Orthetrum rubens 

Scope: Global, Pan-Africa & Southern Africa
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Insecta Odonata Libellulidae

Scientific Name: Orthetrum rubens Barnard, 1937
Common Name(s):
English Elusive Skimmer

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2011-08-18
Assessor(s): Samways, M.J. & Simaika, J.
Reviewer(s): Clausnitzer, V. & Suhling, F.
The Elusive Skimmer is endemic to the Western Cape of South Africa, with the holotype being described from Table Mountain, Cape Town. The species appears to have been rare, and was last recorded alive in 1977 (Pinhey 1979). Despite very intensive searches every year from 1987 to 2010 in all its former, known localities, it has not been rediscovered. Nor has it been rediscovered at other apparently suitable localities in the Western Cape. Its type locality has been explored 50 times in the last 20 years, and the locality where it was last seen, Du Toits Kloof, has also been revisited, on many occasions, without any success. It may of course exist in as yet unexplored localities, but if this is so, the species would still exceedingly rare, and now absent from its known former localities. The species is now assessed as Critically Endangered, with a high risk of being extinct.
Date last seen: 1977
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Formerly, this species was recorded from various localities in the Western Cape, including Table Mountain. Clearly it was never an abundant species (Pinhey 1979, 1984b). A great deal of searching time was devoted to this species between 1993 and 2011 but it was never rediscovered since 1977, suggesting that it may be under severe threat or even extinct.
Countries occurrence:
Possibly extinct:
South Africa (Western Cape)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is no information available at all on current population size or trends. It has not been seen since 1977.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species occurs in high montane streams and kloofs. However, specific habitat preferences are not known. It may be a montane specialist, in which case it may not be particularly threatened; or it may be a lower elevation species, in which case it may be seriously threatened. More data are needed.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is not clear why this species has not been rediscovered as its upland habitat is largely found in protected areas. However, it may breed at lower elevations where it is affected by threats as plantation forestry, alien invasive trees, alien trout and, in Du Toit’s Kloof, from fish farming.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Searches must continue, especially for the larval habitat. Continued removal of alien trees must also continue. Trout should no longer be released and those present should be removed. Research into population numbers and range, biology and ecology, habitat status, threats, conservation measures, and trends/monitoring of this species would also be valuable.

Citation: Samways, M.J. & Simaika, J. 2011. Orthetrum rubens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T15543A4780186. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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