Tag Archives: Aldabra

Scincidae gen. & sp. ‘Aldabra’

Aldabra Skink (Scincidae gen. & sp.)

This taxon was originally named as a form of the genus Mabuya, a genus that is actually restricted to the Caribbean; for biogeographical reasons it may in fact rather have been a member of the genus Tachylepis.

The Aldabran taxon might have been a very close relative of the Seychelles Skink (Tachylepis seychellensis (Duméril & Bibron)) (see photo below), the most widespread skink species on the Seychelles today.

This species must have reached a length of about 20 cm (including the tail).

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The species very likely died out around the Pleistocene/Holocene broder.

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Seychelles Skink (Trachylepis seychellensis)

Photo: Geir Drange
https://www.inaturalist.org/people/geddy11
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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References:

[1] E. N. Arnold: Fossil reptiles from Aldabra atoll, Indian Ocean. bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Zoology 29(2): 83-116. 1976

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edited: 02.03.2024

Batocnema coquereli ssp. aldabrensis Aurivillius

Aldabra Sphinx Moth (Batocnema coquereli ssp. aldabrensis)

Coquerel’s Sphinx Moth is divided into five subspecies of which two are confined to Madagascar while the other three occur on the island groups to the north of Madagascar.

The Aldabra atoll was inhabited by an endemic form, the Aldabra Sphinx Moth, which was described in 1909 and which is said to have been quite similar to the nominate form (see photo).

This form is now considered extinct, the reasons appear not to be known.

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nominate race

Photo: alcedo77
https://www.inaturalist.org/people/alcedo77
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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References:

[1] Pat Matyot: The hawkmoths (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) of Seychelles: identification, historical background, distribution, food plants and ecological considerations. Phelsuma 13. 55-80. 2005
[2] Justin Gerlach: Red Listing reveals the true state of biodiversity: a comprehensive assessment of Seychelles biodiversity. Phelsuma 20: 9-22. 2012

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edited: 04.01.2023

Oplurus sp. ‘Aldabra’

Aldabra Iguana (Oplurus sp.)

Today, the species of this genus occur only on Madagascar and on Grande Comore, Comoro Islands; yet, they appear to have been much more widespread in former times.

This taxon is known from subfossil bones that were recovered from deposits on Grande Terre, the largest island of the Aldabra Atoll.

In live this taxon must have been larger than any of its living congeners, reaching lengths of about 35 cm (including the tail).

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The photo below shows a congeneric species from Madagascar, the Collared Iguana (Oplurus cuvieri (Gray)).

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Collared Iguana (Oplurus cuvieri)

Photo: Daniel Branch
https://www.inaturalist.org/people/danielbranch94
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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References:

[1] E. N. Arnold: Fossil reptiles from Aldabra atoll, Indian Ocean. bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Zoology 29(2): 83-116. 1976

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edited: 02.03.2024

Geckolepis sp. ‘Aldabra’

Aldabra Fish-scale Gecko (Geckolepis sp.)

The fish-scale geckos inhabit Madagascar and the Comoro Islands; the former occurrence of the genus on the Aldabra Atoll is proven by the existence of fossil remains that were recovered from deposits on Grande Terre, the largest island of the atoll.

The Aldabran form was apparently larger than any of its living congeners, reaching lengths of about 20 cm (including the tail).

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The species seems to have disappeared sometimes during the Pleistocene/Holocene border.

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References:

[1] E. N. Arnold: Fossil reptiles from Aldabra atoll, Indian Ocean. bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Zoology 29(2): 83-116. 1976

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edited: 02.03.2024

Phelsuma sp. ‘Aldabra’

Lost Aldabra Day Gecko (Phelsuma sp.)

The Aldabra Atoll still harbors at least one endemic form of this genus, the Aldabra Day Gecko (Phelsuma abbotti ssp. abbotti Stejneger).

Although the bones could not be precisely matched with any of the many West Indian Ocean and Ethiopian geckoes compared with them, they do have a general resemblance to the smaller species of Phelsuma. However, none of the members of this genus examined have the mental foramina placed so close to the upper margin of the dentary. This feature and the very restricted taper of the cylindrical body of the bone distinguish the fossils from P. abbotti, which is now present on Aldabra.” [1]

The species might have reached a length of about 10 cm (including the tail).

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This species disappeared around the Pleistocene/Holocene border.

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References:

[1] E. N. Arnold: Fossil reptiles from Aldabra atoll, Indian Ocean. bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Zoology 29(2): 83-116. 1976

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edited: 02.03.2024

Paroedura sp. ‘Aldabra’

Aldabra Ground Gecko (Paroedura sp.)

The former existence of a member of this genus, otherwise known from Madagascar and the Comoro Islands, on the Aldabra Atoll is proven by numerous fossil bones that were found on Grande Terre, the largest of the atoll’s islands.

The species might have grown to a size of about 12 cm (including the tail)

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The Aldabra Ground Gecko obviously disappeared around the Pleistovene/Holocene border. 

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References:

[1] E. N. Arnold: Fossil reptiles from Aldabra atoll, Indian Ocean. bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Zoology 29(2): 83-116. 1976

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edited: 02.03.2024

“Scelotes” sp. ‘Aldabra’

Aldabra Burrowing Skink (“Scelotes” sp.)

This taxon is known from fossil remains that were recovered from deposits on Grande Terre, the largest of the island that form the Aldabra Atoll in the southern Seychelles.

However, given the fact that this genus currently occurs only in southern Africa, it is rather likely that the remains from Aldabra may have been misidentified.

The species might have reached a size of about 15 to 18 cm (including the tail).

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References:

[1] E. N. Arnold: Fossil reptiles from Aldabra atoll, Indian Ocean. bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Zoology 29(2): 83-116. 1976

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edited: 02.03.2024