Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 275–296 | Cite as

The status of the invertebrate fauna on the South Atlantic island of St Helena: problems, analysis, and recommendations

  • Alan GrayEmail author
  • Vicky Wilkins
  • David Pryce
  • Liza Fowler
  • Roger S. Key
  • Howard Mendel
  • Michael Jervois
  • Axel Hochkirch
  • Rebecca Cairns-Wicks
  • Amy-Jayne Dutton
  • Lourens Malan
Original Paper


We present an analysis of the invertebrates of St Helena using an invertebrate conservation evaluation framework, to review invertebrate data, highlight knowledge gaps and prioritise invertebrate conservation needs that perhaps could be applied to other regions of the world. St Helena’s invertebrate fauna has 891 genera and 1133 species. The fauna has a high level of endemism with 450 species (equal to 96% of all native species) but the total species richness now comprises many introduced species (664) with 93 species in 24 orders that are entirely novel to St Helena. The elevation ranges of native species appear to be narrow, most being confined to higher elevations above 500 m. St Helena has had a large number of probable extinction events; 30 insects, and 19 molluscs, and the threat of further extinctions remains high. The cumulative invertebrate extinctions on St Helena exceed the global background extinction rate on an island barely covering 122 km2. We present actions and timelines to focus invertebrate conservation on St Helena; taxonomy, ecology, long term monitoring and invasive species control are priority areas to reduce extinction risk.


Extinction Island biodiversity Species richness Endemism Red List 



We would like to thank The Darwin Initiative for funding the data collation for this paper under the project Laying the foundations for invertebrate conservation on St Helena. We would also like to thank Alice Farr, Liza White and the people of St Helena.

Supplementary material

10531_2018_1653_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1571 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Gray
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vicky Wilkins
    • 2
  • David Pryce
    • 3
  • Liza Fowler
    • 4
  • Roger S. Key
    • 5
  • Howard Mendel
    • 6
  • Michael Jervois
    • 4
  • Axel Hochkirch
    • 7
  • Rebecca Cairns-Wicks
    • 8
  • Amy-Jayne Dutton
    • 4
  • Lourens Malan
    • 9
  1. 1.NERC Centre for Ecology and HydrologyPenicuikUK
  2. 2.Mid Atlantic Island Invertebrate Specialist Group, c/o IUCNCambridgeUK
  3. 3.LevelwoodSt Helena Island
  4. 4.St Helena National TrustJamestownSt Helena Island
  5. 5.The Old Black BullBedaleUK
  6. 6.Natural History MuseumLondonUK
  7. 7.Department of BiogeographyTrier UniversityTrierGermany
  8. 8.Mount Pleasant HouseSandy BaySt Helena Island
  9. 9.Environmental Management DivisionSt Helena GovernmentJamestownSt Helena Island

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