Bencomia sphaerocarpa 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Rosales Rosaceae

Scientific Name: Bencomia sphaerocarpa Svent.
Common Name(s):
Spanish Bencomia herreña

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2011-03-27
Assessor(s): Martín Osorio, V.E., Wildpret de la Torre, W. & Hernández Bolaños, B.
Reviewer(s): Bilz, M. & Peraza Zurita, M.D.
Bencomia sphaerocarpa is classed as Critically Endangered because its total population size is only 24 individuals. Natural hazards and predation lead to a continuing decline in its distribution range and number of individuals.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Bencomia sphaerocarpa is endemic to the island of El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain (Martín Osorio et al. 2004), where it can be found on the northern side of the island, from 400 to 1,200 m asl, in three locations: Tinco, Hoya de Fileba and Tábano. Only one of them shows an acceptable degree of conservation. The presence of the species in the island of La Palma has been reported in the past, but it has not been recently confirmed.
The area of occupancy of the species has been calculated to be between 0.75 and 3 km2. Decreasing trends have been reported for the distribution of the species (Gobierno de Canarias 2004).

Countries occurrence:
Spain (Canary Is.)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:0.75-3
Number of Locations:3
Lower elevation limit (metres):400
Upper elevation limit (metres):1200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population size has been reported to be 24 individuals: six individuals in Tinco and surroundings, three at Hoya de Fileba and 15 in Tábano (Martín Osorio et al. 2004). Decreasing trends have been reported for the population size (Gobierno de Canarias 2004).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:24
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

This species grows isolated and scattered on slopes and distributed in small groups of several medium size individuals in more sheltered areas.

It grows preferably in very humid valley floors and basaltic shady crags, on deep well developed substrates, within the potential distribution of evergreen laurel-leaved tree forest (monteverde), always under the influence of low clouds. Frequent accompanying species are Erica arborea, Teline stenopetala, Phyllis nobla, Rumex maderensis, Sonchus hierrensis, Greenovia aurea, Pericallis murrayi, Aichrysom punctatum and Carduus baeocephalus. It is linked to the associations Visneo mocanerae-Arbutetum canariensis and Pericalli murrayi-Myricetum fayae.

The range of dispersion of the seeds of this species has been reported to be low. The birds that eat the fruits acting as vectors for the dispersion have a restricted distribution. When not eaten by birds, ripe fruits fall down close to the plant.



Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats affecting the species are fires, storms and landslides, and drought events (Martín Osorio et al. 2004). The subpopulation of Tábano is also affected by small herbivorous predators and possible works on surrounding roads. The subpopulation of Fileba is as well threatened by grazing.


Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Bencomia sphaerocarpa is listed on Annex II of the Habitats Directive and under Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention). It is listed Critically Endangered CR D in the Spanish Red List (Moreno 2008), and as species "En peligro de extinción" in the national and regional catalogues of threatened species.

The species occurs within the protected area Parque Rural de Frontera (SCI). Seeds from every subpopulation have been collected and stored in the germplasm bank Banco de Germoplasma del Jardín Botánico Viera y Clavijo. A monitoring programme has been developed for the subpopulation in Fileba and 20 individuals have been re-introduced in Tábano. Both subpopulations are considered the most threatened and have been fenced (Martín Osorio et al. 2004).

In order to ensure the conservation of the species grazing exclusion zones must be designated, the activities of reintroduction, reinforcement or transfer of individuals must be kept in place, disease control programmes have to be implemented and population monitoring and research in reproductive dynamics have to be developed.

Citation: Martín Osorio, V.E., Wildpret de la Torre, W. & Hernández Bolaños, B. 2011. Bencomia sphaerocarpa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T162117A5542293. . Downloaded on 26 May 2018.
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