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Assessment Results




© 2007 Danté B Fenolio (1 of 17 )

AmphibiaWeb species account




IUCN Red List assessment


Conservation Needs Assessment

Gyrinophilus subterraneus ,   West Virginia Spring Salamander
Assessed for:  United States   on: 04 Oct 2018   by: Vincent Farallo  
Assessment Status: Completed  
Order:   Caudata     Family:   Plethodontidae

IUCN Global Red List:   Endangered (EN)   
IUCN National Red List:   (not assessed)   
Distribution:     United States  
Evolutionary Distinctiveness score:   17.21880329 
Recommended Conservation Actions:   In Situ Conservation  , In Situ Research   
Additional Comments:   Initial assessment data compiled by Christopher K. Beachy from “Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species”, edited by Michael Lannoo (©2005 by the Regents of the University of California), used with permission of the editor. The book is available from UC Press, http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9484.html, and species accounts can be found on AmphibiaWeb, www.amphibiaweb.org. Original species account transcribed by Kevin Johnson. The account was updated by Vincent Farallo in October 2018. 

Question #Short NameQuestion TextResponseComments
1 Extinction risk Current IUCN Red List category. [Data obtained from the IUCN Red List.] Endangered (EN) Because of their restricted distribution they occur on West Virginia's Rare species list.
2 Possibly extinct Is there a strong possibility that this species might be extinct in the wild? No / unlikely
3 Phylogenetic significance The taxon’s Evolutionary Distinctiveness (ED) score, as generated by the ZSL EDGE program. (These data are not editable by Assessors). ED value 20 - 50
4 Protected habitat Is a population of at least 50% of the individuals of the taxon included within a reliably protected area or areas? Yes / probably From Neimiller et al. 2010 mention that the General Davis Cave is owned by the Nature conservancy. However, the watershed that feed the cave is unprotected. So although the salamanders are protected from direct disturbance, changes to the water quality would be also be severely detrimental to the species.
5 Habitat for reintroduction Does enough suitable habitat exist, either within or outside of currently protected areas that is suitable for potential reintroduction or translocation? Unknown They are restricted to one cave (General Davis Cave), although similar conditions might be found in other caves, it is unknown whether they would be able to persistent in any other environment (regardless it would likely alter their evolutionary trajectory).
6 Previous reintroductions Have reintroduction or translocation attempts been made in the past for this species? No
7 Threat mitigation Are the threats facing the taxon, including any new and emerging threats not considered in the IUCN Red List, potentially reversible? Threats are reversible in time frame The surrounding watershed needs to be protected as it will greatly impact the conditions this species experience (despite being in a protected cave).
8 Over-collection from the wild Is the taxon suffering from unsustainable collection within its natural range, either for food, for the pet trade or for any other reason, which threatens the species’ continued persistence in the wild? No / unlikely
9 Population recovery Is the known population of this species in the wild large enough to recover naturally, without ex situ intervention if threats are mitigated? Unknown They have a very restricted range and likely a very small population size (Hammerson and Beachy 2004). Very little is known about their ecology and how they reproduce. More information is likely needed.
10 Biological distinctiveness Does the taxon exhibit, for example, a distinctive reproductive mode, behaviour, aspect of morphology or physiology, within its Class (e.g. Amphibia, Reptilia etc.)? No aspect of biology known to be exceptional
11 Cultural/socio-economic importance Does the taxon have a special human cultural value (e.g. as a national or regional symbol, in a historic context, featuring in traditional stories) or economic value (e.g. food, traditional medicine, tourism) within its natural range or in a wider global context? No
12 Scientific importance Is the species vital to current or planned research other than species-specific ecology/biology/conservation? (e.g. human medicine, climate change, environmental pollutants and conservation science), within its Class (e.g. Amphibia, Reptilia etc.)? No research dependent on this species
13 Ex situ research Does conserving this species (or closely related species) in situ depend upon research that can be most easily carried out ex situ? No
14 Husbandry analog Do the biological and ecological attributes of this species make it suitable for developing husbandry regimes for more threatened related species? i.e. could this species be used in captivity to help to develop husbandry and breeding protocols which could be used for a similar, but more endangered species at a later stage? No
15 Captive breeding Has this species been successfully maintained and bred in captivity? Not held in captivity to date I could find no record of this species being held in captivity (VRF).
16 Educational potential Is the species especially diurnal/active/colourful and therefore suited to be an educational ambassador for conservation of this group of species? No
17 Mandate Is there an existing conservation mandate recommending the ex situ conservation of this taxon? No
18 Range State approval Would a proposed ex situ initiative for this species be supported (and approved) by the range State (either within the range State or out-of-country ex situ)? Yes / probably
19 Founder specimens Are sufficient animals of the taxon available or potentially available (from wild or captive sources) to initiate the specified ex situ program? Yes / probably However, population size does appear to be fairly limited.
20 Taxonomic status Has a complete taxonomic analysis of the species in the wild been carried out, to fully understand the functional unit you wish to conserve (i.e. have species limits been determined)? Yes Several phylogenetic and systematic studies including Gyrinophilus subterraneus (e.g., Bonett et al. 2013, Neimiller et al. 2009) have been completed.

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