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Agency Draft Recovery Plan for Catesbaea Melanocarpa Available for Review


September 27, 2004

Lilibeth Serrano, 787-851-7297 ext. 239
Marelisa Rivera,
787-851-7297, ext. 231


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking public comments on an Agency Draft Recovery Plan to conserve the plant, Catesbaea melanocarpa which is federally listed as endangered. This plant has no common name, and the last documented sighting in Puerto Rico occurred in 1995 in the southwestern town of Cabo Rojo. The recovery plan describes actions considered necessary for the conservation of this species, establishes criteria for recognizing the recovery levels for downlisting from endangered to threatened, and estimates the time and cost for implementing the recovery measures needed. Catesbaea melanocarpa was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, on March 17, 1999.

Catesbaea melanocarpa is a small branching shrub which may reach approximately 9.8 feet (3 meters) in height with small leaves and spines. The flowers are white and funnel-like. This plant is extremely rare and is known from Puerto Rico, St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), Barbuda, Antigua, and Guadeloupe. In the U.S. Caribbean, it is known from only one individual in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico and about 100 individuals in one location in St. Croix, USVI. It occurs in the subtropical dry forest life zone, the driest life zone in Puerto Rico and the USVI. Little is known of the plant’s status on the islands of Bermuda, Antigua, and Guadeloupe. All known Catesbaea melanocarpa plants in Puerto Rico and the USVI occur on privately-owned lands.

“Once a plant is gone, it is gone forever,” said Marelisa Rivera, a biologist with the Service’s Boqueron, Puerto Rico Field Office. “We hope to partner with researchers and start looking for this valuable plant and avoid losing it.”

This species is threatened by habitat destruction or modification for residential and tourist development, fire, and catastrophic natural events such as hurricanes. Because the species is extremely rare, the risk of extinction is high.

Please Send Written Comments About the Catesbaea Melanocarpa Recovery Plan
by November 26, 2004 to:

Caribbean Field Office
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 491
Boquerón, PR 00622

Need a Copy of the Plan? Call 787-851-7297, ext. 231 to request a copy or send a written request to the address above

To View the Plan on the web:

1. visit
2. Search under “List Sorted by Species” and then under “Flowering Plants”.
3. Look for Catesbaea melanocarpa under “n” (for no common name).

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which is comprised of more than 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management offices, and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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