Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Testudinoidea
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Aldabrachelys
Loveridge & E. Williams, 1957[1]
  • Dipsochelys Bour, 1982

Aldabrachelys[1] is genus of giant tortoises, including the Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea) native to the Seychelles, as well as two extinct species, Aldabrachelys abrupta and Aldabrachelys grandidieri known from Madagascar.


This name is problematic in that the type specimen actually represents Chelonoidis denticulata;[2] however, this was discussed and petitioned before the ICZN[3] and accepted: the name Aldabrachelys is therefore the correct name for this genus.


Within Testudinidae, Aldabrachelys is most closely related to Astrochelys and Pyxis, which are also native to Madagascar, suggesting that they share a common origin on the island. Within the genus, Aldabrachelys abrupta is more closely related to A. gigantea than it is to A. grandidieri, but A. abrupta and A. gigantea are relatively genetically divergent, suggesting that they are not synonymous as had sometimes been previously proposed, and that they diverged from each other several million years ago. The proposed subspecies of A. gigantea show relatively little genetic differentiation from each other.[4]


  1. ^ a b Loveridge A, Williams EE (1957). "Revision of the African tortoises and turtles of the suborder Cryptodira". Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 115: 163–557.
  2. ^ Bour R (2006). "Identity of Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812 and rediscovery of the type specimen". Emys 13 (4): 12–23.
  3. ^ Frazer J (2009). "Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812 (currently Geochelone (Aldabrachelys) gigantea; Reptilia, Testudines): proposed conservation of usage of the specific name by maintenance of a designated neotype, and suppression of Testudo dussumieri Gray, 1831 (currently Dipsochelys dussumieri)". Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 66 (1):Case:3463[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Kehlmaier, Christian; Graciá, Eva; Ali, Jason R.; Campbell, Patrick D.; Chapman, Sandra D.; Deepak, V.; Ihlow, Flora; Jalil, Nour-Eddine; Pierre-Huyet, Laure; Samonds, Karen E.; Vences, Miguel; Fritz, Uwe (2023-01-13). "Ancient DNA elucidates the lost world of western Indian Ocean giant tortoises and reveals a new extinct species from Madagascar". Science Advances. 9 (2): eabq2574. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abq2574. ISSN 2375-2548. PMC 9833658. PMID 36630487.