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Diplazium laffanianum

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA POLYPODIOPSIDA POLYPODIALES ATHYRIACEAE

Scientific Name: Diplazium laffanianum
Species Authority: (Baker) C.Chr.
Common Name(s):
English Governor Laffan's Fern
Synonym(s):
Asplenium laffanianum Baker

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Extinct in the Wild ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-02-28
Assessor(s): Copeland, A. & Malcolm, P.
Reviewer(s): Bachman, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Barrios, S.
Justification:
The Governor Laffan's Fern is a relatively large fern that used to be found in caves and rocky crevices between Harrington Sound and Paynter's Vale in Bermuda. However, it has not been seen in the wild since 1905. Much of the original habitat has been degraded or destroyed due to human intervention and introduction of invasive species. Extensive surveys over the past 30 years have been unable to find the species. Therefore, the species is currently listed as Extinct in the Wild. The species is being grown in the laboratory and a plan for reintroduction is in place. Possible locations with suitable habitat are being actively monitored and it is hoped that in the future this species will be seen in the wild again.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This is a fern endemic to Bermuda. It was found in cave mouths and rock crevices in the Walsingham Tract between Harrington Sound and Paynter's Vale up until 1905 (Britton 1918). This species was likely never very common due to limited habitat within the Walsingham area. Elevation range is unknown.
Countries:
Regionally extinct:
Bermuda
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There currently are no known populations in the wild, and none have been found despite searches over the last 30 years. Only one adult plant was known to be alive in 2010 at the Government nursery (Bermuda Biodiversity Project 2007). However, to this date there are no known mature specimens of Governor Laffan's Fern remaining in Bermuda. Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska has 12 mature specimens. Several hundred small plants exist on the island - held at the Department of Conservation Services and the plant laboratory at the Department of Environmental Protection. Furthermore, a large number of in vitro cultures exist at the Omaha Zoo plant laboratory and a number of prothalli were sent to Bermuda in 2012 and are surviving well. Another large shipment of in vitro cultures is expected to arrive in Bermuda in 2014.

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is a relatively large fern with large bright green fronds which used to grow in semi-shaded cracks and crevices in the mouths of caves in Bermuda. The most characteristic feature of this fern is that the sori are linear and 4 mm long.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is not known to have been used.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Bermuda is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and much of its native vegetation has been dramatically changed as a result of anthropogenic influences. The past threats that lead to the decline and extinction in the wild of Governor Laffan's Fern are degradation of habitat by tourism and housing development and the introduction of invasive species. Moreover, ongoing threats that may limit its recovery in the wild after reintroduction are disturbance from invasive plant species and potential impacts (trampling, litter) from nature reserve visitors. Most suitable habitat for reintroduction of Governor Laffan's Fern is privately owned and most caves are affected by quarrying, vandalism, littering, filling and dumping.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is subject to ex situ conservation. It is being grown in laboratory and a plan for reintroduction is in place.

Citation: Copeland, A. & Malcolm, P. 2014. Diplazium laffanianum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 August 2014.
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