Red List of South African Species

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Near Threatened (NT)
Assessors: Michael Samways
Facilitators: Dewidine Van Der Colff
Reviewers: Domitilla Raimondo


The species occurs along the south eastern coast of Africa. There is almost no information about the occurrence of the species in Mozambique, but from its general distribution it is expected to be widespread in coastal areas. Globally and regionally in southern Africa it is listed as Least Concern. However in South Africa it only occurs along coastal KwaZulu-Natal, and has an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 5,597 km2 and an area of occupancy (AOO) (calculated using a 2 x 2 km2 grid) of 60 kmand is known from between five and 10 locations. Its habitat in South Africa is threatened by habitat loss and degradation due to plantation forestry as well as lowering water table levels. It is also impacted by invasive alien plants and the synergistic interaction with El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Some subpopulations have been lost, increasing the regional extinction risk of this species. It breeds in KwaZulu-Natal, in swamp forests that are small and fragmented along the coast and might limit the number of immigrants from neighbouring countries; a regional adjustment is applied to this regional assessment at the national level. It is assessed as Near Threatened B1ab(ii,iii)+2ab(ii,iii).


In southern Africa, this species is known from Mozambique and South Africa (as Gynacantha zuluensis) (Pinhey 1981, Samways 2008, Simaika and Samways 2016). It may have a much wider range than currently known as it is difficult to record because of its habits. Globally, it occurs in coastal forest areas of eastern and southern Africa (Kenya to South Africa, Malawi). In South Africa, it is highly localized in swamp forests close to the coast, where it breeds.

Population trend


Current population size and trends are unknown, however population decline have been observed in recent years potentially due to threat impacts.


Destruction of coastal forests and coastal thicket has been a concern. Plantation forestry leads not only to loss of habitat but also lowering of the water table. Invasive alien trees has localized impacts. There is a clear adverse synergism between land transformation and El Niño Southern Oscillation events. This species has a very particular habitat and oviposits in soft mud which can easily dry out, which seems to be the reason some populations have declined.


Occurs in some protected areas. Protection of coastal forest habitat would be of some benefit to the species. More research is needed to gather data on range, population status and threats.

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