Sicyos villosa


 
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Galapagos Bur Cucumber
(Sicyos villosa)

 
syn. -

 
distribution:

Ecuador: Isla Floreana (Isla Santa Maria, Charles Island) / Galápagos Islands

 
local name: -

 
size: (?)

extinction date: after 1853

 
This species is only known from the typus material, which was collected in the year 1853 by Charles Darwin on the island of Floreana. He wrote the following note on his herbar sheet.: "... in great beds injurious to vegetation ...."

The Bur Cucumber obviously must have been quite common at that time.

The reason for the complete extinction of this species lies in all likelihood in the feral goats, which until very recently could spread unfettered all over nearly every single island in the Galápagos Archipelago.

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In 2006 a program for the eradication of feral goats (and donkeys) on the island of Floreana was started, which in several years before had been proven to be very successful on other islands of the archipelago. During this campaign the number of goats shot on Floreana alone was 1334 in the year 2008.

Unfortunately goats are still illegally released on the islands.

 
References:

- Ira Loren Wiggins; Duncan M. Porter; Edward F. Anderson: Flora of the Galápagos Islands. Stanford University Press; 1971
- Alison Pearn: A Voyage Round the World: Charles Darwin and the Beagle Collections in the University of Cambridge. Cambridge University Press; 2011