Species conservation profiles of tarantula spiders (Araneae, Theraphosidae) listed on CITES

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Fukushima , C S , Mendoza , J I , West , R C , Longhorn , S , Rivera , E , Cooper , E W T , Henaut , Y , Henriques , S & Cardoso , P 2019 , ' Species conservation profiles of tarantula spiders (Araneae, Theraphosidae) listed on CITES ' , Biodiversity Data Journal , vol. 7 , 39342 . https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.7.e39342

Title: Species conservation profiles of tarantula spiders (Araneae, Theraphosidae) listed on CITES
Author: Fukushima, Caroline Sayuri; Mendoza, Jorge Ivan; West, Rick C.; Longhorn, Stuart; Rivera, Emmanuel; Cooper, Ernst W. T.; Henaut, Yann; Henriques, Sergio; Cardoso, Pedro
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Finnish Museum of Natural History
University of Helsinki, Zoology
Date: 2019-11-08
Language: eng
Number of pages: 183
Belongs to series: Biodiversity Data Journal
ISSN: 1314-2828
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/309069
Abstract: Background CITES is an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Regarding spiders, all species listed in CITES are tarantulas. They are included in Appendix II, meaning that they are species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that they may become so unless trade is closely controlled. Many tarantulas are legally and illegally traded in the pet market and they are one of the most traded invertebrate groups. Originally, the CITES list published in 1995 included all the current species of the genus Brachypelma Simon, 1891 plus Aphonopelma pallidum (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897) and the so-called Aphonopelma albiceps (Pocock, 1903). After that, some taxonomic changes were done, as well as descriptions of new species in the genus Brachypelma. The objective of this paper is to assess the 21 taxonomically valid spider species listed on CITES according to the IUCN criteria, study the general patterns and trends and advise on possible future conservation actions critical for the survival of endangered species. New information Amongst all 21 species assessed, 16 had sufficient data on their distribution, ecology and threats to properly understand their current status and suggest possible conservation measures. A decline in the area of occupancy (AOO) and extent of occurrence (EOO) was inferred to almost all species, caused mostly by human activities (urbanisation, roads, agricultural and touristic activities), which often lead to the complete loss of subpopulations across their range. Hurricanes and frequent rising water, which are increasing in frequency due to climate change, can cause decline in habitat quality and consequent change in EOO and AOO of some species and should also be considered when planning conservation actions. Severe fragmentation was detected in 13 species and is therefore one of the most relevant threats to the most endangered Brachypelma species and should be made a priority aspect to deal with when proposing conservation actions for the group. Regarding the loss of individuals in wild populations, the main cause seems to be the overharvesting to meet the illegal trade. The most important conservation actions identified across species include preserving their natural habitat through protected areas, establishing management plans for both the species and their habitats and undertaking systematic monitoring to provide information about population recovery and species re-introduction programmes. In general, we propose to prioritise and support research on the population trends and distribution, as well as on the impact of land use and habitat degradation. Special attention regarding conservation actions and research plans has to be given to the central Pacific coastal area of Mexico, particularly around Guerrero State where five species of Brachypelma occur. Critically, for some of the most endangered species, such as B. baumgarteni and B. hamorii, there is no official protected area in their range of occurrence. It would therefore be highly recommended to establish at least one conservation unit which focuses on protecting each of these species in situ. In some cases, basic taxonomic research is needed before development of any appropriate conservation action can be proposed.
Central America
North America
Red List
extinction risk
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology

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