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Peripatopsis leonina

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ONYCHOPHORA ONYCHOPHORA ONYCHOPHORA PERIPATOPSIDAE

Scientific Name: Peripatopsis leonina
Species Authority: Purcell, 1899
Common Name(s):
English Lion's Hill Velvet Worm

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii)+2ab(i,ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2003
Date Assessed: 2003-04-30
Annotations:
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Hamer, M.
Reviewer(s): Samways, M. & Hamer, M. (Southern African Invertebrate Red List Authority)
Justification:
P. leonina was listed as EX 1996. However, there is no conclusive evidence that this species is extinct, and given the nature of onychophorans and the lack of research on this group, there is a chance that this species may still be extant, but Critically Endangered as a result of changes to its narrow habitat.

This species has only been recorded from one small area, and was last collected in 1900. The type locality and its habitats have undergone enormous changes over the past 100 years. Although this species might be considered extinct, onychophorans are notoriously cryptic. They are also seldom collected because of permit requirements and consideration of conservation needs for these animals. Onychophorans have recently been reported as being seen at the type locality (M. Picker, pers. comm.), but have not been collected.
History:
1996 Extinct
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is only known from the type locality of Lion's Hill (Signal Hill), Cape Peninsula, Western Cape, South Africa. Details of this locality are as follows: the Cape Town side of Signal Hill, two small valleys cutting into the south-east slopes of that part of Lion's Hill known as the Saddle, the lower portion lying between Lion's Head and Lion's Rump; and from another valley, situated on the same side of the hill but much nearer Table Bay, and east of the signal station on the highest point of Lion's Rump.
Countries:
Native:
South Africa (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. Currently. there is no evidence of subpopulations anywhere.

P. leonina has only ever been collected from one location - Signal Hill. This area has been changed through the development of houses and roads, the development of recreation areas and the establishment of exotic plantations. Levels of air pollution have increased radically over the past 100 years. The habitat will have been fragmented by plantations, but the original extent of occurrence is unknown, which makes it difficult to estimate the amount of fragmentation that has occurred.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species was collected from Fynbos habitat, in small ravines, under stones. 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 leonina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 December 2014.
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