Aldabrachelys sumeirei Sauzier, 1892:396

Marion's tortoise



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Cylindraspis sumeirei Sauzier, 1892: 396; Cylindraspis sumeri Sauzier, 1892:396 [orthographic error]; Geochelone sumeirei Sauzier, 1892:396


Now considered an invalid taxon, as it is synonymous with the Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea gigantea =Dipsochelys dussumieri) (Fitzsimmons & Hart, 2007; Uetz et al., 2022). Though formerly treated as valid for decades after its original description (Auffenberg, 1974:143; Bour, 1985:55).


Conservation Status

Invalid. A synonym of Aldabrachelys gigantea gigantea according to the Reptile Database (Uetz et al., 2022).

Last record: 1918 (Auffenberg, 1974:144)


The species description was based upon a single individual (Sauzier, 1892), one of five animals captured from the Seychelles in either 1766 (Auffenberg, 1974:144) or 1769 (Bour, 1985:55) by a ship sponsored by, or under the command of, Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne and taken back to Mauritius as a gift for the Port Louis Garrison (Auffenberg, 1974:144; Bour, 1985:55). It appears to have survived for 152 years, before dying from an accidental fall in 1918.



Seychelles (Auffenberg, 1974:144; contra Sauzier, 1892)


Sauzier (1892) gave the type locality as Mauritius, but this is in error (Auffenberg, 1974:143). A label attached to the holotype clearly gives the origin of the species as the granitic Seychelles (Auffenberg, 1974:144).


Biology & Ecology




Holotype: BMNH 1929.12.27.1 [ex 1947.3.4.1] (Bour, 1985:55)

Type locality: "Seychelles Islands?" (Auffenberg, 1974:144)






Original scientific description:

Sauzier, Theodore. (1892). Tortue de terre gigantesque a l'ile Maurice. Nature (Paris, France) 20(1016): 395-398.

Other references:

Auffenberg, Walter. (1974). Checklist of fossil and land tortoises (Testudinidae). Bull. Florida St. Mus. Biol. Sci. 18: 121-251. [p. 143-144]

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].

Fitzsimmons, Nancy N. and Hart, Kristen M. (2007). Genetic Studies of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Review of the Past 70 Years, pp. 15-46. In: Shaffer, H. B., Fitzsimmons, N. N., Georges, A. and Rhodin, A. G. J. (eds.). Defining Turtle Diversity: Proceedings of a Workshop on Genetics, Ethics, and Taxonomy of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 4, 200 pp.

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.

Uetz, P., Freed, P, Aguilar, R. & Hošek, J. (eds.). (2022). The Reptile Database,, accessed 8 May 2022.


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