Aldabrachelys grandidieri Vaillant, 1885:876

Madagascan giant tortoise, Grandidier's giant tortoise



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Emys gigantea Grandidier, 1868:1167; Testudo grandidieri Vaillant, 1885:876; Testudo madagascariensis Rothschild, 1915; Geochelone grandidieri Loveridge & Williams, 1957; Dipsochelys grandidieri Bour, 1980; Dipsochelys grandidieri Bour, 1982


Conservation Status


Last record: c. 884 AD


A report of a tortoise from Madagascar during the 1940's could conceivably refer to this species (Decary, 1950).





Biology & Ecology







Above: A specimen housed in the British Museum of Natural History, formerly on display. ©1984 Simon Tonge. Reproduced with permission.



Original scientific description:

Vaillant, M. L. (1885). Remarques complémentaires sur les tortues gigantesques de Madagascar. Comptes Rendus Hebd. Séanc. Adad. Sc. Paris 100: 874-877.


Other references:

Andriantsaralaza, S., Pedrono, M., Tassin, J., Roger, E., Rakouth, B. and Danthu, P. (2013). The role of extinct giant tortoises in the germination of extant baobab Adansonia rubrostipa seeds in Madagascar. African Journal of Ecology. [Abstract]

Arnold, E. N. 1979. Indian Ocean giant tortoises: their systematics and island adaptations. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 286: 127145.

Auffenberg, W. (1974). Checklist of fossil tortoises (Testudinidae). Bull. Florida State Mus. 18: 121251.

Boulenger, George Albert. (1893). On Remains of an Extinct Gigantic Tortoise from Madagascar (Testudo grandidieri, Vaillant). Journal of Zoology 13(7): 305-311. [Abstract]

Bour, Roger. (1984). Taxonomy, history and geography of Seychelles land tortoises and fresh-water turtles. In: Stoddart, D. R. (ed.), Biogeography and ecology of the Seychelles Islands. Dr W. Junk, pp. 281-307.

Bour, Roger. (1985 "1984"). Les tortues terrestres géantes des îles de l’océan Indien occidental: données géographiques, taxinomiques et phylogénétiques, pp. 17-76. In: F. de Broin and E. Jiménez-Fuentes (Eds.) Comunicaciones del I Simposium Internacional sobre Quelonios Fósiles, París, Octubre, 1983. Studia Geologica Salmanticensia, Volumen Especial 1 (Studia Palaeocheloniologica I) [1984].

Burleigh, R. and Arnold, E. N. (1986). Age and Dietary Differences of Recently Extinct Indian Ocean Tortoises (Geochelone s. lat.) Revealed by Carbon Isotope Analysis. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 227(1246): 137-144. [Abstract]

Decary, Raymond. (1950). La faune malgache, son rôle dans les croyances et les usages indigènes. Paris: Payot. [pp. 205-206]

Gerlach, Justin and Canning, K. L. (1998). Taxonomy of Indian Ocean tortoises (Dipsochelys). Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3: 3-19.

Joseph, Grant S. and Seymour, Colleen L. (2022). Are Madagascar's obligate grazing-lawns ancient and evolved with endemic herbivores, or recently selected by introduced cattle? Biology Letters 18: 20220212.

Kehlmaier, C., Graciá, E., Ali, J.R., Campbell, P.D., Chapman, S.D., Deepak, V., Ihlow, F., Jalil, N.-E., Pierre-Huyet, L., Samonds, K.E., Vences, M., Fritz, U. (2023). Ancient DNA elucidates the lost world of western Indian Ocean giant tortoises and reveals a new species from Madagascar. Science Advances 9(2): eabq2574.

Loveridge, A. and Williams, E. E. (1957). Revision of the African tortoises and turtles of the suborder Cryptodira. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 115(6): 161-557, 18 pls.

Pedrono, M. (2008). The tortoises and turtles of Madagascar. Natural History Publications (Borneo).

Rothschild, W. (1915). On the gigantic land tortoises of the Seychelles and Aldabra-Madagascar group with some notes on certain forms of the Mascarene group. Novitates Zoologicae 22: 418-442.

Turtle Extinctions Working Group et al. (2015). Turtles and Tortoises of the World During the Rise and Global Spread of Humanity: First Checklist and Review of Extinct Pleistocene and Holocene Chelonians. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5: 1-66.

Uetz, P. et. al., The Reptile Database, , accessed December 11, 2010.


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