Medusagyne oppositifolia 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Theales Medusagynaceae

Scientific Name: Medusagyne oppositifolia Baker
Common Name(s):
English Jellyfish Tree
Taxonomic Notes: This species represents the only living representative of the family Medusagynaceae, which is endemic to the Seychelles.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iv,v); C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2007-02-01
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Matatiken, D., Huber, M.J. & Ismail, S.
Reviewer(s): Gibbs, D. & Lutz, M.L.
Medusagyne oppositifolia is known from Mahé and occurs only at four sites. The extent of occurrence (EOO) is 25 km² and the area of occupancy (AOO) is thought to be less than 10 km². The population is thought to be declining and only 86 mature individuals seem to exist. Approximately 90% of the total population are found in one subpopulation at Bernica, which is also the only subpopulation known to be reproducing. The three other sites consist only of scattered individuals, which do not regenerate. It is listed as Critically Endangered.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Mahé Island (Bernica, Mont Sebert, Mont Copolia and Mont Jasmin), Seychelles. The EOO is estimated to be approximately 25 km². While the AOO was not determined, it is thought to be less than 10 km².
Countries occurrence:
Seychelles (Seychelles (main island group))
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:5-10
Lower elevation limit (metres):150
Upper elevation limit (metres):500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species was thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in 1970 by J. Procter (Wise 1998). At present, there are only four known sites on Mahé. In a survey in 2006, 86 mature individuals were found (Matatiken 2006), of which 77 are located in the largest subpopulation at Bernica (89.5% of the total number of mature individuals). Only the largest known subpopulation is know to reproduce. The three other sites consist only of scattered individuals, which do not regenerate. Dead trees can be observed at these sites and a past decline is therefore suspected. A future decline of range and individuals must be suspected due to lack of regeneration in three subpopulations. It is possible that the largest subpopulation is big enough to be viable, but overall the population can be regarded as severely fragmented.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:86
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall, glabrous in all its parts. The species is occurring on exposed massive granite outcrops between 150 and 500 m. Its seeds are wind dispersed.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats to this species are intrinsic factors such as poor recruitment/regeneration, very restricted geographic range, limited dispersal and high seedling mortality.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is present in the Morne Seychellois National Park, but is not legally protected. Ex-situ propagation programs in Kew Royal Botanic Gardens and Biodiversity Center Mahé are in place.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.6. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Moist
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.3. Species re-introduction -> 3.3.1. Reintroduction
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.3. Work & other activities
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.1. Species Action/Recovery Plan
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.2. Area-based Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Matatiken, E.D. 2006. Using demography to set conservation priorities: A case study using the critically endangered Medusagyne oppositifolia (Medusagynaceae). Master thesis, University of Plymouth, UK.

Wise, R. 1998. A Fragile Eden. Portraits of the Endemic Flowering Plants of the Granitic Seychelles. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

Citation: Matatiken, D., Huber, M.J. & Ismail, S. 2011. Medusagyne oppositifolia. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T37781A10072208. . Downloaded on 18 September 2018.
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