Comments on the proposed conservation of usage of Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812 (currently Geochelone (Aldabrachelys) gigantea; Reptilia, Testudines) 4

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2009
Authors:Crumly, CR
Journal:Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature
Volume:66
Issue:1
Start Page:81
Pagination:81
Date Published:03/2009
Type of Article:Comment
ISSN:0007-5167
Full Text

 I write in strong support of the petition by Jack Frazier to conserve the usage of Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812 by the designation of a neotype. Further, I agree that Testudo dussumieri Gray, 1831 should be suppressed.

 The arguments of Frazier are compelling, logical, well-reasoned, and
will result in the least amount of confusion – especially among
scholars unfamiliar with the ancient, arcane, difficult to interpret
and sometimes difficult to access literature. The most obvious
advantage of adopting Frazier’s application is the stabilisation of a
name familiar and in wide use for over 100 years. In the last 25 years,
great confusion has prevailed, partly caused by those that support a
name other than gigantea for the Aldabra tortoise. Indeed, those that have rejected gigantea have, with equal misplaced certainty, suggested significantly different flawed proposals.

 The need to stabilise the name for the Aldabra tortoise is becoming
more and more serious due to the potential risk of extinction. The only
extant population is on a remote and isolated island and is vulnerable.
Hypothesised sea level changes represent a real threat to a low lying
island such as Aldabra. Maintenance of the neotype with its documented
collection locality on Aldabra is the most convenient and least
ambiguous means by which to preserve the best name for Aldabra
tortoises. The usage of Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812 for the Aldabra tortoise is obvious, appropriate and least disruptive, and should be conserved.

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