- Scientific name
- Pilophorus fibula
- (Tuck.) Tuck.
- Common names
- IUCN Specialist Group
- Assessment status
- Assessment date
- IUCN Red List Category
- IUCN Red List Criteria
- Lendemer, J., Allen, J. & McMullin, T.
- Yahr, R.
(Appalachian Matchsticks) warrants listing as endangered under the B2ab(ii,iv) criteria as its AOO is less than 500 square kilometers, its subpopulations are severely fragmented, and there has been a decline in the AOO and number of locations.
is endemic to the Appalachian Mountains and associated mountain ranges of eastern North America where it ranges from the Canadian Maritimes (Newfoundland, New Brunswick; historically in Ontario, Quebec) to New England (historical: Maine, New Hampshire, New York) and south to the southern Appalachians (historical and extant: North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee).
Population and Trends
There are currently nine documented locations of this species, despite frequent surveys by specialists throughout the Appalachian Mountains. J. Lendemer, B. Buck are responsible for seven of the nine total known collections. One collection was made by J. Dey in 1981, just outside of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In all cases, thalli of Appalachian Matchsticks were extremely small and very localized in the field. All of the remaining collections are historical and were made in 1933 and earlier. A drastic reduction in the number of sites has been documented over the past century as there are historical sites throughout the range of the species documented as herbarium specimens where the species no longer occurs. Furthermore, we infer even greater losses in undocumented sites based on the reduction of habitat quality and extent throughout the region. The widespread loss of habitats has led to a severely fragmented distribution.
Population Trend: decreasing
Habitat and Ecology
The distribution of this species is fragmented, and loss and degradation of suitable habitats for it throughout its range have occurred historically. The continued alteration of hydrological regimes is a significant potential threat to this species. As it occurs in habitats that are very popular for recreation (i.e., waterfalls), damage from trampling and other forms of visitation could impact the species. Decreases in water quality negatively impact this species; however, the exact thresholds for pollutants that lead to mortality of the species remain to be studied.
In addition to the large scale fragmentation, loss and degradation of suitable habitats for this species throughout its range where it occurred historically, the continued alteration of hydrological regimes are a significant potential threat to this species. As it occurs in habitats that are very popular for recreation (i.e., waterfalls), damage from trampling and other forms of visitation could impact the species. Decreases in water quality negatively impact this species; however the exact thresholds for pollutants that lead to mortality of the species remain to be studied.
Given the extreme rarity of this species, it is imperative that land managers take immediate action to protect and monitor any known populations of these species. Such populations should be monitored at regular (5 years or less) intervals to ensure longevity and to ensure protection measures are working.
Source and Citation
Lendemer, J., Allen, J. & McMullin, T. 2020. Pilophorus fibula. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T80703047A80703054. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-1.RLTS.T80703047A80703054.en
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