Melocactus conoideus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Cactaceae

Scientific Name: Melocactus conoideus Buining & Brederoo
Taxonomic Source(s): Hunt, D., Taylor, N. and Charles, G. (compilers and editors). 2006. The New Cactus Lexicon. dh Books, Milborne Port, UK.
Taxonomic Notes: The taxonomic status of this specieas can be questioned.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(i,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-08-08
Assessor(s): Machado, M., Taylor, N.P., Braun, P. & Zappi, D.
Reviewer(s): Superina, M. & Goettsch, B.K.
Melocactus conoideus has a very small range (extent of occurrence less than 100 km2), it is known from one location, and the population is in continual decline. Part of the population is protected, however the rest are quickly disappearing. This cactus is therefore listed as Critically Endangered.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This cactus can be found near Serra do Periperi, in the Municipality of Vitória da Conquista, in south-eastern Bahia, Brazil. It grows at elevations of 1,000 to 1,200 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Brazil (Bahia)
Additional data:
Number of Locations:1
Lower elevation limit (metres):1000
Upper elevation limit (metres):1200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are several hundred plants, however there have been significant declines, with the exception of a fenced area where a couple of hundred individuals can be found. Some subpopulations have recovered well after quarrying for gravel was halted.

In 1989 M. conoideus was close to extinction at the type locality in the Serra do Periperi above Vitória da Conquista, Bahia, where it is sympatric with the widespread M. concinnus. However, from the original locality another adjacent area of similar habitat could be seen and subsequently Brazilian cactus enthusiasts have confirmed that a healthy extension of the population exists. This area is more distant from the BR 116 highway and is now officially protected, although this has so far failed to halt gravel extraction.

The population found in 2002, which was very healthy, has now been depleted because quarrying was moved to this location, which is ca 2 km from the type locality.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is an Eastern caatinga / Northern campo rupestre element that grows below and between shrubs in quartz gravel, in campo sujo / cerrado de altitude.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This cactus was heavily traded, however, it is now in cultivation and is not collected from wild populations.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threats for this species are habitat loss due to quarrying and urbanization, specifically the growth of the city of Victória da Conquista. The species survival in the wild is severely threatened by extraction of the quartz gravel in which it grows, and was formerly impacted by commercial collection for the European horticultural market.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs within the Parque Municipal do Cerro de Periperi. Since June 1992 this species has been listed on CITES Appendix I.

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

3. Energy production & mining -> 3.2. Mining & quarrying
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.2. Gathering terrestrial plants -> 5.2.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2013).

Taylor, N.P. 1991. The genus Melocactus in Central and South America. Bradleya 9: 1–80.

Taylor, N.P. 1992. Plants in peril, 17. Melocactus conoideus. Kew Magazine 9: 138–142.

Taylor, N.P. and Zappi, D.C. 2004. Cacti of Eastern Brazil. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Citation: Machado, M., Taylor, N.P., Braun, P. & Zappi, D. 2013. Melocactus conoideus. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T40914A2943248. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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