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Conserv Biol. 2009 Oct;23(5):1214-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01245.x. Epub 2009 May 18.

Not knowing, not recording, not listing: numerous unnoticed mollusk extinctions.

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  • 1Muséum National d'Histoire naturelle, Département Systématique et Evolution-Malacologie-USM 602, Case postale 51, 55 rue Buffon, 75231 Paris, Cedex 05, France.


Mollusks are the group most affected by extinction according to the 2007 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, despite the group having not been evaluated since 2000 and the quality of information for invertebrates being far lower than for vertebrates. Altogether 302 species and 11 subspecies are listed as extinct on the IUCN Red List. We reevaluated mollusk species listed as extinct through bibliographic research and consultation with experts. We found that the number of known mollusk extinctions is almost double that of the IUCN Red List. Marine habitats seem to have experienced few extinctions, which suggests that marine species may be less extinction prone than terrestrial and freshwater species. Some geographic and ecologic biases appeared. For instance, the majority of extinctions in freshwater occurred in the United States. More than 70% of known mollusk extinctions took place on oceanic islands, and a one-third of these extinctions may have been caused precipitously by introduction of the predatory snail Euglandina rosea. We suggest that assessment of the conservation status of invertebrate species is neglected in the IUCN Red List and not managed in the same way as for vertebrate species.

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