Giant tortoise


Giant tortoise

Taxobox
name = Giant Tortoise


image_width = 200px
image_caption = Galápagos Giant Tortoise
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Sauropsida
ordo = Testudines
subordo = Cryptodira
familia = Testudinidae

Giant tortoises are characteristic reptiles of certain tropical islands. They occur (some species are now extinct) in such places as Madagascar, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Réunion, the Galápagos Islands, Sulawesi, Timor, Flores and Java, often reaching enormous size — they can weigh as much as 300 kg (660 lbs) and can grow to be 1.3 m (4 ft) long. However, giant tortoises also once lived on the mainland of Asia and Australia, as follows from fossil finds in the Shivalik Hills in India. Today, the world's largest population inhabits Aldabra Atoll in Seychelles, where there are approximately 100,000 individuals.

These animals belong to the most ancient group of reptiles, appearing about 250 million years ago. In the Upper Cretaceous, 70 or 80 million years ago some already became gigantic and about 1 million years ago these reptiles reached the Galápagos Islands. Until 100,000 years ago most of the gigantic species began to disappear for unknown causes and only 250 years ago there were at least 20 species and subspecies in islands of the Indian Ocean and 14 or 15 species in the Galapagos Islands. From those, only one of the species of the Indian Ocean survives in the wild, the Aldabra Giant Tortoise (two more are claimed to exist in captive or re-released populations, but some genetic studies have cast doubt on the validity of these as separate species) and 11 in Galápagos.

They are one of the world's longest-living animals, with an average lifespan of 100 years or more. Harriet the Turtle, (Charles Darwin's turtle) as reported by the Australia Zoo was 175 years old.

pecies and subspecies

* "Cylindraspis indica" - Réunion Giant Tortoise (extinct)
* "Cylindraspis inepta" - Saddle-backed Mauritius Giant Tortoise (extinct)
* "Cylindraspis peltastes" - Domed Rodrigues Giant Tortoise (extinct)
* "Cylindraspis triserrata" - Domed Mauritius Giant Tortoise (extinct)
* "Cylindraspis vosmaeri" - Saddle-backed Rodrigues Giant Tortoise (extinct)
* "Dipsochelys hololissa" - Seychelles giant tortoise (extinct in the wild)
* "Dipsochelys arnoldi" - Arnold's Giant Tortoise (extinct in the wild)
* "Geochelone gigantea/Dipspchelys dussumieri" - Aldabra Giant Tortoise
* "Geochelone nigra" - Galapagos Giant Tortoise
** "Geochelone nigra abingdoni" - Abingdon Island Tortoise (Extinct in the wild)
** "Geochelone nigra becki" - Volcan Wolf Tortoise
** "Geochelone nigra chathamensis" - Chatham Island Tortoise
** "Geochelone nigra darwini" - James Island Tortoise
** "Geochelone nigra ephippium" - Duncan Island Tortoise (extinct in the wild)
** "Geochelone nigra galapagoensis" - Charles Island Tortoise (extinct)
** "Geochelone nigra guntheri" - Sierra Negra Tortoise
** "Geochelone nigra hoodensis" - Hood Island Tortoise
** "Geochelone nigra microphyes" - Volcan Darwin Tortoise
** "Geochelone nigra porteri" - Indefatigable Island Tortoise
** "Geochelone nigra vandenburghi" - Volcan Alcedo Tortoise
** "Geochelone nigra vaicina" - Iguana Cove Tortoise
* "Manouria emys" - Asian Forest Tortoise
* "Meiolania platyceps" (extinct)

ee also

* Island gigantism

References

* IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. . Downloaded on 20 May 2006.

External links

* [http://www.smh.com.au/ftimages/2005/06/16/1118869034100.html A giant Aldabra tortoise]
* [http://www.australiazoo.com.au/our-animals/amazing-animals/reptiles/?reptile=tortoises_and_turtles&animal=giant_galapagos_land_tortoise]
* [http://members.aol.com/jstgerlach/tortoise.htm Seychelles giant tortoises]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • giant tortoise — noun very large tortoises of the Galapagos and Seychelles islands • Hypernyms: ↑tortoise • Member Holonyms: ↑Testudo, ↑genus Testudo, ↑Geochelone, ↑genus Geochelone * * * noun, pl ⋯ toises [count] : a large plant eating tortoise …   Useful english dictionary

  • giant tortoise — noun Date: circa 1909 any of various large long lived herbivorous land tortoises (genus Geochelone) formerly common on the islands of the western Indian Ocean and on the Galápagos Islands …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • giant tortoise — any of several large tortoises of the genus Geochelone, of the Galápagos Islands and islands near Madagascar: some are endangered. [1910 15] * * * …   Universalium

  • giant tortoise — noun a) Any member or species of the genus Geochelone land tortoises reaching 1.3 meters in length and with average life spans exceeding 100 years. b) Any of several species of reptile of the extinct genuses (Cylindraspis, Dipsochelys, and… …   Wiktionary

  • giant tortoise — gi′ant tor′toise n. ram any of several large tortoises of the genus Geochelone, of the Galápagos Islands and islands near Madagascar …   From formal English to slang

  • Aldabra giant tortoise — Conservation status …   Wikipedia

  • Aldabra Giant Tortoise — Taxobox name = Aldabra Giant Tortoise status = VU status system = iucn2.3 image width = 200px regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Sauropsida ordo = Testudines subordo = Cryptodira familia = Testudinidae genus = Geochelone species = G.… …   Wikipedia

  • Réunion giant tortoise — Live C. indica. Conservation status …   Wikipedia

  • Saddle-backed Mauritius giant tortoise — Conservation status Extinct (IUCN 2.3) Scientific classification …   Wikipedia

  • Domed Rodrigues giant tortoise — Illustration from c. 1770 by Jossigny Conservation status …   Wikipedia


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