Chelonoidis duncanensis (Pritchard, 1996)

Pinzón giant tortoise, Duncan Island giant tortoise



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonyms: Chelonoidis nigra ssp. duncanensis (Pritchard, 1996); Geochelone elephantopus ssp. ephippium (Günther, 1875); Geochelone nigra ssp. duncanensis Pritchard, 1996; Geochelone nigra ssp. ephippium (Günther, 1875); Testudo elephantopus ssp. ephippium (Günther, 1875); Testudo ephippium Günther, 1875


Conservation Status

Formerly extinct in the wild



Pinzón (=Duncan Island), Galápagos Islands, Ecuador


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Pritchard, P. C. H. (1996). The Galápagos Tortoises: Nomenclatural and Survival Status. Chelonian Research Monographs 1: 1-85.


Other references:

Beheregaray, L.B., Ciofi, C., Caccone, A., Gibbs, J.P. and Powell, J.R. 2003. Genetic divergence, phylogeography and conservation units of giant tortoises from Santa Cruz and Pinzón, Galápagos Islands. Conservation Genetics 4: 31–46.

Bour, R. 1980. Essai sur la taxinomie des Testudinidae actuels (Reptilia, Chelonii). Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris 4(2A): 541–546.

Caccone, A., Gentile, G., Gibbs, J.P., Fritts, T.H., Snell, H.L., Betts, J. and Powell, J.R. 2002. Phylogeography and history of giant Galápagos tortoises. Evolution 56(10): 2052–2066.

Caccone, A., Gibbs, J.P., Ketmaier, V., Suatoni, E. and Powell, J.R. 1999. Origin and evolutionary relationships of giant Galápagos tortoises. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 96: 13223-13228.

Cayot, Linda J. (2021). Pinzón Island: A century of zero tortoise hatchlings to a growing population, pp. 451-464. In: In: Gibbs, James P., Cayot, Linda J. and Aguilera, Washington Tapia (eds.). Galapagos Giant Tortoises: A volume in Biodiversity of World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes. Academic Press. [Abstract]

Caporaso, F. 1991. The Galapagos tortoise conservation program: the plight and future for the Pinzón Island tortoise. In: K.R. Beaman, F. Caporaso, S. McKeown and M.D. Graff (eds), Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Turtles and Tortoises: Conservation and Captive Husbandry, 1990, pp. 113–126. Circle Printing Co., Los Angeles.

Cayot, L.J., Gibbs, J.P., Tapia, W. & Caccone, A. 2017. Chelonoidis duncanensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T9021A3149054. Downloaded on 12 April 2018.

Cayot, L.J., Snell, H.L., Llerena, W. and Snell, H.M. 1994. Conservation biology of Galapagos reptiles: twenty-five years of successful research and management. In: J.B. Murphy, K. Adler and J.T. Collins (eds), Captive Management and Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles, pp. 297–305. SSAR Contri. Herpetol. No. 11.

Chiari, Y., Hyseni, C., Fritts, T.H., Glaberman, S., Marquez, C., Gibbs, J.P., Claude, J. and Caccone, A. 2009. Morphometrics parallel genetics in a newly discovered and endangered taxon of Galápagos tortoise. PLoS One 4(7): e6272.

Conrad, Cyler et al. (2022). Galápagos tortoise stable isotope ecology and the 1850s Floreana Island Chelonoidis niger niger extinction. Scientific Reports 12: 22187.

Ernst, C.H. and Barbour, R.W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C.

Fritts, T.H. 1983. Morphometrics of Galapagos tortoises: evolutionary implications. In: R.I. Bowman and A.E. Leviton (eds), Patterns of Evolution in Galapagos Organisms, pp. 107–122. AAAS, San Francisco.

Fritz, U. and Havas, P. 2007. Checklist of Chelonians of the World. Vertebrate Zoology 57(2): 149-368.

Gaughran, Stephen J. et al. (2023). Whole-genome sequencing confirms multiple species of Galapagos giant tortoises. bioRxiv preprint.

Jensen, Evelyn L. et al. (2018). Temporal mitogenomics of the Galapagos giant tortoise from Pinzón reveals potential biases in population genetic inference. Journal of Heredity. [Abstract]

Jensen, Evelyn L., Tapia, W., Caccone, A. and Russello, M.A. 2015. Genetics of a head-start program to guide conservation of an endangered Galápagos tortoise (Chelonoidis ephippium). Conservation Genetics 16(4): 823–832.

MacFarland, C.G., Villa, J. and Toro, B. 1974. The Galapagos giant tortoise (Geochelone elephantopus). Part I: Status of the surviving populations. Biological Conservation 6: 118–133.

Poulakakis, N., Glaberman, S., Russello, M., Beheregaray, L.B., Ciofi, C., Powell, J.R. and Caccone, A. 2008. Historical DNA analysis reveals living descendants of an extinct species of Galápagos tortoise. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 15464–15469.

Poulakakis, N., Russello, M., Geist, D. and Caccone, A. 2012. Unravelling the peculiarities of island life: vicariance, dispersal, and the diversification of the extinct and extant giant Galápagos tortoises. Molecular Ecology 21: 160–173.

Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H. and Reynolds, R.P. 1983. Statusrapport för Galapagos jättesköldpaddor, Geochelone elephantopus, med anmärkningar om G. e. ephippium på Duncan. Snoken – National Swedish Herpetological Association 13(3): 67–72.

Rhodin, A.G.J., van Dijk, P.P. and Parham, J.P. 2008. Turtles of the world: annotated checklist of taxonomy and synonymy. Chelonian Research Monographs 5(1): 000.1-38.

Russello, M.A., Beheregaray, L.B., Gibbs, J.P., Fritts, T., Havill, N., Powell, J.R. and Caccone, A. 2007. Lonesome George is not alone among Galápagos tortoises. Current Biology 17(9): R317–R318.

Russello, M.A., Glaberman, S., Gibbs, J.P., Marquez, C., Powell, J.R. and Caccone, A. 2005. A cryptic taxon of Galápagos tortoise in conservation peril. Biological Letters 1: 287–290.

Tapia, W., Málaga, J. and Gibbs, J.P. 2015. Conservation: Giant tortoises hatch on Galapagos island. Nature 517(7534): 271.

TEWG [Turtle Extinctions Working Group: Rhodin, A.G.J., Thomson, S., Georgalis, G., Karl, H.-V., Danilov, I.G., Takahashi, A., de la Fuente, M.S., Bourque, J.R., Delfino, M., Bour, R., Iverson, J.B., Shaffer, H.B. and van Dijk, P.P.]. 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 5(8): 000e.1–66.

TTWG [Turtle Taxonomy Working Group: Bickham, J.W., Iverson, J.B., Parham, J.F., Philippen, H.D., Rhodin, A.G.J., Shaffer, H.B., Spinks, P.Q. and van Dijk, P.P.]. 2007. An annotated list of modern turtle terminal taxa with comments on areas of taxonomic instability and recent change. In: H.B. Shaffer, N.N. FitzSimmons, A. Georges, and A.G.J. Rhodin (eds), Defining Turtle Diversity: Proceedings of a Workshop on Genetics, Ethics, and Taxonomy of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises. Chelonian Research Monographs 4: 173-199.

TTWG [Turtle Taxonomy Working Group: Rhodin, A.G.J., Parham, J.F., van Dijk, P.P. and Iverson, J.B.]. 2009. Turtles of the world: annotated checklist of taxonomy and synonymy, 2009 update, with conservation status summary. Chelonian Research Monographs 5(2): 000.39–84.

TTWG [Turtle Taxonomy Working Group: van Dijk, P.P., Iverson, J.B., Rhodin, A.G.J., Shaffer, H.B. and Bour, R.]. 2014. Turtles of the world, 7th edition: annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution with maps, and conservation status. Chelonian Research Monographs 5(7): 000.329-479, doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v7.2014.


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