Journal Title/Source

Journal of Insect Conservation

Publication Date




Page Numbers


DOI (if applicable)

DOI 10.1007/s10841-014-9660-6

Document Type

Journal Article




The IUCN Red List of threatened species is biased towards vertebrate animals, a major limitation on its utility for overall biodiversity assessment. There is a need to increase the representation of invertebrates (currently 21 % of species assessed on the List;\1 % of all invertebrates). A prioritisation system of terrestrial and freshwater groups is presented here, categorising taxa by species richness, assessment practicality, value for human land use and bioindication, and potential to act as conservation flagships. 25 major taxonomic groupings were identified as priorities, including the Annelida, Arthropoda, Mollusca and Onycophora. Of these, the high-level taxa that emerge as highest priorities are Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), Araneae (spiders), Mantophasmatodea (heelwalkers), Plecoptera (stoneflies), non-marine Mollusca (Bivalvia and Gastropoda), Trichoptera (caddisflies), Coleoptera (beetles), Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies), Oligochaetes (earthworms), Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets), Decapoda (crayfish, crabs, shrimps) and Diptera (flies). Of these Red Listing is well advanced for Decapoda, freshwater Mollusca and Odonata. This leaves eight higher taxa with currently a minimum or patchy Red List assessment coverage. We recommend that Red List assessments in future focus on these groups, as well as completion of assessments for terrestrial Molluscs and Odonata. However, we also recommend realism, and as some of groups are very large, it will be necessary to focus on subsets such as certain functionally important or charismatic taxa or on a sampled subset which is representative of a larger taxon.

Included in

Zoology Commons