[Taxacom] when is a common species critically endangered?

JF Mate aphodiinaemate at gmail.com
Thu Jun 28 02:57:55 CDT 2012

It is irrelevant if the habitat is ´natural´or ´artificial´, the mite
is either common or it is not, with an allowance for the dependence of
this species on human whim (plants do go out of fashion). So I am
agreeing with you mostly, I just don´t see the point of ´in

I know I am setting myself up but I think that the terms ´in
cultivation´ vs ´natural´ are too black and white. Linen is cultivated
and as far as I know its wild populations remain unknown, but in the
grand scheme of things it is no different to the fungus living in Atta
nests, yet we consider the fungus ´wild´. At the same time, and as
Zack has already pointed out, if a human walks on the arctic lichen
mats this ´disruption´is considered distinctly unnatural (dare I say
artificial) whereas a bear is natural. The fact  that the human is
more intelligent than the bear should have no bearing on the
definition of the impact. Any species has an impact on the others. Our
impact is greater because there are lots of us so you can grade a
disruption based on the damage intensity (an Inuit family vs a busload
of tourists) and the frequency but somehow putting Man in a separate
sphere underestimates Man´s place as a species and overestimates our

I also think that there is a general underestimation of
´man-made´habitats. When you consider that much of the biodiversity in
Northern Europe is the direct result of human cultivation and logging
(heathland habitats, grassland, hedgerows, etc) and that the
biodiversity in these habitats is endangered because we are no longer
interfering with nature, you gain an appreciation for the
occasiionally creative destruction of humans. Case in point is the
Imperial Canal in Central Spain, which now contains an important
population of Margaritifera auricularia. I admit though that in places
like NZ or Australia human interfering has been mostly negative, so
the personal experience of each one matters.



On 28 June 2012 00:11, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:
>>Since cultivated Clianthus maximus is maintained by humans the mite is in
>> effect living in an anthropogenic habitat<
> It is unclear to me what your point is, but note that no habitat left on
> Earth is completely unmodified by human activity, so there is no such thing
> any more as truly natural conditions. Interestingly, a formerly "Nationally
> Critical" insect (Motuweta isolata) has now had its threat status lowered,
> simply because a whole bunch were reared in the lab (all from a single
> original female), and released "back into the wild" where they are now
> breeding quite well by themselves.
> There is no barrier for the Clianthus mite to reinvade plants in the wild
> from plants in cultivation, and there is *some* evidence that it can survive
> on other related plants at a push ...
> The problem is that there is an understood "in the wild" vs. "in
> cultivation" distinction for the threat classification of plants, but not
> for mites or other animals. It would be a little better to classify the mite
> as "Nationally Critical in the wild", but it is just listed as "Nationally
> Critical" simpliciter, because that distinction doesn't exist for animals
> ...
> Stephen
> From: JF Mate <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com>
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Sent: Thursday, 28 June 2012 8:35 AM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] when is a common species critically endangered?
> Since cultivated Clianthus maximus is maintained by humans the mite is
> in effect living in an anthropogenic habitat. Same goes for pests on
> many cultivated plants with small or nonexistant wild populations
> (Gingko, Avocado, Coffee...). I can´t see the difference between this
> an associated faunas of Atta nests.
> Jason
> Feral cats in Europe are replacement predators (native wild cat
> populations are much reduced). Domesticated cats are subsidized
> hunters, nothing natural about them. Everywhere else they are just
> invasives. My two cents.
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