Comments on the proposed conservation of usage of Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812 (currently Geochelone (Aldabrachelys) gigantea; Reptilia, Testudines) 3

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2009
Authors:J. Austin
Journal:Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature
Start Page:356
Date Published:12/2009
Type of Article:Comment
Full Text

I am writing to you in strong support of Case 3463 to stabilise the name of the Aldabra tortoise. During my time as a research fellow at the Natural History Museum (London) I conducted phylogenetic and population genetic analyses of both living and museum material from the Seychelles, including Aldabra. At the time the nomenclatural instability was a major issue, for scientific understanding of the evolutionary history of these tortoises but more importantly for conservation of surviving populations. Since then the issues surrounding the name of the Aldabra tortoise appear to have become even more mired in a debate which ultimately cannot be resolved using historical museum collections alone. The recent proposal to establish an unambiguous neotype has great merit, from the perspective of stabilising the taxonomy of this very important species (it is the only surviving giant tortoise in the Indian Ocean) and to assist with conservation of the species. Continued debate about the name of the Aldabra tortoise will only serve to distract from and complicate these important conservation efforts.

Once again, I strongly support Case 3463 made by Dr Frazier and sincerely hope the ICZN will pass a ruling in favour of the proposal.

Taxonomic Group(s): 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith