Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Cactaceae

Scientific Name: Melocactus deinacanthus
Species Authority: 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.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-08-08
Assessor(s): Braun, P., Machado, M., Taylor, N.P. & Zappi, D.
Reviewer(s): Superina, M. & Goettsch, B.K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Tognelli, M.
Melocactus deinacanthus was known from only one location, however many more subpopulations were detected later on. Still, the range is restricted (extent of occurrence 800 km2) and fragmented. There is continuing decline and the species has no protection. Hence, it is listed as Endangered under criterion B1ab(iii,v).
Previously published Red List assessments:
2002 Critically Endangered (CR)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This cactus is known from central-southern Bahia, Brazil, where it appears to have a very limited distribution east of the Rio São Francisco and west of the Chapada Diamantina. It grows at altitudes between 450 and 600 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Brazil (Bahia)
Lower elevation limit (metres):450
Upper elevation limit (metres):600
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species is locally abundant, and there are hundreds of thousands of individuals. The species was known from only one locality, however many other have been discovered.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species grows in caatinga element in canga (where it hybridizes with other melocacti) and on gneissic inselbergs.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is locally collected because according to a popular belief the plant has powers to keep away spirits. The impact of this activity is insignificant.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats for this species are loss of habitat for agriculture (small scale), ranching (small scale), urbanization and local collection.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This cactus does not occur in any protected area. The species is included in CITES Appendix I (CITES 2008).

Classifications [top]

0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.2. Genome resource bank

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:No
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:Yes
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
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.2. Gathering terrestrial plants -> 5.2.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ 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

♦  Other (free text)
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

CITES. 2008. Appendices I, II and II. (Accessed: 23 September 2008).

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

Citation: Braun, P., Machado, M., Taylor, N.P. & Zappi, D. 2013. Melocactus deinacanthus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T40915A2943388. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
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