Comments on the proposed conservation of usage of Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812 (currently Geochelone (Aldabrachelys) gigantea; Reptilia, Testudines) 20

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2009
Authors:Fritz, U, Kraus, O
Journal:Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature
Volume:66
Issue:3
Start Page:281
Pagination:281
Date Published:09/2009
Type of Article:Comment
ISSN:0007-5167
Full Text

In the heated debate on the question of whether the name Testudo gigantea Schweigger,
1812 should be conserved for the Aldabra tortoise there are two lines
of argumentation visible: one fraction represented by Frazier (BZN 66: 34–50, 2009) and his many supporters suggests stabilising the well established name Testudo gigantea Schweigger,
1812 for the Aldabra tortoise, a widely known, charismatic species of
common interest. Frazier presented convincing evidence for the long and
frequent usage of the species name gigantea and we fully support his application. The other fraction, represented by Bour & Pritchard (BZN 66: 169–174, 2009) and supported by only a few others (Cheke, BZN 66: 174–176, 2009; Gerlach, BZN 66:
184–186, 2009) earlier involved in proposing or supporting competing
names (e.g. Gerlach, 2004a; Cheke & Hume, 2008), challenges the
stability of nomenclature and argues on the basis of historical reasons
for proper allocation of the identity of a type specimen that was lost
for more than a century in the Paris museum but rediscovered just when
it was supportive for their point of view.
  Considering the
fundamental aim of the Code (1999, p. XIX), ‘which is to provide the
maximum universality and continuity in the scientific names of animals.
. .’, then there can be only one decision: to support the application
by Frazier to conserve the usage of Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812.

  As a logical consequence, when Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812 is accepted as valid for the Aldabra tortoise, the name Aldabrachelys Loveridge & Williams, 1957, based on the type species Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812, becomes its generic name if the species is placed in a distinct genus. Accordingly, Dipsochelys Bour, 1982 is a junior subjective synonym of Aldabrachelys Loveridge & Williams, 1957.

Additional references

Cheke, A.S. & Hume J.P. 2008. Lost land of the Dodo: An ecological history of Mauritius, Réunion and Rodrigues. 464 pp. A & C Black, London & Yale University Press. New Haven, Connecticut.

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