This species from the granitic Seychelles occurs on Mahé and Silhouette Islands. An old record for Praslin Island might be erroneous and is not mapped. On Mahé and Silhouette, it has been found only above 280 m asl. It is known from only ten localities (excluding Praslin), combined into two threat-defined locations (one for each island). Using its range as a proxy, the extent of occurrence (EOO) has been estimated as 44 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
It lives in relatively undisturbed, usually forested sites. It burrows in damp soil and leaf-litter. Unlike other caecilian species in the Seychelles, it is not recorded from near urban areas or houses, thus it is expected to have low tolerance to habitat disturbance. It probably breeds by larval development in streams and pools, but this is not confirmed.
It is not a common species and it is rarely found; it was last collected in 1991 and has neither been seen nor searched for since (J. Gerlach pers. comm. November 2012).
Assuming that soil moisture and temperature maintained by vegetation is important for the species, deforestation is considered a past threat to the species. The current possible threat is habitat degradation, primarily caused by accidental fires and invasive plant species. One prevalent invasive plant species is Cinnamomum verum, which was introduced in commercial plantations and is now widespread, modifying habitat by dominating forest composition, changing soil and leaf litter chemistry, thus resulting in poor soil fauna (J. Gerlach pers. comm. November 2012).
While the species is known from protected areas, these are not effectively managed. It occurs in the Morne Seychellois National Park on Mahé Island and the Silhouette National Park on Silhouette Island. The Silhouette National Park is currently unmanaged because the Silhouette Conservation Project previously run there by Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles was closed down in 2010; its purpose was research and conservation of all non-marine biodiverisity, including research on caecilians and a conservation focus on controlling invasive species and restoring habitats; all such action has currently ceased (J. Gerlach pers. comm. November 2012).
In view of its intolerance of habitat disturbance, increased habitat and site protection, and invasive species management are urgently needed throughout its range; the restoration of its previously deforested rainforest habitat is also recommended. Further research is needed on the species population status, natural history and threats.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated at 44 km2, it is considered to occur in two threat-defined locations and the quality of its habitat is decreasing. As invasive plant species are gradually increasing their presence across the islands and because, thus far, the evidence available supports the notion that Praslinia cooperi is not particularly tolerant to habitats modified by invasives, this is a precautionary listing. Should further research be conducted on this species' habitat preferences, tolerance to habitat degradation or should surveys find the species to be more widespread, this assessment may need to be revised.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, 2013. Praslinia cooperi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T59590A20480391. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T59590A20480391.en .Downloaded on 12 December 2018