[Taxacom] De-extinction & Rhachistia aldabrae

Fri Oct 17 02:34:04 CDT 2014

Hi Geoff

Yes, the IUCN Red List Unit is aware of the rediscovery of this species - see http://www.iucnredlist.org/news/extinct-snail-re-discovered-in-seychelles. We are now waiting for our Mollusc Specialist Group to reassess the status of this species; so until that is done, we unfortunately have the odd situation where it will continue to appear on the IUCN Red List website as being Extinct. Each assessment is treated effectively as a 'publication' so we cannot just edit an existing published account to say it is no longer Extinct. We are looking for a solution to this issue as there are a number of invertebrate species which have been rediscovered, yet are still listed as Extinct on the IUCN Red List as it may take a few years to get the relevant species experts to conduct the reassessments.

Apologies that the feedback link did not work - we are aware of that issue and will get that fixed too as we value all feedback.

Craig Hilton-Taylor
Head IUCN Red List Unit

-----Original Message-----
From: Geoffrey Read [mailto:gread at actrix.gen.nz]
Sent: 16 October 2014 05:59
To: Stephen Thorpe
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu; gread at actrix.gen.nz
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] De-extinction & Rhachistia aldabrae

It is pragmatic, even vital, to slant work to appear relevant to the available honey pot of funding. Same happens in marine invasive species work (well funded) where there is some very dodgy data on obscure taxa irrationally declared as aliens, an even more unwise science process than quickly declaring tiny land critters extinct.

I just tried to alert IUCN redlist that R. aldabrae was not as extinct as they would have us believe (yes they probably know that given the publicity), but couldn't get a link that worked.

Their definition of qualifying for extinction seems reasonable if strictly enforced, as it requires exhaustive surveys and no reasonable doubt, but I recall a fair number of de-extinctions in recent years.


On Thu, October 16, 2014 2:14 pm, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> Yes, I have a vaguely similar case from N.Z., where a new species of
> beetle (medium sized and flightless) has just been described on the
> flimsiest of evidence (and I have some definite, but inconclusive,
> evidence against it being a new species), claimed to be restricted to
> one tiny location and sparse even there. My attempts to publish a
> short note to flag the issue hit a brick wall. My note was rejected as
> being "purely negative" and "contributing nothing". Well, given that
> conservation resources are limited, and that there is a pot of money
> for research in such species of potential conservation concern, I
> would say that it is very important to point out the flaws in relevant published taxonomy.
> Without such scrutiny, taxonomists could manufacture "new species"
> just to get hold of said conservation funding. My evidence against
> this beetle means that there is no way to recognise it (either
> morphologically or geographically), which makes the assessment of  its
> conservation status a bit tricky!
> Stephen
> --------------------------------------------
> On Thu, 16/10/14, Geoff Read <gread at actrix.gen.nz> wrote:
>  Subject: [Taxacom] De-extinction & Rhachistia aldabrae
>  To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>  Received: Thursday, 16 October, 2014, 1:34 PM
>  A cautionary tale if your study
>  critters are a little on the small side.
>  http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/10/10/20140771
> http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/41223/title/Snai
> l-Revival-Raises-Peer-Review-Debate/


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