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Chelonoidis Phantasticus


Chelonoidis phantasticus is a giant tortoise species believed to be extinct for more than a century. Now, a surviving member has been identified.


GS III- Environment And Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Chelonoidis phantasticus:
  2. Habitat and Distribution 
  3. IUCN Status 

About Chelonoidis phantasticus:

  • A giant tortoise, found alive in 2019, has been confirmed to belong a Galápagos species long believed extinct.
  • Named Fernanda after her Fernandina Island home, the tortoise is the first of her species, Chelonoidis phantasticus, to be identified in more than a century.
  • Researchers has reported the confirmation in a paper in Nature Comunications Biology.
  • Chelonoidis phantasticus means “fantastic giant tortoise”.
  • Commonly called the Fernandina Island Galápagos giant tortoise, the species was so far known only from a single individual, collected in 1906.

Habitat and Distribution 

  • Chelonoidis phantasticus is a saddle backed tortoise adapted for browsing on higher vegetation such as Opuntia trees. 
  • Fernandina habitat is largely dry xeric brushland at lower elevations, but much of that habitat has been destroyed by extensive recent lava flows.
  • The small area of remaining higher-quality habitat is mesic and at higher elevations.

IUCN Status 

  • Chelonoidis phantasticus is listed as Critically Endangered 

-Source: Indian Express


December 2023