IUCN Species of the Day: Pemba Featherleg

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)

Photo credit: Viola Clausnitzer


The Pemba Featherleg, Platycnemis pembipes, is classified as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This fragile black and white damselfly, named for its white quill-like shins, was first discovered in 2001 on the island of Pemba, just off the coast of Tanzania.

Remarkably, the nearest relative of the Pemba Featherleg occurs on Madagascar, 1,000 km away. Although the species might have reached Pemba from afar aided by strong monsoons, recent studies suggest that it may be the survivor of an ancient African fauna that is now otherwise confined to Madagascar. The Pemba Featherleg only inhabits the single stream flowing through Pemba’s last scrap of forest. The island was forest-covered until clearing began for cash crop plantations (cloves and cardamon), and now just a few square kilometres of forest remain.

The Ngezi Forest attained Forest Reserve status in 1959, however the Pemba Featherleg will certainly become extinct if the remaining forest on the island is not conserved.


Geographic Range of the Pemba Featherleg

Credit: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™


To learn more about the Pemba Featherleg, click here.  Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.

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