chelonoidis elephantopus microphyes — OBST 1986
Geochelone nigra microphyes — IVERSON 1992: 250
Chelonoidis nigra microphyes — DAVID 1994
Geochelone elephantopus microphyes — SWASH & STILL 2000
Geochelone microphyes — CISNEROS-HEREDIA 2006
Geochelone microphyes — POULAKAKIS et al. 2008
Chelonoidis microphyes — TTWG 2017: 129
Chelonoidis niger microphyes — TTWG 2021: 271

Chelonoidis niger phantasticus (VAN DENBURGH 1907)
Testudo phantasticus VAN DENBURGH 1907: 4
Geochelone nigra phantastica — IVERSON 1992: 250
Chelonoidis phantastica — RHODIN et al. 2010
Chelonoidis phantastica — TTWG 2014: 395
Chelonoidis phantasticus — TTWG 2017: 130
Chelonoidis niger phantasticus — TTWG 2021: 271
Chelonoidis phantasticus — JENSEN et al. 2022

Chelonoidis niger porteri (ROTHSCHILD 1903)
Testudo planiceps GRAY 1854: 12 (nomen dubium, not Testudo planiceps SCHNEIDER 1792)
Testudo porteri ROTHSCHILD 1903:119
Testudo nigrita DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 80 (nomen dubium)
Testudo nigrita — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 220 (nomen dubium)
Testudo nigrita — GÜNTHER 1874: 312
Testudo elephantopus nigrita — MERTENS & WERMUTH 1955
Geochelone elephantopus porteri — PRITCHARD 1967
Geochelone elephantopus porteri — ALDERTON 1988
Geochelone porteri — ERNST & BARBOUR 1989
Geochelone nigra nigrita — IVERSON 1992
Chelonoidis nigra nigrita — DAVID 1994
Geochelone elephantopus porteri — SWASH & STILL 2000
Geochelone nigrita — CISNEROS-HEREDIA 2006
Geochelone porteri — POULAKAKIS et al. 2008
Chelonoidis porteri — RHODIN et al. 2010
Chelonoidis porteri — TTWG 2012: 277
Chelonoidis nigritus — OLSON & DAVID 2014
Chelonoidis porteri — TTWG 2014: 396
Chelonoidis porteri — TTWG 2017: 131
Chelonoidis niger porteri — TTWG 2021: 272

Chelonoidis niger vandenburghi (DESOLA 1930)
Testudo vandenburghi DESOLA 1930
Geochelone elephantopus vandenburghi — PRITCHARD 1967
Geochelone vandenburghi — ERNST & BARBOUR 1989
Geochelone nigra vandenburghi — IVERSON 1992: 250
Chelonoidis nigra vandenburghi — DAVID 1994
Geochelone elephantopus vandenburghi — SWASH & STILL 2000
Geochelone nigra vandenburghi — MÁRQUEZ et al. 2004
Geochelone vandenburghi — CISNEROS-HEREDIA 2006
Geochelone vandenburghi — POULAKAKIS et al. 2008
Chelonoidis vandenburghi — TTWG 2017: 131
Chelonoidis niger vandenburghi — TTWG 2021: 272

Chelonoidis niger vicina (GÜNTHER 1874)
Testudo vicina GÜNTHER 1874: 313
Geochelone vicina — ERNST & BARBOUR 1989
Geochelone nigra vicina — IVERSON 1992: 250
Chelonoidis nigra vicina — DAVID 1994
Geochelone vicina — CISNEROS-HEREDIA 2006
Geochelone nigra — FRITZ & BININDA-EMONDS 2007
Geochelone vicina — POULAKAKIS et al. 2008
Chelonoidis vicina — RHODIN et al. 2010
Chelonoidis vicina — TTWG 2012: 277
Chelonoidis vicina — TTWG 2014: 396
Chelonoidis vicina — TTWG 2017: 132
Chelonoidis niger vicina — TTWG 2021: 273 
DistributionEcuador (Galapagos: Charles [Floreana]

Type locality: "Sandwich-Inseln" (in error).


abingdonii: Ecuador: Galapagos (Abingdon = Pinta Island);Type locality: Abingdon Island [= Pinta]

ephippium: Galapagos (Duncan = Pinzon); Type locality: “Chalres Island” (in error, fide Iverson 1992)

becki: Ecuador: Galapagos (N Albemarle = Isabela Island);Type locality: Cape Berkeley, northern point of Albemarle Island [= Isabela].

chathamensis: Ecuador: Galapagos (NE Chatham = San Cristobal); Type locality: Chatham Island [San Cristobál].

darwini: Ecuador: Galapagos (James = San Salvador Island); Type locality: James Island [San Salvador, Santiago].

donfaustoi: Ecuador (Galapagos Islands: E Santa Cruz Island); Type locality: “Cerro Fatal in Santa Cruz”

duncanensis: Ecuador (Galapagos: Duncan [= Pinzón]); Type locality: Duncan Island

hoodensis: Ecuador: Galapagos (Hood = Espanola); Type locality: Hood Island [= Española].

guntheri: Ecuador: Galapagos (Sierra Negra area of SE Albemarle = Isabela); Type locality: “Galapagos.” Restricted to “Vilamil, Albemarle” [= Isabela, Galápagos, Ecuador] by Van Denburgh (1914:259).

wallacei: Galápagos (San Cristóbal, Jervis); Type locality: “Chatham Island” [San Cristóbal, Galápagos, Ecuador] by supposition. Restricted to “Jervis” [Rábida, Galápagos, Ecuador] by Van Denburgh (1914:259).

macrophyes: Ecuador: Galapagos (Albemarle); Type locality: "Santa Isabela Island (Albemarle) near Tagus Cove"
[= Isabela, Galápagos, Ecuador].

microphyes: Ecuador: Galapagos (NC Albemarle = Isabela); Type locality: originally “Hood’s Island” (GÜNTHER 1875, in error), then “Tagus Cove, northern Albemarle Island” (GÜNTHER 1877).

phantasticus: Ecuador: Galapagos (Narborough = Fernandina); Type locality: Narborough Island [= Fernandina].

porteri: Ecuador: Galapagos (Indefatigable = Santa Cruz); Type locality: Indefatigable

vandenburghi: Ecuador: Galapagos (Volcan Alcedo on C Albemarle = Isabela); Type locality: "Cowley Mountain ... the first mountain north of Villamil Mountain", Albemarle Island.

vicina: Ecuador: Galapagos (S Albemarle = Isabela Island); Type locality: Iguana Cove, South Albemarle Island [= Isabela].  
Reproductionoviparous. 
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 9550; Lectotype: lost (fide Olson 2016)
Syntypes: BMNH 1947.3.4.39 (76.6.21.38 and 76.6.21.44) and 1947.3.4.95 (76.6.21.39) and 1947.3.4.96 (76.6.21.40) [abingdonii]
Holotype: BMNH 1949.1.3.87 [becki]
Holotype: CAS 8127 [chathamensis]
Holotype: MCZ 11075 [clivosa]
Holotype: CAS 8108 [darwini]
Lectotype: MCZ 11068 (designated by Pritchard 1996: 47) [duncanensis]
Holotype: UWZM (also as UWZS) 32700 (a skull) [donfaustoi]
Holotype: lost, fide Van Denburgh 1914, Olson 2015 [elephantopus]
Holotype: NMSZ 1932.027.001 (fide Olson 2017), not RSM 1932.27.1.12 as stated by other sources [ephippium]
Holotype: MCZ 11070 [galapagoensis]
Holotype: CAS 8121 [hoodensis]
Holotype: OUM mounted specimen [guntheri]
Holotype: CAS 8101 [phantasticus]
Holotype: BMNH 1947.3.4.88 [microphyes]
Holotype: MCZ 11066
Syntypes: NHMUK 1876.6.21.41, 1947.3.4.91-3 (formerly
1876.6.21.42, 1880.12.20.1, 1886.3.5.1), syntypes (4); MCZ 11066 may be another syntype, based on the MCZ catalog [macrophyes]
Lectotype: BMNH 1949.1.4.38, 1974.2464 [porteri]
Lectotype: BMNH 1949.1.4.37, fide Iverson 1992: 250; paralectotype: MNHN-RA 9313 [nigrita]
Holotype: NHMUK 1947.3.5.3 (formerly 1848.4.6.3) [planiceps]
Holotype: MCZ 11072 [typica]
Holotype: CAS 8141 [vandenburghi]
Holotype: BMNH 1947.3.4.90 (74.7.15.1) [vicina] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (chathamensis). No nuchal; gulars paired; fourth cervical vertebra biconvex; carapace depressed, front elevated in male; height at nuchal notch less than 41% of straight length (male 34, female 27%); male flat-backed, female dome-shaped, differcnce between percentages of heights at third vertebral and at nuchal notch 6 in male. 24 in femalc; carapace of male slightly saddle-shaped but broad, width at margin of junction of second and third marginals 53% in male; antcrior marginals but little everted; length over curve in male 112%, female 126%; vertical distance from lower surface of plastron to lower edge of lateral marginals smalI, 4% in male, 6% in female; general size moderate, straight length in male 35.25 inches, female 22.5 inches; pectoral plates much reduced, not meeting on mid-line; jaws and throat of female black (Van Denburgh 1907: 4).

Diagnosis (darwini). No nuchal; gulars paired; fourth cervical vertebra biconvex; carapace high, elongate, somewhat dome-shaped but high in iront; posterior declivity beginning about middle of third verte- bral; height at nuchal notch more than 41% (45%) of straight length; difference bctween percentages of height at third vertebral and at nuchal notch more than 9 (10); carapace not saddle-shaped, width at margin cf junction of second and third marginals 55%; width over curve in male not greater than length over curve; vertical distance from lower surface of plastron to tower edge of lateral marginals moderately great (9%); general size large, straight length 38 inches; shell heavy; pectoral plates forming a suture on median line; the sum of the measurements of the length over curve, length of plastron, height at nuchal notch, and height at third vertebral, equals or exceeds the sum of the measurements of the straight length, straight width, and width over curve; jaws and throat black (Van Denburgh 1907: 4).

Diagnosis (donfaustoi). “The new species can be diagnosed by a combination of genetic, morphological, and geographic distribution evidence.” (POULAKAKIS et al. 2015).

There are no diagnostic morphological characters that uniquely define the new species. However, “linear and geometric morphometric analyses reveal consistent differences in mean shell size and shape between tortoises from Reserva and Cerro Fatal. Tortoises from Reserva are larger in size and have a relatively larger carapace with higher anterior opening than the Cerro Fatal tortoises” (POULAKAKIS et al. 2015).

Diagnosis (hoodensis). No nuchaI; gu!ars paired; front of carapace high, Iittle lower than middle, height at nuchal notch more than 41% (45%) of straight length; difference between percentages of heights at third vertebral and at nuchal notch less than 9 (5); carapace saddle-shaped, narrow anteriorly. width at margin of junction of second and third marginals not more than 54% (45%); first marginals not greatly enlarged, not much everted, their ventral surfaces not vertical, their most prominent points separated by less than 30% (20%); length over curve not more than 123% (122%) , greater than width over curve; vertical distance from lower surface of plastron to lower edge of lateral marginals great, 12%; general size rather smalI, straight length (June, 1907) 22.2 inches; plastron long, median length 89%; plates striated, central portions of vertebrals and costals much elevated; pectoral plates forming a suture on median line; tower jaw and throat marked with yellow (Van Denburgh 1907: 3).

Diagnosis (phantasticus). No nuchal; gulars paired; fourth cervical vertebra biconvex; front of carapace high, not lower than middle, height at nuchal notch more than 41% (54%) of straight length; difference between percentages of height at third vertebral and at nuchal notch less than 9 (2); carapace saddle-shaped, narrow anteriorly. width at margin of junction of second and third marginals not more than 54% (46%); first marginals much enlarged, everted more than in any other race, their ventral surfaces nearly vertical, their edges from nuchal notch to prominent point nearly horizontal, prominent point almost a right angle; distance between prominent points of first marginals more than 30% (32%); length over curve more than 123 % (124 % ), greater than width over curvc; vertical di s tance from lower surface of plastron to lower edge of lateral marginaIs small, 6%; general size moderate, straight length 34.5 inches; plastron short, 70 %; pectoral plates forming a suture on median line; lower jaw and throat marked with yellow (Van Denburgh 1907: 4). 
CommentTaxonomy: The Chelonoidis nigra species complex (formerly Geochelone elephantopus) has been revised recently by Rhodin et al. (2010) listed the various forms/subspecies separately but under the heading “C. nigra species complex”.

Synonymy: mostly after RHODIN et al. 2010 and Olson 2015, 2016 who argued that the names Testudo nigra Quoy and Gaimard and Testudo nigrita Duméril and Bibron should be considered as nomina dubia. Testudo nigra and Testudo californiana were based on the same specimen, now lost. Günther (1875), Baur (1889), Rothschild (1902), and Van Denburgh (1914) were unanimous in declaring that the type specimen of Testudo nigra, which Günther and Rothschild examined together in the Paris Museum, was too juvenile to possess any morphological characters that would allow it to be assigned to a given island (Olson 2016). TTWG decided not to adopt Olson’s 2017 conclusions on the priority of elephantopus over niger, at least not for now (PP van Dijk, pers. comm., 26 Feb 2018). C. n. donfaustoi has previously (and still is) considered as C. porteri. C. n. microphyes was previously synonymized under C. niger or C. vicina.

Conservation: Several species, including Testudo galapagoensis and Chelonoidis alburyorum (Kehlmaier et al. 2021) are extinct now. See also extensive comment in KING & BURKE 18. IUCN: Extinct (16), as Chelonoidis nigra nigra; CITES: Appendix I.

Conservation (abingdonii): Geochelone (nigra) abingdonii is extinct in the wild. However, Poulakakis et al. (2008) show that the genetic line of G. elephantopus has not been completely extinguished and still exists in an intermixed population on Isabela. CITES: Appendix I, as Chelonoidis nigra. Various news outlets reported that the last survivor of this (sub-) species, Lonesome George, died recently on the Galapagos Islands. Extinct fide TTWG 2014, 2017. Aguilera et al. 2015 reported newly hatched C. ephippium on Galapagos.

Distribution: The nominate subspecies, Geochelone nigra nigra was completely arbitrarily ‘‘restricted to Charles Island (Santa Maria or Floreana)’’ (Pritchard 1996: 4).

Taxonomy (abingdonii): This is a member of the Chelonoidis nigra species complex, variably considered as a subspecies of C. nigra or as valid species. The TTWG 2014 listed them separately but under the heading “C. nigra species complex”.

NCBI taxonID: 2804498 [ephippium]
NCBI taxonID: 106734 [abingdonii]
NCBI taxonID: 106727 [becki]
NCBI taxonID: 106735 [chathamensis]
NCBI taxonID: 106726 [darwini]
NCBI taxonID: 1137937 [duncanensis]
NCBI taxonID: 1743023 [donfaustoi]
NCBI taxonID: 2203395 [guntheri]
NCBI taxonID: 106733 [hoodensis]
NCBI taxonID: 2039269 [microphyes]
NCBI taxonID: 1129807 [phantasticus]
NCBI taxonID: 106732 [porteri]
NCBI taxonID: 2039268 [vandenburghi]
NCBI taxonID: 106731 [vicina]

Taxonomy (becki): This is a member of the Chelonoidis nigra species complex, variably considered as a subspecies of C. nigra or as valid species. TTWG 2014 listed them separately but under the heading “C. nigra species complex”.

Conservation (becki): IUCN: Vulnerable D1+2 (1996), as Chelonoidis nigra; CITES: Appendix I, as Chelonoidis nigra (RHODIN et al. 2010).

Taxonomy (chathamensis): This is a member of the Chelonoidis nigra species complex, variably considered as a subspecies of C. nigra or as valid species. Rhodin et al. (2010) listed them separately but under the heading “C. nigra species complex”. The status of wallacei is doubtfull; FRITZ & HAVAS 2007 list all instances in the literature with a question mark under chathamensis and darwini.

Conservation (chathamensis): IUCN: Vulnerable D1+2 (1996), as Chelonoidis nigra chathamensis; CITES: Appendix I, as Chelonoidis nigra (RHODIN et al. 2010). The identity of Testudo wallcei is doubtful and it may have gone extinct.

Conservation (darwini): IUCN: Endangered C2a (1996), as Chelonoidis nigra darwini; CITES: Appendix I, as Chelonoidis nigra.

Taxonomy (darwini): This is a member of the Chelonoidis nigra species complex, variably considered as a subspecies of C. nigra or as valid species. Rhodin et al. (2010) listed them separately but under the heading “C. nigra species complex”.

Taxonomy (duncanensis): This is a member of the Chelonoidis nigra species complex, variably considered subspecies of C. nigra or as valid species. Rhodin et al. (2010) listed them separately but under the heading “C. nigra species complex”.

Conservation (duncanensis): IUCN: Extinct in the Wild (1996), as Chelonoidis nigra duncanensis; TFTSG Draft 2010: Critically Endangered; CITES: Appendix I, as Chelonoidis nigra duncanensis.

Conservation (hoodensis): IUCN: Critically Endangered D (1996), as Chelonoidis nigra hoodensis; CITES: Appendix I, as Chelonoidis nigra.

Taxonomy (hoodensis): This is a member of the Chelonoidis nigra species complex, variably considered subspecies of C. nigra or as valid species. Rhodin et al. (2010) listed them separately but under the heading “C. nigra species complex”.

Conservation (guntheri): IUCN: Endangered C2a [TTWG 2017]; CITES: Appendix I, as Chelonoidis nigra.

Taxonomy (guntheri): This is a member of the Chelonoidis niger species complex, variably considered subspecies of C. nigra or as valid species. Rhodin et al. (2010) and TTWG 2017 listed them separately but under the heading “C. niger species complex”.

Conservation (phantasticus): Chelonoidis phantastica was thought to be extinct since ca. 1960 (RHODIN et al. 2010), but apparently re-discovered in 2018 by the Galapagos Parks authority and the Galapagos Conservancy group (Jensen et al. 2022).

Taxonomy (phantasticus): This is a member of the Chelonoidis nigra species complex, variably considered subspecies of C. nigra or as valid species. Rhodin et al. (2010) listed them separately but under the heading “C. nigra species complex”. Probably needs to be called C. phantasticus following Olson & David 2014.

Conservation (microphyes): IUCN: Vulnerable D1+2 [TTWG 2017], CITES: Appendix I, as Chelonoidis nigra.

Taxonomy (microphyes): This is a member of the Chelonoidis niger species complex, variably considered subspecies of C. nigra or as valid species. Rhodin et al. (2010) listed them separately but under the heading “C. niger species complex”.

Conservation (porteri): IUCN: Endangered C2a (1996), as Chelonoidis nigra porteri; CITES: Appendix I, as Chelonoidis nigra.

Similar species: a population of what used to be called C. porteri has been described as Chelonoidis donfaustoi POULAKAKIS et al. 2015.

Taxonomy (porteri): This is a member of the Chelonoidis nigra species complex, variably considered subspecies of C. nigra or as valid species. Rhodin et al. (2010) and the TTWG 2012 listed them separately but under the heading “C. nigra species complex”.

Conservation (vandenburghi): IUCN: Vulnerable D2 [TTWG 2017]

Taxonomy (vandenburghi): This is a member of the Chelonoidis niger species complex, variably considered subspecies of C. nigra or as valid species. Rhodin et al. (2010), TTWG 2017 listed them separately but under the heading “C. niger species complex”.

Conservation (vicina): IUCN: Endangered C2a (1996), as Chelonoidis nigra vicina; sometimes includes synonymized C. n. guentheri (Endangered C2a [1996]), C. n. microphyes (Vulnerable D1+2 [1996]), and C. n. vandenburghi (Vulnerable D2 [1996]); TFTSG Draft 2010: Vulnerable; CITES: Appendix I, as Chelonoidis nigra.

Taxonomy (vicina): This is a member of the Chelonoidis niger species complex, variably considered subspecies of C. nigra or as valid species. Rhodin et al. (2010), TTWG 2017 listed them separately but under the heading “C. niger species complex”. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin niger, nigra, nigrum = black, apparently after the dark color which appears to be an adaptation to the volcanic rocks on Galapagos.

C. n. abingdonii was named after its type locality, Abingdon Island.

C. n. becki was named after Rollo Howard Beck (1870-1950), a collector for the California Academy of Sciences and the American Museum of Natural History. He collected in the Galapagos (1897-1898), Alaska (1911), and New Guinea (1928).

C. n. chathamensis was named after its type locality, Chatham Island.

C. n. darwini was apparently named after Charles Darwin, but not explicitly explained by Van Denburgh 1907.

C. n. duncanensis was named after its type locality, Pinzón Island (= Duncan Island).

C. n. donfaustoi was named in honor of Fausto Llerena Sánchez who devoted 43 years of service (1971–2014) to giant tortoise conservation as a park ranger within the Galapagos National Park Directorate. “Don Fausto” was the primary caretaker of endangered tortoises in captivity, one of the first to explore tortoise habitat throughout the archipelago, and was well known for his work ethic, commitment to tortoise conservation, and collegiality. Several tortoise lineages in Galapagos remain extant in large part due to Don Fausto’s dedication, ingenuity, and patience.

C. n. hoodensis was named after its type locality, Hood Island (= Española).

C. n. vicina is named after Latin vicina = similar, close, or related to; presumably referring to the similarity between species. 
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