Specialist Group highlights two new threatened stickleback species

    An Amur stickleback. Wikimedia Commons

    An Amur stickleback. Wikimedia Commons

The IUCN Seahorse, Pipefish and Stickleback Specialist Group (SPS SG) has contributed conservation assessments of 20 species, including two new threatened sticklebacks, to the latest Red List update.

Published twice yearly, the update highlights the threats facing animal and plant species worldwide, as well as successes in their conservation.

We assessed the Amur stickleback (Pungitius sinensis), a fish species found in Russia and east Asia, as Vulnerable, due to pollution and habitat loss, while we determined the Pungitius stenurus (no common name), to be Endangered, due mainly to its tiny geographic range. The species inhabits a single lake in Inner Mongolia, China, which in recent years has come under increasing pressure from human activity.

These two sticklebacks are among 22,784 plant and animal species threatened with extinction on the Red List.

Calling the Red List Update “a wake-up call, reminding us that our natural world is becoming increasingly vulnerable,” Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General, added that “[t]he international community must urgently step up conservation efforts if we want to secure this fascinating diversity of life that sustains, inspires and amazes us every day.”

The other 18 species assessed by the SPS SG include one Critically Endangered species — the Greek ninespine stickleback, or P. hellenicus, whose conservation status did not change from the previous Red List Assessment — as well as two ‘Vulnerable’ species: the tiger tail seahorse, or Hippocampus comes, and the three-spot seahorse, or H. trimaculatus (also no change).

Here is the complete list (species assessed for the first time marked with an asterisk):

Gasterosteus aculeatus LC
*Gasterosteus wheatlandi LC
*Pungitius bussei DD
Pungitius hellenicus CR
*Pungitius polyakovi NT
*Pungitius sinensis VU
*Pungitius stenurus EN
*Aulostomus chinensis LC
*Aulostomus strigosus LC
*Choeroichthys brachysoma LC
*Choeroichthys latispinosus DD
*Doryrhamphus aurolineatus DD
Hippocampus comes VU
*Hippocampus montebelloensis DD
Hippocampus trimaculatus VU
*Syngnathus californiensis LC
*Syngnathus euchrous DD
*Syngnathus exilis LC
*Syngnathus fuscus LC
*Syngnathus leptorhynchus LC

You can read more about the IUCN Red List Update here.