Chelonoidis phantastica   (Van Denburgh)

Fernandina Giant Tortoise
(Chelonoidis phantastica)

syn. Chelonoidis nigra phantastica (Van Denburgh), Testudo phantasticus (Van Denburgh)


Ecuador: Isla Fernandina / Galápagos Islands

local name: -

size: ca. 86 cm (carapace length)

extinction date: nach 1906 (?)

This species (or, depending on author, subspecies) from the island of Fernandina is known only from a single specimen (see photograph), a male that was found in the year 1906.

This specimen represents the only known record of a tortoise from that island, from which otherwise not even bones or other remains are known.

The Fernandina Giant Tortoise is most probably no valid species but may rather be an released specimen from one of the other islands.


Fernandina Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis phantastica)

Photo from: 'John Van Denburgh: The gigantic land tortoises of the Galapagos Archipelago. San Francisco, Britton & Rey, 1914'


- Dennis M. Hansen; C. Josh Donlan; Christine J. Griffiths; Karl J. Campbell: Ecological history and latent conservation potential: large and giant tortoises as a model for taxon substitutions. Ecography Vol. 33(2) 272–284. 2010
- Anders G. J. Rhodin; Peter Paul van Dijk; John B. Iverson; H. Bradley Shaffer: Turtles of the World, 2010 Update: Annotated Checklist of Taxonomy, Synonomy, Distribution, and Conservation Status. Chelonian Research Monographs 5. 2010