Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Opuntia abjecta occurs in Florida, USA, on Long Key, Crawl Key and Big Pine Key (Majure et al. in prep.). A fourth subpopulation was recorded on Big Munson Island, Florida (K. Bradley pers. obs.) but was not found during recent field work in 2010 and is thought to be extirpated from the area.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species mainly occurs in depressions in Key Largo limestone (Britton & Rose 1919).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
CR
Critically Endangered

Red List Criteria
B1ab(iii); C2a(i)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Majure, L. & Griffith, P.

Reviewer/s
Chanson, J.S. & Goettsch, B.K.

Contributor/s

Justification
Opuntia abjecta is listed as Critically Endangered because it is known from three locations and its extent of occurrence is approximately 65 km2. Two populations are comprised of fewer than 50 mature individuals. Habitat quality is negatively affected by disturbance from humans, key deer, and non-native invasive plant species that reduce sexual reproductive capability.
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Population

Population
Population trends are unknown. At the Long Key site, 20 mature individuals were recorded. At the Crawl Key site, 36 mature individuals were recorded. Maturity cannot be estimated on Big Pine Key because sexual reproduction has not been observed. However, there may be as many as 60 mature individuals. Populations are fragmented and demographic exchange among populations is unlikely (L. Majure pers. comm 2011).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Cactoblastis cactorum is a major threat to this species. Habitat destruction on Big Pine Key is exacerbated by a nearby fishing camp and road widening adjacent to the population. Kalanchoe, a non-native species, is encroaching on the rockland habitat at Big Pine Key. Sea level rise from climate change is a potential future threat. Key Deer have been observed to have adverse effects on the Big Pine Key population, through both herbivory and disturbance.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The Big Pine Key population is in a federal wildlife reserve. Part of the Long Key population is in a state park. This species is considered endangered in the state of Florida, but is listed under O. triacantha.
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