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Ariocarpus bravoanus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA CARYOPHYLLALES CACTACEAE

Scientific Name: Ariocarpus bravoanus
Species Authority: H.M.Hern. & E.F.Anderson
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Taxonomic Notes: Is accepted as a valid species by most cactus researchers, including Hunt (1999) and Anderson (2001). Two subspecies are recognized: subsp. bravoanus and subsp. hintonii; these are assessed separately.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2009-11-18
Assessor(s): Sotomayor, M., Fitz Maurice, B, Gómez-Hinostrosa, C., Fitz Maurice, W.A., Smith, M. & Hernández, H.M.
Reviewer(s): Goettsch, B.K. & Superina, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hilton-Taylor, C.
Justification:
The extent of occurrence for Ariocarpus bravoanus is about 2,000 km², the population is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline due to the impacts of illegal collection, agricultural activities and other human disturbance. Some of the locations have been severely depleted by collectors and at least one was completely destroyed by agriculture. The species is therefore listed as Endangered under criterion B1ab(ii,iii,v). Some localities are still untouched, but should collectors find these, the status of the species may need to be reassessed. Both subspecies would also qualify for listing as Endangered.
History:
2002 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This cactus can be found on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, in the state of San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Early observations indicated that this species occurred in a single small area, where it had been accidentally discovered. The original location has become well-known to collectors and the population has been severely depleted, with more than 70% of the plants removed within the late 1990s. However, recent fieldwork has shown additional nearby subpopulations that are at present undisturbed. The decision to place Ariocarpus fissuratus var. hintonii as a subspecies under this species, greatly expanded the known range. The species occurs at elevations raging from 1,500 to 2,000 m asl.
Countries:
Native:
Mexico (San Luis Potosí)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The species population exceeds 10,000 individuals in several distinct colonies comprising more than fourteen locations.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species grows in xerophytic shrubland among outcrops of limestone rocks. The habitat is locally classified as matorral desértico micrófilo (Rzedowski 1978).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This is a highly sought-after species by collectors, with large numbers being removed illegally from the wild. Local people also use several Ariocarpus species, including A. bravoanus, for medicinal purposes.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): One location is very near a village, and there is a serious threat of habitat alteration. The site is also known to collectors and there is definite evidence of illegal collecting. In fact, plants of this species have been confiscated in Europe. Other sites are far from villages or other human activities, so there is less likelihood that those localities will be affected by habitat alteration. However, the number of individual plants in each locality (except for the newly discovered one) is only in the thousands, so collectors could quickly decimate any of these small populations. Local people also use several Ariocarpus species, including A. bravoanus, for medicinal purposes. One of the subpopulations of the nominate subspecies was destroyed by agricultural development, which turned the area into a maize field. A graduate student from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) painted all the plants at the type locality with a red enamel paint and also put a copper nail into each plant with coloured beads attached as part of a study to determine the growth rates of the species. This served to highlight where the plants were to collectors, and as a result all the healthy and best-looking plants were removed. It is suspected that the growth rate and reproductive potential of the plants would be reduced as a consequence of the paint (Hernández 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This cactus is listed in CITES Appendix I, but the laws governing imports in the countries of destination need to be enforced. The plants are propagated in the trade, but the demand for wild collected plants is still strong. The type locality was fenced off to demarcate the area, as the adjoining property had been sold. However, this only served to highlight to collectors where the species occurred. All the subpopulations of the nominate subspecies are within a protected area.
This species appears as a subspecies of Ariocarpus fissuratus in Mexico's national list of species at risk of extinction, NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010, where it is listed under category “endangered” (P; SEMARNAT 2010). The subspcies A. bravoanus hintonii appears in this list as A. fissuratus hintonii, and its listed under category "endangered" (P; SEMARNAT 2010).

Citation: Sotomayor, M., Fitz Maurice, B, Gómez-Hinostrosa, C., Fitz Maurice, W.A., Smith, M. & Hernández, H.M. 2013. Ariocarpus bravoanus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 28 November 2014.
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