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 Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Listing Advice].
 
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afk) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, the Lord Howe Island Biodiversity Management Plan has been adopted as a recovery plan under the EPBC Act and Lord Howe Island is a current World Heritage Area. Therefore the approved conservation advice for this species provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and manage key threats (19/12/2008).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans Threat abatement plan to reduce the impacts of exotic rodents on biodiversity on Australian offshore islands of less than 100 000 hectares 2009 (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2009u) [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 (64) (19/12/2008) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2008f) [Legislative Instrument] as Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica ms.
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178, 181 and 183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (160) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2014h) [Legislative Instrument] as Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica.
 
Scientific name Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica [82864]
Family Helicarionidae:Pulmonata:Gastropoda:Mollusca:Animalia
Species author  
Infraspecies author Iredale, 1944
Reference Hyman, I. 2005. Taxonomy, systematics and evolutionary trends in Helicarionida (Mollusca, Pulmonata). Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Sydney
Other names Gudeoconcha magnifica [81246]
Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica ms [82015]
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

The description of this subspecies is in Hyman (2005), an accepted PhD thesis. It is yet to be published in a scientific journal.

The Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail has a thin, bronze shell with a depressed spire, sculptured with fine ripple marks. Its dimensions are 35 mm in diameter and 20 mm high (Hyman 2005).

The geographic distribution of the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail is now confined only to Mount Gower and Mount Lidgbird on Lord Howe Island. The summit of Mount Lidgbird is estimated to be 400 m by 20 m (0.008 km²) and the summit of Mount Gower approximately 27 ha. Therefore the subspecies' geographic distribution is less than 28 ha in total and is very restricted, given that the species is only located on two mountains, which are on an island (TSSC 2008aet).

The species is suspected to have undergone a reduction in numbers, however there are insufficient data available to judge whether the reduction has been severe or substantial. A total of 76 dead or living specimens of the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail have been lodged with the Australian Museum. This is a very small percentage (0.34%) of the total number of snail specimens in the Museum's collection that have been collected from Lord Howe Island to date, and therefore it may be inferred that the relative abundance of the subspecies is low compared to other snail taxa on the island.

There is some evidence that the subspecies' numbers may have declined over time. Collection records indicate that the number of specimens collected between 1907 and 1915 was 45, but that in recent years the number of specimens collected has decreased (29 specimens collected between 1998 and 2002, predominantly dead specimens). Although the latter is a shorter period of collection, it is concerning that it records no collection from Mount Lidgbird during the last three years of collection, despite the subspecies having been collected there in the past (TSSC 2008aet).

The Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail is endemic to Lord Howe Island, where it is confined to Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower. The total number of mature individuals of the species is likely to have undergone a decline in the historic past due to habitat damage by feral pigs and goats and predation by rats, and may continue to do so due to predation by rats and introduced birds (TSSC 2008aet).

As the species is severely restricted and due to the limited dispersal capability of these species, all populations of the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail are important.

The Lord Howe Island Group is listed as a World Heritage Area (DEWHA undated). Whilst the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail is found within the reserved area in the southern half of the island, their very limited numbers and very restricted distributions make them highly vulnerable to extinction (TSSC 2008aet).

Little is known about the biology and ecology of this species. The generation length of the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail is not known (TSSC 2008aet).

Habitat degradation and modification
The Lord Howe Island Group was listed as a World Heritage Area in 1982 (DEWHA undated). Much of the island is covered in rainforest with about 10% of land area cleared for urban development and agriculture, with a further 20% disturbed by introduced animals and exotic weeds (WWF 2001). The southern half of the island is reserved, and whilst this is where the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail occurs, the restricted distribution of the species makes it highly vulnerable to extinction from on-going threats or catastrophic events.

Feral animals
The key threat to the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail is predation by introduced rats. The Ship Rat (Rattus rattus), also known as the Black Rat, arrived on the island from a wrecked ship in 1918 and has since become well established on Lord Howe Island (DEWHA undated). Ship Rats prey on snail species, and are thought to have been responsible for the significant decline in, and possible extinction of, Placostylus bivaricosus etheridgei on Lord Howe Island (NSW NPWS 2001a; Ponder 1997b). Ship Rats are likely to prey on the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail, though the program of baiting of rats currently undertaken on the island is likely to benefit the species if it persists on Mount Gower and Mount Ligdbird. However, this baiting program is unlikely to completely mitigate the effect of predation by Ship Rats on the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail as it is not undertaken across the species' entire range. Two large species of land snails, Epiglypta howinsulae and Placostylus bivaricosus etheridgei that were restricted to the southern mountains are apparently now extinct, almost certainly due to the activity of the Ship Rat (Ponder 1997b). The New South Wales Scientific Committee has declared predation by the Ship rat on Lord Howe Island as a key threatening process (NSW Scientific Committee 2000a).

Pigs and goats that were introduced to Lord Howe Island by settlers for food later became feral pests (DEWHA undated). Both species caused damage to the surface litter and ground cover in areas where the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail occurred, most notably the trail to Mt Gower (Smithers et al 1977). It is likely that this resulted in a decline in the species' numbers. However, these pest species are no longer likely to be directly impacting on the species, as pigs have now been eliminated from the island, and goats virtually eliminated (DEWHA undated).

Another potential threat to the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail is predation and habitat disturbance by invasive ant species. The African Big Headed Ant (Pheidole megacephala) is present in the northern settlement area of Lord Howe Island and may affect the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail should it invade the area where the species occurs (TSSC 2008aet).

Further potential threats to the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail include introduced birds, particularly the Song Thrush (Turdus philomelas) and Common Blackbird (Turdus merula), which prey upon Placostylus species on Lord Howe Island and may prey on the Magnificent Heliacarionid Land Snail.

Although the habitat of the Magnificent Heliacarionid Land Snail is protected in the reserved southern area of Lord Howe Island, the species is potentially threatened by trampling, disturbance and collection by visitors, habitat damage by weeds and wildfire.

Global warming
The cloud forest on top of Mount Gower is threatened by global warming (UNESCO 2002).

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts has prepared a Conservation Advice for the Magnificent Helicariopid Land Snail, that identifies research and action priorities for the species. These include:

  • Research into the biology and ecology of the species.
  • Monitoring of populations in existing locations and assessing the efficiency of management.
  • Investigating and monitoring the impacts of rodent eradication methods on non-target species and other environmental impacts.
  • Implementation of the Biodiversity Management Plan of Lord Howe Island (TSSC 2008afk).

Minister's Reasons for Recovery Plan decision:

The Lord Howe Island Biodiversity Management Plan has been adopted as a recovery plan under the EPBC Act and Lord Howe Island is a current World Heritage Area. Therefore the approved conservation advice for this species provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and manage key threats. A recovery plan is not considered to be necessary at this time.

A Biodiversity Management Plan of Lord Howe Island (DECC 2007) has been prepared and a Threat Abatement Plan to reduce the impacts of exotic rodents on biodiversity on Australian offshore islands of less than 100 000 ha (Commonwealth of Australia 2008) is in preparation.

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts has also prepared a Conservation Advice for the Magnificent Helicarionid Land Snail (TSSC 2008afk).

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
Biological Resource Use:Gathering Terrestrial Plants:Illegal collection Commonwealth Listing Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Listing Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Soil disturbance and/or trampling due to bushwalking Commonwealth Listing Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [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 Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Rattus rattus (Black Rat, Ship Rat) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation by birds Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afk) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation by rats Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afk) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition, predation and/or habitat degradation Turdus merula (Common Blackbird, Eurasian Blackbird) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition, predation and/or habitat degradation Turdus philomelos (Song Thrush) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition, predation and/or habitat degradation Pheidole megacephala (Big-headed Ant, Coastal Brown Ant, Brown House Ant, Lion Ant) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Capra hircus (Goat) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Sus scrofa (Pig) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Negative impacts caused by insects Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afk) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Listing Advice].

Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) (undated). Heritage Places: Lord Howe Island Group. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahdb/search.pl?mode=place_detailplace_id=105085.

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) (2009u). Threat abatement plan to reduce the impacts of exotic rodents on biodiversity on Australian offshore islands of less than 100 000 hectares 2009. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/exotic-rodents.html.

Hyman, I. (2005a). Taxonomy, systematics and evolutionary trends in Helicarionida (Mollusca,Pulmonata). PhD Thesis. Ph.D. Thesis. Sydney: University of Sydney.

New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS) (2001a). Lord Howe Placostylus Placostylus bivaricosus (Gaskoin 1855) Recovery Plan. Hurstville, New South Wales: New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW DECC) (2007f). Lord Howe Island Biodiversity Management Plan. [Online]. Sydney, NSW: NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/lord-howe/index.html.

Smithers, C., D. McAlpine, P. Colman & M. Gray (1977). Lord Howe Island. Special Issue of Australian Natural History. Page(s) 23-26. Sydney: The Australian Museum.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2008aet). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/82015-listing-advice.pdf.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2008afk). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/82015-conservation-advice.pdf.

UNESCO (2002). Australian National Periodic Report. Section II. Report on the state of conservation of Lord Howe Island. UNESCO Periodic Report 2002 (section II Lord Howe Id). 1-28. Page(s) 1-28.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) (2001). Lord Howe Island subtropical forests (AA0109). Wildworld WWF Full Report. [Online]. World Wildlife Fund. Available from: http://www.worldwildlife.org/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial/aa/aa0109_full.html.

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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). Gudeoconcha sophiae magnifica in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Fri, 1 Aug 2014 10:15:32 +1000.