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 Critically Endangered as Darwinia foetida
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009aa) [Listing Advice].
 
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ab) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, the approved conservation advice provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against key threats (26/05/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans Threat abatement plan for competition and land degradation by rabbits (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2008adh) [Threat Abatement Plan].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (77) (26/05/2009) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009k) [Legislative Instrument] as Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458).
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (101) (12/04/2010) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2010j) [Legislative Instrument] as Darwinia foetida.
 
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Endangered (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list) as Darwinia foetida
Scientific name Darwinia foetida [83190]
Family Myrtaceae:Myrtales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Keighery
Infraspecies author  
Reference Keighery, G.J. (2009) Six new and rare species of Darwinia (Myrtaceae) from Western Australia. Nuytsia 19: 38-40, Figs 1, 2A [tax. nov.]
Other names Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) [82443]
Darwinia foetida ms [82444]
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

Scientific name: Darwinia foetida

Common name: Muchea Bell

Synonym: Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J. Keighery 2458)

The species has now been formally described as Darwinia foetida N. G. Marchant & Keighery ms. (Keighery 2009). Muchea Bell is currenly listed as Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J. Keighery 2458) and was also previously known as Darwinia sp. A Perth Flora (AS George 1963) (WA CALM 2006).

The species is conventionally accepted as Darwinia foetida Keighery (CHAH 2009).

Muchea Bell is an erect, or spreading, shrub to 0.7 m high, often using other shrubs for support. Young branches are slender, green-brown with prominent, decurrent leaf bases, becoming grey and woody (Keighery 2009). This species has green flowers and the flowering period is from October to November (Western Australian Herbarium 2006). Muchea Bell is named after the distinctive foetid smell of the flowers (Keighery 2009).

Muchea Bell is endemic to Western Australia. It has been recorded at three locations near the town of Muchea, approximately 70 km north of Perth. It is located within the Swan Natural Resource Management Region (TSSC 2009aa).

The extent of occurrence of Muchea Bell is estimated to be 1.2 kmē. The area was calculated using information taken from the Western Australia Department of Conservation and Land Management's (WA CALM) Threatened Flora Database (WA CALM 2006).

There are insufficient data to calculate the actual area of occupancy but it is estimated to be approximately 0.03 kmē (TSSC 2009aa). The distance between the most northern and southern populations is approximately 4 kmē. A population north of Muchea, recorded in 1960, has since been cleared indicating a past decline in area of occupancy of this species. There are no data indicating what proportion of the species was cleared (WA CALM 2006).

The species' distribution is very restricted and severely fragmented, as the known populations are small and exist within patches of remnant vegetation surrounded by cleared land (WA CALM 2006).

Collections of this species in the Western Australian Herbarium date from 1927 (WA CALM 2006).

An extensive survey of the Swan Coastal Plain in 1983, recorded Muchea Bell as a newly discovered species of Darwinia. Two populations were found during this survey, however it appears that one is the same location of a collection from 1960, which has since been cleared (WA CALM 2006).

In 1994, a new population was found in remnant vegetation within the Muchea area. A year later the third known population was discovered and a full survey was conducted in 2001 (WA CALM 2006).

The three known populations were surveyed in 2002 which resulted in locating more plants at one of the populations (WA CALM 2006).

A final survey in 2006 found 185 seedlings only, at one of the populations where mature individuals had previously been recorded (TSSC 2009aa; WA CALM 2006).

The estimated total number of mature individuals is at least 1300 (WA DEC 2008).

The species is known from three populations: one occurs within a nature reserve; one within a water reserve; and one is spread over two privately owned properties (WA DEC 2008).

There are insufficient data to determine historic or current population trends in the Muchea Bell. However, some historic decline is known to have occurred, through the clearing of one known population that was recorded in 1960 (WA CALM 2006). There are no data indicating the size of this population and therefore what proportion of the species was cleared (TSSC 2009aa).

It is likely that there has been a decline in the species' numbers in more recent times, due to grazing by rabbits, weed invasion, changes in hydrology, inappropriate fire regimes, further vegetation clearance and dieback caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi, which may continue in the future. However, there are no quantitative data available to substantiate the decline (TSSC 2009aa).

The species is only known from a restricted area of distribution in the Muchea area where all known subpopulations experience severe threats of weed invasion, grazing and prescribed burning. Therefore, all known subpopulations would be considered important for the species recovery and long-term survival (Evans et al. 2003).

One population of Muchea Bell is situated within a nature reserve and one is located within a water reserve (WA CALM 2006).

Muchea Bell occurs in grey-white sand on swampy, seasonally wet sites. Plants are found alongside sump land, that is, land acting as a pit or well where water collects (WA CALM 2006).

The species is found on winter-damp to wet clay under Regelia inops and Kunzea recurva tall shrubland, over Pink-flowered Myrtle (Hypocalymma angustifolium) low shrubland or low Melaleuca spp. shrubland (Keighery 2009).

The flowering period for this species is from October to November. The pollinating mechanism is unknown (TSSC 2009as). Adult Muchea Bell plants are killed by fire. The plant regenerates from soil-stored seed and flowering occurs two years after a summer fire (Keighery 2009).

The primary current threat to Muchea Bell is grazing by rabbits. Other threats include weed invasion, changes in hydrology, inappropriate fire regimes and dieback caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi.

Rabbits
Despite evidence of grazing by the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), there is no quantitative information on the impact of grazing on Muchea Bell, or what proportion of the populations are being grazed.

Weeds
Weed infestations have been observed adjacent to some of the Muchea Bell populations. Weeds suppress early plant growth by competing for soil moisture, nutrients and light. They also may exacerbate grazing pressure and increase the fire hazard due to the easy ignition of high fuel loads, which are produced annually by many weed species. The species that potentially pose the greatest threat to the Muchea Bell populations are likely to be grass species such as Wild Oats (Avena sp.) and Veldt Grass (Ehrharta sp.) (WA CALM 2006) and also Arum Lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) (TSSC 2009aa).

Hydrological Change
Changes in hydrology are a potential threat as the species depends on seasonally moist soil, therefore if the water table either rises or falls inconsistently with historic seasonal flow, it may result in the death of plants. Installation of water bores, irrigation and clearing of vegetation may cause changes in local hydrology. Drought may also impact upon this species (TSSC 2009aa).

Fire
Inappropriate fire regimes are a further potential threat as mature plants are killed by fire and the species recruits by soil-stored seed following fire; frequent fires may prevent the accumulation of sufficient seed, and/or reduce the vigour of the adult plants (WA CALM 2006).

Vegetation Clearing
An additional historic and potential threat is vegetation clearance, which has occurred within the species' range since the 1960s. Muchea Bell is known to occur close to tracks and firebreaks, where accidental destruction of plants may occur during track or firebreak maintenance (WA CALM 2006).

Phytophthora cinnamomi
Although the impact of Phytophthora cinnamomi on Muchea Bell is currently unknown, dieback caused by the root-rot pathogen is a potential threat to Muchea Bell (TSSC 2009aa).

Minister's reasons for recovery plan decision

A recovery plan for this species is not considered to be necessary at this time as the approved conservation advice provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against key threats (2009).

Other recovery actions

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J. Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (TSSC 2009ab) outlines priority research and actions including:

  • Design and implement a monitoring program.
  • More precisely assess population size, distribution, ecological requirements and the relative impacts of threatening processes.
  • Undertake survey work in suitable habitat and potential habitat to locate any additional populations/occurrences/remnants.
  • Undertake seed germination and/or vegetative propagation trials to determine the requirements for successful establishment.
  • Monitor known populations to identify key threats.
  • Monitor the progress of recovery, including the effectiveness of management actions and the need to adapt them if necessary.
  • Control access routes to suitably constrain public access to known sites on public land.
  • Suitably control and manage access on private land.
  • Minimise adverse impacts from land use at known sites.
  • Manage threats to areas of vegetation that contain populations/occurrences/remnants of the Muchea Bell.
  • Ensure chemicals or other mechanisms used to eradicate weeds do not have a significant adverse impact on the Muchea Bell.
  • Ensure road widening and maintenance activities in areas where the Muchea Bell occurs do not adversely impact on known populations.
  • Manage any changes to hydrology that may result in changes to the water table levels, increased run-off, sedimentation or pollution.
  • Manage any disruptions to water flows.
  • Protect populations of the listed species through the development of conservation agreements and/or covenants.
  • Identify and remove weeds in the local area, which could become a threat to the Muchea Bell using appropriate methods.
  • Manage sites to prevent introduction of invasive weeds, which could become a threat to the Muchea Bell, using appropriate methods.
  • Prevent grazing pressure at known sites on leased crown land through exclusion fencing or other barriers to prevent rabbit grazing.
  • Implement an appropriate fire management regime for local populations.
  • Identify appropriate intensity and interval of fire to promote seed germination.
  • Provide maps of known occurrences to local and state rural fire services and seek inclusion of mitigative measures in bush fire risk management plan(s), risk register and/or operation maps.
  • Implement suitable hygiene protocols to protect known populations and sites from outbreaks of dieback caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi.
  • Raise awareness of the Muchea Bell within the local community.
  • Undertake appropriate seed collection and storage.
  • Investigate options for linking, enhancing or establishing additional populations.
  • Implement national translocation protocols (Vallee et al. 2004) if establishing additional populations is considered necessary and feasible.

Documents relevant to the management and recovery of Muchea Bell include the Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (TSSC 2009ab), the Threat abatement plan for disease in natural ecosystems caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi (DEWHA 2009w) and the Threat abatement plan for competition and land degradation by rabbits (DEWHA 2008adh).

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 Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ab) [Conservation Advice].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Droughts:Natural and artifically induced reductions to surface water availability Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009aa) [Listing Advice].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat loss, modification and/or degradation Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009aa) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Oryctolagus cuniculus (Rabbit, European Rabbit) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009aa) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ab) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Zantedeschia aethiopica (Arum Lily, Calla Lily, White Arum Lily, Lily of the Nile, Egyptian Lily, Jack in the Pulpit, Florist's Calla, Garden Calla, Pig Lily, Trumpet Lily, St Joseph's Arum Lily, Funeral Flowe, Death Lily) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009aa) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Ehrharta erecta (Panic Veldtgrass) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009aa) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Avena fatua (Wild Oats) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009aa) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009aa) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ab) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Vegetation and habitat loss caused by dieback Phytophthora cinnamomi Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009aa) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ab) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes and water quality Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009aa) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ab) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Extraction of ground water Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009aa) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Habitat degradation caused by firebreak construction and/or maintenance Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009aa) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009ab) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate prescribed regimes and/or vegetation management to control fire regimes Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009aa) [Listing Advice].

Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH) (2009). Australian Plant Census. [Online]. Australian National Herbarium, Australian National Botanic Gardens and Australian Biological Resources Study . Available from: http://www.anbg.gov.au/chah/apc/.

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) (2008adh). Threat abatement plan for competition and land degradation by rabbits. [Online]. Canberra, ACT: Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/rabbits08.html.

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) (2009w). Threat abatement plan for disease in natural ecosystems caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi. [Online]. Canberra; ACT: Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/phytophthora.html.

Evans, R., N. Willers & D. Mitchell (2003). Threatened flora of the Swan Region. Unpublished report to the Department of Conservation and Land Management and Environment Australia.

Keighery, G.J. (2009). Six new and rare species of Darwinia (Myrtaceae) from Western Australia. Nuytsia. 19(1):37-52.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2009aa). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/82443-listing-advice.pdf.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2009ab). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Darwinia sp. Muchea (B.J.Keighery 2458) (Muchea Bell). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/82443-conservation-advice.pdf.

Vallee, L., T. Hogbin, L. Monks, B. Makinson, M. Matthes & M. Rossetto (2004). Guidelines for the translocation of threatened plants in Australia - Second Edition. Canberra, ACT: Australian Network for Plant Conservation.

Western Australia Department of Conservation and Land Management (WA CALM) (2006). Records held in CALM's Declared Flora Database and rare flora files. Perth, Western Australia: WA CALM.

Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC) (2008). Records held in DEC's Declared Flora Database and rare flora files. Perth, Western Australia: WA DEC.

Western Australian Herbarium (2006). Florabase - The Western Australian Flora. [Online]. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/.

EPBC Act email updates can be received via the Communities for Communities newsletter and the EPBC Act newsletter.

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). Darwinia foetida in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Fri, 22 Aug 2014 23:19:54 +1000.