On certain Tortoises in the collections of the Leyden Museum
Günther’s splendid monograph on the gigantic landtortoises, which appeared a few years ago, induced me to compare the specimens belonging to this group, which form part of the Leyden collections. Among these is the original specimen of Testudo indica vosmaeri Schoepff as it was first described and figured by this author in 1792 in his Historia Testudinorum (page 103, Pl. 22). Fitzinger, Duméril & Bibron and others have since introduced this species into science under the name of Testudo vosmaeri, without however being able to decide anything with certainty as to the locality where the species was to be sought for. Other authors such as Schlegel and Gray united all the gigantic landtortoises into one species to which the name of Testudo indica was applied: for them T. vosmaeri was a mere synonym. Günther was the first to clear up the confusion with the aid of extensive material collected both in the Indian ocean and on the Galapagos islands. He succeeded in definitely settling that T. vosmaeri was a distinct species, which in former centuries had inhabited the island of Rodriguez, where however it had become exterminated in the beginning of this century. The species never occured anywhere else but in this isolated spot, and the only remnants of it which, according to Günther, are preserved for posterity are two carapaces in the Paris Museum (from which Duméril & Bibron took their description after having identified them with Schoepff’s figure) and five partially mutilated carapaces, together with numerous parts of the endoskeleton of a great number of individuals, now forming part of the collections in the British Museum, which have been collected by the naturalist of the Expedition for the observation of the Transit of Venus, stationed in 1876 on Rodriguez.
|Journal||Notes from the Leyden Museum|
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Hubrecht, A.A.W. (1881). On certain Tortoises in the collections of the Leyden Museum. Notes from the Leyden Museum, 3(1), 41–50.