Dec 28
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Maathai’s longleg' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Maathai’s longleg' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Maathai’s longleg' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Maathai’s longleg' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Maathai’s longleg' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Maathai’s longleg' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Maathai’s longleg' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: Maathai’s longleg

Photo of Maathai's longleg male holotype

Maathai’s longleg (Notogomphus maathaiae)

Species: Maathai’s longleg (Notogomphus maathaiae)

Status: Endangered (EN)

Interesting Fact: First described in 2005, Maathai’s longleg is a clubtail dragonfly belonging to the genus Notogomphus.

More information:

Also known as Maathai’s clubtail, this dragonfly is commonly referred to as ‘longleg’ on account of its extended hind thighs. Maathai’s longleg is a fairly dark-coloured dragonfly, distinguishable thanks to the bright green markings on the sides of its thorax.

Dragonflies start their life as aquatic nymphs. They pass through a series of developmental stages and undergo several moults as they grow before metamorphosis occurs. There is no evidence to suggest that this species is seasonal. Two female Maathai’s longlegs have been observed laying eggs in water.

Maathai’s longleg has been recorded from the forests of Mount Elgon National Park, Katamayu Forest and Marioshoni Forest, Kenya. It is found from around 2,200 to 2,600 metres above sea level, in and around clear montane forested streams.

The forest habitat on which this species appears to rely has been widely destroyed in recent decades, and Maathai’s longleg is therefore presumed to have suffered significant declines. As deforestation continues, this rare dragonfly is expected to be up-listed to Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List before too long.

In the densely populated Kenyan highlands, Maathai’s longleg serves as an indicator of habitat quality and is therefore being promoted as a flagship species to raise awareness of the need to protect the natural forest and watershed. Protection of its riverside forests will not only help this endangered dragonfly, but also the farmers of the foothills, by guaranteeing soil stability and a steady flow of water. To this end, dragonflies such as this species are being dubbed the ‘guardians of the watershed’ in East Africa, helping to raise their profile in the field of conservation.

 

Find out more about Maathai’s longleg at Enchanted Landscapes.

See images of Maathai’s longleg on ARKive.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author

 

Dec 21
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Snow leopard' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Snow leopard' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Snow leopard' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Snow leopard' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Snow leopard' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Snow leopard' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Snow leopard' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: Snow leopard

Photo of snow leopard lying in snow

Snow leopard (Panthera uncia)

Species: Snow leopard (Panthera uncia)

Status: Endangered (EN)

Interesting Fact: At almost a metre long, the thick tail of the snow leopard is used for balance and can be wrapped around the animal’s body for warmth.

More information:

The beautiful snow leopard  has smoky-white fur with a yellow tinge, and is patterned with dark grey to black spots. The snow leopard has many adaptations for its cold habitat, such as long body hair, thick, woolly belly fur and large paws. It has unusually large nasal cavities to warm the cold, thin air as it is breathed in.

Snow leopards are solitary animals and are most active at dawn and dusk. They are opportunistic predators, capable of killing prey up to three times their own weight. Snow leopards usually have two or three cubs per litter, which become independent of their mother at around two years old.

The majority of snow leopards are located in the Tibetan region of China, although fragmented populations are also found in the harsh, mountainous areas of central Asia. They are generally found at elevations between 3,000 and 4,500 metres, in steep terrain broken by cliffs, ridges, gullies and rocky outcrops.

The natural prey of this majestic species has been hunted out of many areas of the high central Asian mountains, and the snow leopard turns to domestic stock as an alternative source of food. This can incite retaliation from local farmers. Snow leopard fur was once highly prized in the international fashion world, and around 1,000 pelts were traded per year in the 1920s. A further threat to this species is the increasing demand for its bones for traditional Oriental medicine.

The snow leopard is protected throughout most of its range, and international trade is banned by this species’ listing on Appendix I of CITES. The International Snow Leopard Trust and the Snow Leopard Conservancy are the world’s leading organisations dedicated to conserving this endangered cat. Local people are involved in various conservation initiatives and there are plans to link fragmented populations by habitat corridors.

 

Find out more about the snow leopard at the Snow Leopard Trust and the Snow Leopard Conservancy.

See images and videos of the snow leopard on ARKive.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author

 

Dec 14
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week:  Blue-sided tree frog' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week:  Blue-sided tree frog' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week:  Blue-sided tree frog' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week:  Blue-sided tree frog' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week:  Blue-sided tree frog' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week:  Blue-sided tree frog' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week:  Blue-sided tree frog' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: Blue-sided tree frog

Photo of blue-sided tree frog on a leaf

Blue-sided tree frog (Agalychnis annae)

Species: Blue-sided tree frog (Agalychnis annae)

Status: Endangered (EN)

Interesting Fact: The blue-sided tree frog has some ability to change colour, becoming darker green and bluish-purple at night.

More information:

The blue-sided tree frog is a highly colourful amphibian, with pink, lavender, orange and blue on its limbs and sides, and green on its upper surface. The large eyes of the blue-sided tree frog are yellow-orange, and give the frog its other common name: the golden-eyed leaf frog. Juveniles lack the blue colouration of the adults.

The blue-sided tree frog is nocturnal and arboreal. Male blue-sided tree frogs call to attract a mate, giving a repeated ‘wor-or-orp’. The female deposits the eggs on top of leaves above still water. After hatching, the tadpole of the blue-sided tree frog falls, either intentionally or accidentally, into the pond below where it matures into an adult frog.

The blue-sided tree frog is endemic to Costa Rica, and can be found on the slopes of the cordilleras of northern and central Costa Rica. Today, the species remains almost exclusively in disturbed and polluted habitat in areas around Costa Rica’s capital city of San José.

The blue-sided tree frog has suffered an estimated 50 percent loss in population since the 1990s. This can be attributed to fungal disease, larvae predation by an introduced fish species, and the international pet trade. In 2007, the United States alone was reported to have imported 221,960 Agalychnis frogs over the previous decade.

Given the threats to the survival of the blue-sided tree frog and other species in the genus Agalychnis, all Agalychnis species have been granted protection under Appendix II of CITES. The creation of a captive breeding programme for the long-term survival of the blue-sided tree frog has been recommended by the IUCN.

 

Find out more about the blue-sided tree frog at AmphibiaWeb and the IUCN Red List

See images of the blue-sided tree frog on ARKive.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author

 

Dec 7
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Jellyfish tree' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Jellyfish tree' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Jellyfish tree' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Jellyfish tree' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Jellyfish tree' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Jellyfish tree' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Jellyfish tree' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: Jellyfish tree

Photo of jellyfish tree flowers

Jellyfish tree (Medusagyne oppositifolia)

 

Species: Jellyfish tree (Medusagyne oppositifolia)

Status: Critically Endangered (CR)

Interesting Fact: The flowers of the jellyfish tree have numerous stamens, and it is thought that these may have given rise to the name of Medusagyne, after the ‘Medusa’ of Greek mythology who had a head of snakes.

 

More information:

The jellyfish tree was thought to be extinct until the 1970s, when a few trees were found, but the species still teeters on the brink of extinction. Jellyfish trees can reach up to 10 metres tall and have a dense, rounded crown of foliage. The shiny, leathery leaves have a slightly scalloped edge and turn bright red with age. The jellyfish tree is the only species in its family.

Found on the island of Mahé in the Seychelles archipelago, only approximately 50 jellyfish trees are known, surviving within 4 separate populations. Jellyfish tree seeds appear to be unable to germinate in the wild, and it is thought that trees of this species have been lost from more appropriate humid forest habitats as a result of competition and climate change. They have been successfully cultivated in botanic gardens in very humid conditions.

Three of the existing populations of jellyfish tree on the island of Mahé are protected within the Morne Seychellois National Park. Although seedlings have been grown in a number of botanic gardens, many problems remain for this species, and a conservation priority must be further research into its reproductive biology so that an effective action plan for its future can be devised.

 

Find out more about the jellyfish tree at the Eden Project and Saving Paradise.

See images of the jellyfish tree on ARKive.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author

 

Nov 30
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Lesser Antillean iguana' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Lesser Antillean iguana' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Lesser Antillean iguana' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Lesser Antillean iguana' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Lesser Antillean iguana' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Lesser Antillean iguana' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Lesser Antillean iguana' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: Lesser Antillean iguana

Photo of a male Lesser Antillean iguana

Lesser Antillean iguana (Iguana delicatissima)

Species: Lesser Antillean iguana (Iguana delicatissima)

Status: Endangered (EN)

Interesting Fact: Dominant male Lesser Antillean iguanas turn from green to dark grey, and when reproductively active will flush pink in the jowls and become pale-blue in the scales on the sides of the head.

More information:

Female Lesser Antillean iguanas have a uniformly bright green body, pale head and brown tail. Hatchlings and juveniles are also bright green, with white flashes from the jaw to the shoulder, and three white bars on the sides of the body. They have brown flashes which darken when the individual is stressed.

Displays involving side-walking and head-to-head pushing contests determine the most dominant male Lesser Antillean iguana, who is rewarded with easy access to females. Reproduction coincides with the wet season, ensuring there is plenty of fresh plant growth to feed hatchlings. Hatchlings live mainly on the ground among thick vegetation, spending more time higher up in the trees with age.

Once present throughout the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean, the Lesser Antillean iguana is now confined to the islands of the northern Lesser Antilles. Clearance of suitable habitat for agriculture and tourism is a major threat to this species, particularly affecting communal nest sites. Feral predators such as Indian mongoose, cats and dogs, continue to reduce Lesser Antillean iguana populations.

The Lesser Antillean iguana is legally protected from hunting throughout its range, but law enforcement is limited. Accidental road kills are also a problem, principally because the majority of deaths are of migrating pregnant females and dispersing hatchlings. A further threat to the Lesser Antillean iguana is the confirmed hybridisation with common iguanas, responsible for the disappearance of the Lesser Antillean iguana in Les Îles des Saintes.

Proposals for the creation of nature reserves in other areas of the Lesser Antillean iguana’s range have been put forward, and captive breeding programmes are being run at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Memphis Zoo and San Diego Zoo.

 

Find out more about the Lesser Antillean iguana at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the IUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group

See images and videos of the Lesser Antillean iguana on ARKive.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author

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