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Hypsirhynchus ater 

Scope: Global
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Dipsadidae

Scientific Name: Hypsirhynchus ater
Species Authority: (Gosse, 1851)
Common Name(s):
English Jamaican Racer, Black Racer
Synonym(s):
Alsophis ater (Gosse, 1851)
Dromicus ater (Gosse, 1851)
Natrix atra Gosse, 1851
Ocyophis ater (Gosse, 1851)
Taxonomic Notes: The taxonomic placement of Alsophis ater into Hypsirhynchus was disputed by Grazziotin et al. (2012); who stated that the morphological characteristics used to place the species in Hypsirhynchus is based on morphological data provided by only a few specimens. This author places this species in Ocyophis, erected by Zaher et al. (2009).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) C2a(i); D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-07-21
Assessor(s): Hedges, B., Wilson, B.S. & Gibson, R.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): Hanson, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Brooks, T. & NatureServe
Justification:
This large, diurnal, and apparently easily-observed species was historically abundant and widely distributed across Jamaica, but appears to have declined rapidly subsequent to the introduction of the "Small Indian Mongoose" in 1872, and has not been documented since the early twentieth century. A ~2010 video disseminated by villagers from central Jamaica possibly shows the species and allows some hope that it persists, but if it does the number of mature individuals must be tiny, certainly <50.
Date last seen: 1900
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Jamaica, where was historically common island-wide but has not been recorded since the nineteenth century (Henderson and Powell 1996, 2009). It was known from the lowlands into the mountains, with GIS derived elevations from historical collection localities placing the minimum elevation as 55m and the maximum as 1,442m.
Countries occurrence:
Possibly extinct:
Jamaica
Additional data:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Lower elevation limit (metres):55
Upper elevation limit (metres):1442
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This large and presumably easily-detected, diurnal species has not been recorded with certainty over the last century (B. Wilson pers. comm. 2015), although there is a recent video (c.2010) from villagers in central Jamaica apparently documenting a large (~1 m, much larger than other congeners) black snake which may be referable to the species (S.B. Hedges and B. Wilson pers. comm. 2015). If any animals survive the number of mature individuals is tiny, certainly <50 individuals.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:40Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species was historically collected along forest edges among the leaf litter (Henderson and Powell 2009).
Systems:Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no known use of or trade in this species, which may be extinct.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This large and presumably easily-detected, diurnal species has not been recorded with certainty since the early twentieth century, and is likely to have been driven to extinction primarily as result of predation by the introduced "Small Indian Mongoose" (B. Wilson pers. comm. 2015).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The top priority action needed for the species is eradication of the "Small Indian Mongoose"; even if the species is extinct, such eradication would be hugely beneficial to the biodiversity of Jamaica overall. Other important actions include surveys (including interviews with local people), and, if found to be extant, to explore the possibility of conservation breeding and genome resource banking.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: This errata assessment has been created because the map was accidentally left out of the version published previously.

Citation: Hedges, B., Wilson, B.S. & Gibson, R. 2016. Hypsirhynchus ater. (errata version published in 2017) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T940A115053626. . Downloaded on 22 May 2017.
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