Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 573–586 | Cite as

Prioritizing non-marine invertebrate taxa for Red Listing

  • Justin Gerlach
  • Michael J. Samways
  • Axel Hochkirch
  • Mary Seddon
  • Pedro Cardoso
  • Viola Clausnitzer
  • Neil Cumberlidge
  • B. A. Daniel
  • Scott Hoffman Black
  • Jürgen Ott
  • Paul H. Williams


The IUCN Red List of threatened species is biased towards vertebrate animals, a major limitation on its utility for overall biodiversity assessment. There is a need to increase the representation of invertebrates (currently 21 % of species assessed on the List; <1 % of all invertebrates). A prioritisation system of terrestrial and freshwater groups is presented here, categorising taxa by species richness, assessment practicality, value for human land use and bioindication, and potential to act as conservation flagships. 25 major taxonomic groupings were identified as priorities, including the Annelida, Arthropoda, Mollusca, and Onycophora. Of these, the high-level taxa that emerge as highest priorities are Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), Araneae (spiders), Mantophasmatodea (heelwalkers), Plecoptera (stoneflies), non-marine Mollusca (Bivalvia and Gastropoda), Trichoptera (caddisflies), Coleoptera (beetles), Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies), Oligochaetes (earthworms), Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets), Decapoda (crayfish, crabs, shrimps) and Diptera (flies). Of these Red Listing is well advanced for Decapoda, freshwater Mollusca and Odonata. This leaves eight higher taxa with currently a minimum or patchy Red List assessment coverage. We recommend that Red List assessments in future focus on these groups, as well as completion of assessments for terrestrial Molluscs and Odonata. However, we also recommend realism, and as some of groups are very large, it will be necessary to focus on subsets such as certain functionally important or charismatic taxa or on a sampled subset which is representative of a larger taxon.


Conservation status Strategic planning Conservation planning Biodiversity Extinction 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin Gerlach
    • 1
  • Michael J. Samways
    • 2
  • Axel Hochkirch
    • 3
  • Mary Seddon
    • 4
  • Pedro Cardoso
    • 5
  • Viola Clausnitzer
    • 6
  • Neil Cumberlidge
    • 7
  • B. A. Daniel
    • 8
  • Scott Hoffman Black
    • 9
  • Jürgen Ott
    • 10
  • Paul H. Williams
    • 11
  1. 1.Coordinator – Terrestrial and Freshwater Invertebrate Red List AuthorityCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Member Emeritus – Invertebrate Conservation Sub-Committee, Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Centre for Agricultural BiodiversityStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa
  3. 3.Chair – Invertebrate Conservation Sub-Committee, Chair – Grasshopper SG, Department of BiogeographyTrier UniversityTrierGermany
  4. 4.Chair – Mollusc SGDevonUK
  5. 5.Chair – Spider SG, Finnish Museum of Natural HistoryHelsinkiFinland
  6. 6.Chair – Dragonfly SG, Senckenberg Museum of Natural History GoerlitzGörlitzGermany
  7. 7.Chair – Freshwater Crab and Crayfish SG, Department of BiologyNorthern Michigan UniversityMarquetteUSA
  8. 8.Co-Chair – South Asian Invertebrate SG, Zoo Outreach OrganisationCoimbatoreIndia
  9. 9.Deputy Chair – Invertebrate Conservation Sub-Committee, Chair – Butterfly SG, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate ConservationPortlandUSA
  10. 10.European Invertebrate Specialist Advisor – L.U.P.O. GmbHTrippstadtGermany
  11. 11.Chair – Bumblebee SG, Department of Life SciencesNatural History MuseumLondonUK

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