Peripatopsis clavigera


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Peripatopsis clavigera
Species Authority: Purcell, 1899
Common Name(s):
English Knysna Velvet Worm

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2c+4c; B1ab(ii,iii,iv)+2ab(ii,iii,iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2003
Date Assessed: 2003-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Hamer, M.
Reviewer(s): Samways, M. & Hamer, M. (Southern African Invertebrate Red List Authority)
P. clavigera was listed as EX in 1996. This was an error: this species is definitely not extinct.

This species has been recorded from several forested areas within its range, from a total of six localities (Hamer et al. 1997). The area in which P. clavigera occurs has undergone an enormous amount of development, particularly over the past 10–20 years. This development has been mainly in the form of the construction of upmarket housing complexes, tourist facilities, and roads. Although one of the localities, Tsitsikamma, is formally and completely protected, the other localities are have limited protection, or are unprotected. Several of the Knysna forests are sustainably logged. Threats include further development, timber plantations, and alien invasive plant species. With the current increase in tourism in South Africa, and the range of P. clavigera being one of the prime tourism spots in the country, the habitats of this species are threatened.
1996 Extinct (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1996 Extinct
1994 Rare (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs in South Africa, Western Cape, along the coastal region of the George / Knysna area, and in the Tsitsikamma Forest in the Eastern Cape.
South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, Western Cape)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is likely to have declined in response to the destruction and degradation of the habitat at several of the localities. Several subpopulations have been recorded, but the status of all of these is unknown.

P. clavigera has been collected from six localities. Tsitsikamma Forest is unlikely to have undergone any detrimental change or to undergo such change in the near future. The other localities fall within state forests (Diepwalle, Harkerville, Saasveld), which are sustainably logged. These forests have some alien plant invasive problems, they are largely surrounded by plantations, and have been fragmented through road construction and afforestation. The Swart River area, between George and Knysna is an unprotected area that has undergone considerable development over the past 10 years.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: P. clavigera is confined to indigenous, Afromontane forest, where it occurs amongst moist leaf litter or under or in fallen and rotting logs.

Generation time and reproductive trends are likely to be similar to other members of the genus. Gestation is approximately 12-13 months, and only about 40 young are produced by each female in a year. Sexual maturity takes 9-11 months to reach and the life span is about 6-7 years (Manton 1938).
Systems: Terrestrial

Citation: Hamer, M. 2003. Peripatopsis clavigera. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 01 April 2015.
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