Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Endangered as Diuris basaltica
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans National Recovery Plan for the Small Golden Moths Orchid Diuris basaltica (Backhouse, G. and Lester, K., 2010) [Recovery Plan] as Diuris basaltica.
 
Policy Statements and Guidelines Draft survey guidelines for Australia's threatened orchids (Department of the Environment, 2013b) [Admin Guideline].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument] as Diuris basaltica.
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (11/04/2007) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007f) [Legislative Instrument] as Diuris sp. Basaltica (H.Nicholls s.n. MEL 649396) MEL Herbarium.
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (72) (15/12/2008) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2008k) [Legislative Instrument] as Diuris basaltica.
 
State Listing Status
VIC: Listed as Threatened (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Victoria): February 2014 list) as Diuris sp. aff. lanceolata (Laverton)
Scientific name Diuris basaltica [64654]
Family Orchidaceae:Orchidales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author D.L.Jones
Infraspecies author  
Reference Jones, D.L. (2006) Australian Orchid Research 5: 75-76, Fig. 3.9 [tax. nov.]
Other names Diuris sp. Basaltica (H.Nicholls s.n. MEL 649396) MEL Herbarium [82027]
Diuris basaltica D.L. Jones ined. [67390]
Diuris sp. aff. lanceolata (Laverton) [68014]
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

There has been some uncertainty in regard to the correct taxonomy (and therefore, distribution) of the Small Golden Moths Orchid and the species was formally described in 2006 (Backhouse & Lester 2010). The description of the species has subsequently enabled the precise determination of the distribution and abundance of the species (Backhouse & Lester 2010).

The Small Golden Moths Orchid is a deciduous, perennial, terrestrial orchid which emerges annually from an underground tuber. When it emerges, it develops 3-7 linear leaves around a basal tuft and an erect, green flower stem, to 15 cm tall. The flower stem bears one or two small, nodding, narrowly opening, bright golden yellow to orange yellow flowers to 20 mm wide (Backhouse & Lester 2010).

The Small Golden Moths Orchid is endemic to a small area on the Keilor and Werribee Plains immediately to the west of Melbourne, over a distance of approximately 50 km in the Victorian Volcanic Plain IBRA bioregion (Backhouse & Lester 2010).

There are about 50 plants in collections held by the Royal Zoological Gardens, Melbourne and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne (Jeanes pers. comm. 2001) and up to 200 plants held in other institutions for the purposes of re-introduction (Backhouse & Lester 2010).

Within the distribution of the Small Golden Moths Orchid, the species is known to occur at only three locations; Laverton (two plants), Derrimut (five plants) and Rockbank (approximately 400 plants). The total population is estimated to be slightly more than 400 individuals. The species may grow in dense clumps of up to 30 plants (some of which may be the same individual, sprouting from multiple tubers). Specific locations are kept confidential in order to protect the species from illegal collection (Backhouse & Lester 2010).

The Small Golden Moths Orchid grows in herb-rich native grasslands, dominated by Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra) on heavy basaltic soils, often embedded with basalt boulders (Backhouse & Jeanes 1995; Backhouse & Lester 2010). All locations that the species is known to occur form part of the ‘Natural Temperate Grassland of the Victorian Volcanic Plain’, which is a Critically Endangered ecological community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Small Golden Moths Orchid emerges from the underground tuber in late autumn, following the onset of seasonal rains (Backhouse & Lester 2010). Flowering occurs between September and October (Backhouse & Jeanes 1995). By late spring, the leaves shrivel and (if pollination has occurred) the seed capsule is ripening (usually dispersed within 8 weeks of flowering) (Jeanes pers. comm. 2001). The species occurs only as a tuber during summer and early autumn. The species may reproduce from seed or via vegetative multiplication of tubers (Backhouse & Lester 2010). Pollination is known to be occurring naturally and is likely to be due to the action of Halictid bees (Backhouse & Lester 2010).

Regular fire or light grazing is probably essential for long-term survival of this species, in order to maintain the inter-tussock spaces in which it grows (Jeanes pers. comm. 2001).

Nearly the entire habitat for the Small Golden Moths Orchid has been cleared for agriculture, grazing, housing and industrial development due to the growth of Melbourne (Backhouse & Lester 2010). The remaining populations are threatened by weed invasion, altered fire regimes, predation by herbivores and illegal collection (Backhouse & Lester 2010). Exotic grasses such as Chilean Needle Grass (Nassella neesiana), Silvergrass (Vulpia bromoides) and Quaking Grass (Briza maxima and Briza minor) are common weeds throughout much of the basalt plains near Melbourne (Jeanes pers. comm. 2001).

A national recovery plan for the Small Golden Moths Orchid has been prepared and contains a number of actions that should be carried out in order to assist the recovery of the species (Backhouse & Lester 2010). Some actions had been completed prior to 2010, including salvage of plants for propagation, fencing of sites and use of offsets to secure the land tenure of populations.

The overall objective of the national recovery plan for the Small Golden Moth Orchid is to minimise the probability of extinction of the species in the wild and to increase the likelihood of populations becoming self-sustaining in the long term. The specific objectives of the national recovery plan are as follows:

  • Determine distribution, abundance, growth rates and viability of populations;
  • Determine habitat requirements;
  • Ensure that populations and their habitat are protected and managed;
  • Manage threats to populations;
  • Maintain plants in cultivation;
  • Increase numbers of plants and populations in the wild;
  • Build community support for conservation.

Documents relevant to the management of the Small Golden Moths Orchid can be found at the start of the profile.

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation Diuris sp. Basaltica (H.Nicholls MEL 649396) MEL Herbariumin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ij) [Internet].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Diuris sp. Basaltica (H.Nicholls MEL 649396) MEL Herbariumin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ij) [Internet].
Biological Resource Use:Gathering Terrestrial Plants:Illegal collection Diuris sp. Basaltica (H.Nicholls MEL 649396) MEL Herbariumin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ij) [Internet].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat loss, modification and/or degradation National Recovery Plan for the Small Golden Moths Orchid Diuris basaltica (Backhouse, G. and Lester, K., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Disturbance, especially from human recreational activities and development Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Habitat disturbance from recreational vehicle use National Recovery Plan for the Small Golden Moths Orchid Diuris basaltica (Backhouse, G. and Lester, K., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Lepus capensis (Brown Hare) National Recovery Plan for the Small Golden Moths Orchid Diuris basaltica (Backhouse, G. and Lester, K., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Oryctolagus cuniculus (Rabbit, European Rabbit) National Recovery Plan for the Small Golden Moths Orchid Diuris basaltica (Backhouse, G. and Lester, K., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Briza maxima (Quaking Grass, Blowfly Grass) Diuris sp. Basaltica (H.Nicholls MEL 649396) MEL Herbariumin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ij) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Nassella trichotoma (Serrated Tussock, Yass River Tussock, Yass Tussock, Nassella Tussock (NZ)) National Recovery Plan for the Small Golden Moths Orchid Diuris basaltica (Backhouse, G. and Lester, K., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Nassella neesiana (Chilean Needle grass) National Recovery Plan for the Small Golden Moths Orchid Diuris basaltica (Backhouse, G. and Lester, K., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Diuris sp. Basaltica (H.Nicholls MEL 649396) MEL Herbariumin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ij) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Diuris sp. Basaltica (H.Nicholls MEL 649396) MEL Herbariumin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ij) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Negative impacts caused by insects National Recovery Plan for the Small Golden Moths Orchid Diuris basaltica (Backhouse, G. and Lester, K., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Predation, competition, habitat degradation and/or spread of pathogens by introduced species Diuris sp. Basaltica (H.Nicholls MEL 649396) MEL Herbariumin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ij) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Negative impact from animals Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) National Recovery Plan for the Small Golden Moths Orchid Diuris basaltica (Backhouse, G. and Lester, K., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Diuris sp. Basaltica (H.Nicholls MEL 649396) MEL Herbariumin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ij) [Internet].
Residential and Commercial Development:Commercial and Industrial Areas:Recreational, commercial and industrial development Diuris sp. Basaltica (H.Nicholls MEL 649396) MEL Herbariumin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ij) [Internet].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development National Recovery Plan for the Small Golden Moths Orchid Diuris basaltica (Backhouse, G. and Lester, K., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Diuris sp. Basaltica (H.Nicholls MEL 649396) MEL Herbariumin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ij) [Internet].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].

Backhouse, G. and Lester, K. (2010). National Recovery Plan for the Small Golden Moths Orchid Diuris basaltica. [Online]. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne Victoria. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/diuris-basaltica.html.

Backhouse, G.N. & J.A. Jeanes (1995). The Orchids of Victoria. Carlton: Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press.

Carr, G.W., Stajsic, V. and Jeanes, J.A. (1997). Survey for the Small Golden Moths Orchid, Diuris sp. aff. lanceolata (Basalt Plains).

Jeanes, J. (2001). Personal communication.

Jones, D.L. (2004). Personal communication.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Diuris basaltica in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Fri, 19 Sep 2014 07:33:05 +1000.