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Pseudagrion newtoni

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ARTHROPODA INSECTA ODONATA COENAGRIONIDAE

Scientific Name: Pseudagrion newtoni
Species Authority: Pinhey, 1962
Common Name(s):
English Harlequin Sprite
Taxonomic Notes: A-group. Pseudagrion is likely to be split into two genera at some point. Until this taxonomic split occurs, the candidates for these two groups are highlighted by "group A" and "group B".

The earlier Cape records (Pinhey 1984) are doubtful and are probably Pseudagrion hageni hageni (Samways 2006).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2007-04-01
Assessor(s): Samways, M.J.
Reviewer(s): Simaika, J.P., Kipping, J. & Suhling, F. (Odonata Red List Authority)
Justification:
Pseudagrion newtoni is known from only a few specimens. It is currently known to exist in only one location, where it is abundant, and it is expected to occur elsewhere in the area because extensive alien invasive tree removal is underway to improve habitat there. It is clear that the population has suffered a severe decline in the recent past. In addition to the species' natural rarity, its specialized riparian habitat (tall grasses) is under threat from increasing pressure from domestic livestock (especially cattle) visiting the water's edge. Not listed as Endangered because it occurs in a type of general habitat that is very extensive and has not been fully explored and because the removal of alien trees has an extremely beneficial effect on this species; there is a trade-off between improvement of habitat by tree removal and deterioration through overgrazing. It is assessed as Vulnerable based on its restricted range.
History:
2007 Vulnerable
2004 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to South Africa. The type series is from Nqutu, KwaZulu-Natal (Pinhey 1962) but the species has not been rediscovered in the area. This area is now heavily grazed by livestock. Prior to 1962, there are isolated records from the Western Cape, eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, although the Cape records are doubtful taxonomically. After intensive searches over many years, the species was only rediscovered (at 1,300 m asl) in January 2001, in Mpumalanga by M.J. Samways.
Countries:
Native:
South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal - Possibly Extinct, Mpumalanga)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Population size is estimated to be around 2,000 (per generation) and currently stable.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Fine grasses and reeds lining swift, clear, upland rivers (Samways 2006 in press).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): With more extensive and intensive livestock pressure, the grasses on the banks of rivers have become increasingly cropped and trampled. This may be synergistic with other impacts such as the growth of alien invasive riparian vegetation. The type locality is highly threatened as a result of the above factors. However, the population appears to be stabilized and it is also suspected that it is present at other localities, where it has not yet been discovered.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is not known to occur within any protected areas. More searches are required to discover further subpopulations, especially in reserves. Fencing off portions of the riverbank is recommended. Translocation to a reserve is also a consideration. Removal of alien invasive trees has greatly benefited this species, as the 2001 Mpumalanga site was formerly invaded by Acacia mearnsii. Indeed, it is only known from this restored site.

Citation: Samways, M.J. 2010. Pseudagrion newtoni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 August 2014.
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