Comments on the proposed conservation of usage of Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812 (currently Geochelone (Aldabrachelys) gigantea; Reptilia, Testudines) 12

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2009
Authors:Praschag, P
Journal:Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature
Volume:66
Issue:3
Start Page:278
Pagination:278
Date Published:09/2009
Type of Article:Comment
ISSN:0007-5167
Full Text

I have been following the ongoing debate about the correct naming of the Aldabra tortoise. In awareness of the ICZN Code and by carefully studying Case 3463, I strongly support the diligent application by Jack Frazier to stabilise the nomenclature by using the name Geochelone (Aldabrachelys) gigantea (Schweigger, 1812). The argument that Hubrecht (1881) and Boulenger (1889) had used the species name gigantea in association with Aldabra Atoll, and that T. gigantea Schweigger, 1812 has been consistently recognised as the oldest available name for the Aldabra tortoise for more than 50 years, is compelling. Furthermore there is no doubt that Geochelone (Aldabrachelys) gigantea is overall the most widely used name for the species. Bour’s (1982) assumption that T. gigantea is a junior synonym of Cylindraspis indica (Schneider, 1783) and the rediscovery of the holotype have been causing instability in nomenclature, which is counterproductive for any conservation effort for a species facing various threats. I can only agree that the simplest and most maintainable solution is to recognise USNM 269962 as the neotype of T. gigantea and to suppress T. dussumieri Gray, 1831.

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