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Opuntia abjecta

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA CARYOPHYLLALES CACTACEAE

Scientific Name: Opuntia abjecta
Species Authority: Small ex Britton & Rose
Taxonomic Notes: Material from the Florida keys was previously considered synonyms with O. triacantha but phylogenetical and morphological analysis separate Floridian material as a different species (O. abjecta) (Majure pers. comm. 2011).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii); C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-07-26
Assessor(s): Majure, L. & Griffith, P.
Reviewer(s): Chanson, J.S. & Goettsch, B.K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): García, N.
Justification:
Opuntia abjecta is listed as Critically Endangered because it is known from three locations and its extent of occurrence is approximately 65 km2. Two populations are comprised of fewer than 50 mature individuals. Habitat quality is negatively affected by disturbance from humans, key deer, and non-native invasive plant species that reduce sexual reproductive capability.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Opuntia abjecta occurs in Florida, USA, on Long Key, Crawl Key and Big Pine Key (Majure et al. in prep.). A fourth subpopulation was recorded on Big Munson Island, Florida (K. Bradley pers. obs.) but was not found during recent field work in 2010 and is thought to be extirpated from the area.
Countries:
Native:
United States (Florida)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Population trends are unknown. At the Long Key site, 20 mature individuals were recorded. At the Crawl Key site, 36 mature individuals were recorded. Maturity cannot be estimated on Big Pine Key because sexual reproduction has not been observed. However, there may be as many as 60 mature individuals. Populations are fragmented and demographic exchange among populations is unlikely (L. Majure pers. comm 2011).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species mainly occurs in depressions in Key Largo limestone (Britton & Rose 1919).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Cactoblastis cactorum is a major threat to this species. Habitat destruction on Big Pine Key is exacerbated by a nearby fishing camp and road widening adjacent to the population. Kalanchoe, a non-native species, is encroaching on the rockland habitat at Big Pine Key. Sea level rise from climate change is a potential future threat. Key Deer have been observed to have adverse effects on the Big Pine Key population, through both herbivory and disturbance.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Big Pine Key population is in a federal wildlife reserve. Part of the Long Key population is in a state park. This species is considered endangered in the state of Florida, but is listed under O. triacantha.

Citation: Majure, L. & Griffith, P. 2013. Opuntia abjecta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 September 2014.
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