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 Corunastylis littoralis
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
 
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011m) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, the approved conservation advice for the species provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against against key threats (02/02/2011).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Policy Statements and Guidelines Draft survey guidelines for Australia's threatened orchids (Department of the Environment, 2013b) [Admin Guideline].
 
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 (99) (02/02/2011) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011j) [Legislative Instrument] as Corunastylis littoralis.
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:Threatened Species Profile- Genoplesium littorale Tuncurry Midge Orchid (NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW OEH), 2012f) [Internet].
NSW:Genoplesium littorale - critically endangered species listing- final determination (NSW Scientific Committee (NSW SC), 2009) [State Action Plan].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Critically Endangered (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list) as Genoplesium littorale
Scientific name Genoplesium littorale [84693]
Family Orchidaceae:Orchidales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author D.L.Jones
Infraspecies author  
Reference Jones, D.L. (2001) Six new species and a new combination in Genoplesium R.Br. (Orchidaceae) from eastern Australia. The Orchadian 13(7): 297-299, Fig. 3 [tax. nov.]
Other names Corunastylis littoralis [82945]
Genoplesium littoralis [84694]
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: Corunastylis littoralis

Common name: Tuncurry Midge Orchid

Conventionally accepted as Corunastylis littoralis (CHAH 2012).

The Tuncurry Midge Orchid is a small terrestrial orchid with a single, cylindrical leaf 10—25 cm long and 0.15 cm in diameter, that encloses a flowering stem 10—30 cm tall that bears 5—30 flowers in a moderately dense spike, 1.5—3 cm long. The leaf is dark green with a reddish base. Flowers range from mostly green, reddish brown to dark purple and are approximately 0.5 cm in diameter (Jones 2001b; NSW OEH 2012f).

The Tuncurry Midge Orchid is only known from a small area of the mid-North coast of New South Wales, in the Forster/Tuncurry area; Great Lakes district. Three populations are recorded (NSW SC 2009; Paget 2008; RPS 2010):

  • North Tuncurry
  • West of Wallamba River
  • Booti Booti National Park (NP).

The Tuncurry Midge Orchid is found at one location, with an extent of occurrence and area of occupancy equal to 8 km2 (NSW SC 2009). This calculation includes historical areas in which the species has not been recorded since 1996 (Paget 2008).

The populations of Tuncurry Midge Orchid can be considered fragmented by topographic (rivers and lakes), geographic (distance between populations) and anthropogenic (townships) barriers (RPS 2010). A distance of approximately ten kilometres separates the Booti Booti NP population from North Tuncurry and the West of Wallamba River populations. It is likely that the fungus gnats (Diptera mycetophilidae) which pollinate the Tuncurry Midge Orchid would not be able to move between the Booti Booti NP population and the two other populations (RPS 2010). Therefore, the populations can be considered to be discrete.

Detailed surveys of known populations in 2008 recorded a population size of 582 plants, with an estimate that surrounding suitable habitat may hold 600—1200 additional plants, giving a total population estimate of 1298—1898 individuals (Paget 2008). Further surveys and calculations based on available habitat in 2010 suggested that approximately 1960 plants exists, with 92% of those being located at the colony at North Tuncurry between the Tuncurry Tip Yard and Tuncurry TAFE (1812 individuals) (RPS 2010).

The population found between Tuncurry Tip and Tuncurry TAFE is considered to be highly important for the long-term survival of the species.

One population is known in Booti Booti NP, consisting of 90 individuals (Paget 2008; RPS 2010).

The Tuncurry Midge Orchid is known only from coastal heath, most often found on open, dryish, low sand ridges that have little ground cover other than leaf litter, moss, lichens or graminoids (sedges and rushes). Associated heath species include Tree Broom-heath (Monotoca elliptica), Daphne Heath (Brachyloma daphnoides), Straggly Baekea (Ochrosperma lineare) and Banksia spp. The species is also found in Coastal Tea-tree (Leptospermum laevigatum) thickets and in Blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) woodland (Jones 2006; NSW OEH 2012f; Paget 2008).

The species is also known to grow around the base of shrubs, which provide a competitive root zone and dry area, and which may also harbour the symbiotic fungi which the orchids live in association with (Paget 2008).

The Tuncurry Midge Orchid is estimated to reach sexual maturity between 2—3 years and may survive up to 15 years (TSSC 2011).  The flowering period is from March to May (Jones 2006) and the species is pollinated by fungal gnats (Diptera mycetophilidae). Approximately 2—12 seed pods form on plants after flowering. The above-ground parts of the plant die back following seed development and the species exists as an underground tuber for most of the year (Jones 2006).

The Tuncurry Midge Orchid is best surveyed from February to May, when the species is in flower (NSW OEH 2012f).

Identified threats to the Tuncurry Midge Orchid include (NSW OEH 2012f; NSW SC 2009; Paget 2008):

Habitat loss and degradation

Loss and degradation of habitat and adjacent areas has historically occurred for developments such as the Tuncurry Tip expansion and associated clearing to the south, the Tuncurry TAFE and associated clearing to the north and east, and the clearing to the east of the Tuncurry Caravan Park. These developments have seen direct loss of habitat and associated 'edge effects' such as increased light penetration, soil nutrient increases, and weed invasion into adjacent habitat. Careful planning of works along the underground pipeline near the population at Tuncurry Tip and the power easement approximately 75 m east of The Lakes Way is required toensure no significant habitat degradation occurs. Development of residential blocks in the Tuncurry district is also a threat as all known habitat of the species identified in the Draft Mid North Coast Regional Planning Strategy and Forster/Tuncurry Conservation and Development Strategy (Great Lakes Council 2003; NSW DoP 2006) are areas for possible future residential development. Slashing, clearing or maintenance works may impact on the orchid if undertaken in the flowering-seeding period and increase the impact of exotic weeds.

Illegal rubbish dumping, four-wheel driving and beach access through the crown land where the species occurs is responsible for physical damage to individuals and modification of habitat of the Tuncurry Midge Orchid.

Weed invasion

A number of weed species threaten the Tuncurry Midge Orchid through habitat modification or competition. Significant infestations of Loblolly Pines (Pinus taeda) and exotic grasses (such as African Lovegrass, Eragrostis curvula and Whiskey Grass, Andropogon virginicus) have become established in and around the area in which the species is known, causing modification of the orchid habitat through shade, competition, and dense pine needle leaf litter deposition.

Invasion of coastal vegetation by Bitou Bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. rotaundata), Asparagus Fern (Asparagus densiflorus) and succulents such as Mother of Millions/Bryophyllums (Bryophyllum spp., including B. delagoense, B. pinnatum) impact on the Tuncurry Midge Orchid through competition, alteration of habitat and damage caused by weed control works. Whilst most of the habitat of the species occurs on sand ridges, adjacent moist low-lying areas have some scattered occurrences of Lantana and Camphor Laurel. In a few locations these infestations pose a risk to the ridge areas due to their spread, shading and the allelopathic chemicals exuded from roots, and dense leaf litter deposited by Camphor Laurels (Cinnamomum camphora).

Feral animal impacts

A high density of the Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was identified east of the Tuncurry Caravan Park (between the fore dune and hind dune) which has the potential to impact on the orchid population through browsing and digging. Additionally, Feral Pigs (Sus scrofa), if in the area, may dig up and destroy the orchid tubers.

Minister's reasons for recovery plan decision

A recovery plan for the species is not considered to be necessary at this time, as the approved conservation advice for the species provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against key threats (TSSC 2011m).

Recovery actions

The NSW Office of Environment & Heritage (NSW OEH 2012f) identify the following actions to assist in protection of the Tuncurry Midge Orchid:

  • Control invasive weed species that may compete with the Tuncurry Midge Orchid.
  • Avoid further clearing of habitat.
  • Avoid burning habitat when plants are flowering from January through to March, with a fire management interval of every 5 years during the orchid's dormancy period (e.g. May-November).

Management documents for the Tuncurry Midge Orchid are 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
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat loss, modification and/or degradation Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat modification, destruction and alteration due to changes in land use patterns Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Mechanical disturbance during construction, maintanance or recreational activities Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [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 Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Eragrostis curvula (African Lovegrass, Weeping Lovegrass, Weeping Love Grass, Boer Lovegrass, Weeping Grass) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Andropogon virginicus (Whisky Grass, Broomsedge) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Bryophyllum tubiflorum (Mother-of-millions) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Lantana camara (Lantana, Common Lantana, Kamara Lantana, Large-leaf Lantana, Pink Flowered Lantana, Red Flowered Lantana, Red-Flowered Sage, White Sage, Wild Sage) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [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 Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Chrysanthemoides monilifera (Bitou Bush, Boneseed) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Cinnamomum camphora (Camphor Laurel, Camphor Tree, Gum Camphor, True Camphor, Japanese Camphor, Formosa Camphor, Shiu Leaf) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [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 Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Predation/competition by introduced species Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Pollution:Garbage and Solid Waste:Dumping of household and industrial waste Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Residential and Commercial Development:Commercial and Industrial Areas:Recreational, commercial and industrial development Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Residential and Commercial Development:Residential and Commercial Development:Land reclamation and soil dumping due to urban and industrial development Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Utility and Service Lines:Powerline easement maintenance and construction; mortality due to collision with powerlines Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011l) [Listing Advice].

Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH) (2010). 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/.

Great Lakes Council (2003). Forster/Tuncurry Conservation and Development Strategy. Great Lakes Council. Forster.

Jones, D.L. (2001b). Six New Species and a New Combination in Genoplesium R.Br. (Orchidaceae) from eastern Australia. The Orchadian. 13(7):304-307.

Jones, D.L. (2006). A complete guide to Native Orchids of Australia, including the island Territories. Sydney, NSW: New Holland Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd.

NSW Department of Planning (NSW DoP) (2006). Draft Mid North Coast Regional Strategy. [Online]. Available from: http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/plansforaction/pdf/draft_mncrs_document.pdf.

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW OEH) (2012f). Threatened Species Profile- Genoplesium littorale Tuncurry Midge Orchid. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspecies/.

NSW Scientific Committee (NSW SC) (2009). Genoplesium littorale - critically endangered species listing- final determination. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/determinations/genoplesiumlittoraleFD.htm.

Paget, A. (2008). Results of searches for the Tuncurry Midge Orchid (Genoplesium littorale, syn. Corunastylis littoralis). [Online]. Report to the NSW Scientific Committee, Sydney. Available from: http://www.floragreatlakes.info/files/report.mht.

RPS (2010). Tuncurry Midge Orchid Information. Report to DEWHA. RPS Australia East. Newcastle. Unpublished.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2011l). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid). [Online]. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Canberra, ACT: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/82945-listing-advice.pdf.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2011m). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry Midge Orchid). [Online]. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Canberra, ACT: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/82945-conservation-advice.pdf.

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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). Genoplesium littorale in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:02:20 +1000.