The disappearance of 160 species has been declared by the IUCN over the last decade: most had been gone for a long time and their demise can be traced in large part to human impact. The full list of extinct species.
Much like death, extinction is part of life, an inevitable, natural phenomenon that has occurred cyclically throughout our planet’s history. Approximately 99 per cent of species that have walked the Earth are now extinct, having disappeared because of changes in the environment or the appearance of new ones, leading to a constant turnover. The rate of extinction, however, has never been as high as it is today.
According to many experts, the sixth mass extinction is currently taking place. The extent of disappeared species hasn’t yet reached the threshold that characterised previous extinction events, but it’s happening at a faster pace than ever before. Under normal conditions, the “rate of speciation, meaning the birth of new species, is higher than the rate of extinction,” writes science journalist Pietro Greco, and one to ten species disappear each year.
In the last one hundred years, however, these figures have grown exponentially: the current rate of extinction is estimated to be around one thousand species per year. Human activities are, notoriously, the triggering factor behind this phenomenon. In a negligible amount of time we’ve devastated entire ecosystems, hunted many animals to extinction, introduced invasive species, altered the chemical composition of the atmosphere and climactic and chemical balance of the oceans.
Extinction is forever
The list of species that have gone extinct, directly or indirectly, because of Homo sapiens is immense, and requires constant updating. There’s no way back from extinction and the loss of a species determines the definitive disappearance of a particular tile in the mosaic of life, which had evolved and adapted to a certain environment. Overall, it’s a loss for all life on Earth.
The list of species declared extinct in the last decade
During the decade that just ended (2010-2019), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared the extinction of 160 species. These are mostly little-known – perhaps not so charismatic – beings, such as many invertebrates, and most of them have been gone for a long time. Generally, a species can be declared extinct with certainty only after decades without it being sighted. Below is a list of the 160 plants and animals we’ll never see again.
Bettongia anhydra (Desert bettong)
The small marsupial belonged to the Potorous genus. Scientists only ever observed one specimen, in 1933, and it hasn’t been seen since. It’s believed that the decline of the species is linked to the arrival of mice and foxes to Australia. It was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2016.
Conilurus capricornensis (Capricorn rabbit-rat)
The small nocturnal rodent native to Australia, belonging to the Conilurus genus, was described thanks to the retrieval of fossilised remains. Scientists believe it went extinct because of the introduction of cats and changes in land use. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2016.
This canid was once found in the grassy plains of Patagonia and the Pampas, in South America. Fossilised remains found in tombs suggest it may have been domesticated. According to analyses of these fossils, it would appear that the species went extinct between 326 and 496 years ago, possibly because of hunting and competition with domestic dogs. The species was added to the IUCN’s list in 2015.
Leporillus apicalis (Lesser stick-nest rat)
These rats were known for building large nests in their native habitats in southern Australia. The species was already rare at the beginning of the 20th century and disappeared between the 1930s and 1940s, perhaps due to feral cats. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2016.
Melomys rubicola (Bramble Cay melomys)
This small rodent can claim the unenviable posthumous title of being the first mammal species to go extinct directly due to the effects of anthropogenic climate change. It lived exclusively on a small coral island in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea. The animal’s habitat, limited to a surface area of under five hectares and an elevation of less than three metres, suffered from increasingly frequent storms, which gradually destroyed the native vegetation on which the melomys depended. Scientists haven’t spotted a specimen since 2009 and the IUCN declared the species extinct in 2016.
The existence of this rodent was discovered thanks to analysis of craniums found in wads of undigested prey regurgitated by southern Australian owls. The species is said to have gone extinct in the 19th century and the IUCN added it to its list in 2016.
Pennatomys nivalis (Nevis rice rat)
This rodent belonging to the Cricetidae family was the only species in the Pennatomys genus. It lived in the Lesser Antilles and was part of the diet of indigenous inhabitants. It’s likely to have disappeared following the arrival of European colonisers and the non-native mammals they brought, such as rats and mongooses. It was officially declared extinct in 2011.
Pipistrellus murrayi (Christmas Island pipistrelle)
Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, was home to a pipistrelle declared extinct in 2017. In 2008, the population was of only ten individuals. The last specimen of this small bat species, which used to be common on the island, was last seen in 2009. The causes of its extinction aren’t yet clear because the island’s forests have mostly survived the arrival of humans. Scientists believe it may have suffered the introduction of non-native species such as the yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes), oriental wolf snake (Lycodon capucinus), cats and rats. The growing use of insecticides, such as Fipronil, may also have contributed to its decline.
Scientists are aware of the former existence of this large rodent thanks to specimens collected by naturalists in the 1800s. These animals used to live in Australian forests and disappeared around 1850. The IUCN declared the species extinct in 2016.
Sus bucculentus (Indo-Chinese warty pig)
This species of wild pig used to live in Laos and Vietnam. It hasn’t been seen since 1892, although some craniums found in 1995 reignited hopes that the species might still be alive. However, according to genetic analysis the skulls were likely to belong to a different species of wild boar. It was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2016.
Acrocephalus luscinius (Guam reed-warbler)
This small songbird lived in the wetlands of the island of Guam, a US territory in Micronesia, in the western Pacific. Up to 1968 it was a quite common species but afterwards its numbers saw a steep decline as non-native species, such as cats, rats and mulga snakes, were introduced. The warbler also suffered due to the destruction of its habitat and growing use of pesticides. It seems to have disappeared in 1969 and was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2016.
Acrocephalus musae (Forster’s reed-warbler)
This bird used to inhabit the bamboo forests of two French Polynesian islands. It too didn’t survive the introduction of cats and rats into its ecosystem, as well as the arrival of an Asian bird species that became its competitor, the common myna. The IUCN declared this warbler extinct in 2016.
Acrocephalus nijoi (Aguijan reed-warbler)
This warbler belonged to the same family, Acrocephalidae, as the two birds above. Until 1995 it lived on Aguijan, an uninhabited islet belonging to the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Like many island species, these birds also went extinct because of the introduction of non-native species such as cats, rats and lizards by human beings. The IUCN declared the species extinct in 2017.
Acrocephalus yamashinae (Pagan reed-warbler)
This passerine bird was once found in wetlands on the Northern Mariana Islands. The species went extinct before 1980 following the destruction of its fragile habitat, which was then completely lost due to a volcanic eruption in 1981. It was declared extinct in 2016.
Aegolius gradyi (Bermuda saw-whet owl)
The existence of this small owl was only recently proven thanks to the study of fossil remains. It lived on the Bermuda Islands until the 17th century, until colonisers arrived and tore down the trees where it nested, as well as introducing cats and rats. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
Akialoa ellisiana (O’ahu ‘akialoa)
The small bird belonged to the Fringillidae family – commonly known as finches – and had a long, thin and curved beak. It was native to Oahu island in the Hawaiian archipelago, and it was seen for the last time in 1894. This species was highly specialised, and its decline was caused by loss of habitat and the introduction of illnesses carried by mosquitoes. It was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2016.
Akialoa lanaiensis (Lana’i ‘akialoa)
Much like the greater ‘akialoa, the Lana’i ‘akialoa probably went extinct at the end of the 1800s due to the introduction of illnesses and destruction of the forests that gave it shelter and sustenance. It was declared extinct in 2016.
Akialoa stejnegeri (Kaua’i ‘akialoa)
In contrast to the two species above, the Kaua’i ‘akialoa survived far into the 20th century: the last sighting was in 1969. For this bird too, however, the combination of habitat destruction and the introduction of new species proved fatal. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2016.
Alectroenas payandeei (Rodrigues blue-pigeon)
The existence of this bird belonging to the Columbidae family was revealed thanks to analysis of fossilised remains. The species used to inhabit the island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean. It disappeared in the 17th century when passing sailors accidentally introduced mice to the island, causing a rapid decline. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
Aplonis ulietensis (Raiatea starling)
This bird once lived in French Polynesia and is known only thanks to an 18th century painting. It probably went extinct after humans introduced mice to the island, and its disappearance became official in 2016.
Bermuteo avivorus (Bermuda hawk)
This hawk was the last member of the Bermuteo genus. The existence of this bird of prey was discovered thanks to the study of fossil remains dating back to the 17th century. It’s believed to have disappeared due to hunting and the introduction of non-native species. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
Chenonetta finschi (Finsch’s duck)
The forests of New Zealand were once home to a large duck that was almost incapable of flying, a fact that scientists established thanks to fossils found on the island. The bird is thought to have gone extinct around 1500 because of hunting and the introduction of invasive species. It was added to the IUCN’s extinct species list in 2017.
Coenocorypha barrierensis (North Island snipe)
This snipe native to New Zealand was seen for the last time in 1870. The introduction of mammals to the island probably caused its extinction. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2016.
Coenocorypha iredalei (South Island snipe)
This bird, part of the sandpiper family (Scolopacidae) lived in New Zealand and didn’t survive the introduction of invasive mammals, such as the black rat. The species was declared extinct in 2016.
Colaptes oceanicus (Bermuda flicker)
A woodpecker native to Bermuda, the species was recently described thanks to the retrieval of fossilised remains. It’s believed to have gone extinct in the 17th century following the arrival of European colonists, who felled the trees it lived in and introduced non-native species. The bird was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2017.
Columba thiriouxi (Mauritius wood pigeon)
This small wood pigeon lived undisturbed on the island of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, until 1730. Its extinction was probably caused by hunting and the arrival of black rats. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2017.
Dryolimnas augusti (Reunion rail)
This flightless bird that looked similar to a chicken lived on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. Declared extinct in 2014, it’s believed to have evolved in the context of an almost total absence of natural predators, therefore lacking the tools to defend itself against the cats and rats that humans introduced.
Eclectus infectus (Oceanic parrot)
Naturalists have only recently been able to describe this species of parrot thanks to the fossilised bones that were found in the Tonga archipelago. Hunting and invasive species are said to have caused its extinction, which was confirmed by the IUCN in 2014.
Foudia delloni (Réunion fody)
This songbird found on Réunion was known for crafting especially intricate nests. The introduction of mice to the island by humans probably led to its extinction, which happened towards the end of the 1600s. The IUCN added it to its extinct species list in 2016.
Hemignathus lucidus (Oahu nukupu’u)
Another Hawaiian bird with a long, curved beak, this nukupu’u was last observed at the end of the 19th century. Its disappearance was probably linked to deforestation and the introduction of invasive species like rats and mongooses, which also led to the proliferation of diseases. Its extinction was made official in 2016.
Himatione fraithii (Laysan honeycreeper)
This bird lived on the Hawaiian island of Laysan and naturalists observed it for the last time in 1923. It disappeared because rabbits introduced by humans destroyed the plants that it depended on for food. It was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2017.
Loxops wolstenholmei (O’ahu ‘akepa)
No one has seen a specimen of this animal since 1930. Like other similar species, this bird probably went extinct because of the introduction of non-native species and the pathogens they brought. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2016.
Nesoenas Cicur (Mauritius turtle-dove)
This species was recently described thanks to remains found by scientists. It probably disappeared from Mauritius because of deforestation and rats. It was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2014.
Nyctanassa carcinocatactes (Bermuda night heron)
This heron called the island of Bermuda its home until the 17th century. Hunting and the arrival of non-native cats probably caused its extinction, which was made official by the IUCN in 2014.
Pipilo naufragus (Bermuda towhee)
This passerine species was only recently described thanks to remains found in caves on Bermuda. Like other birds native to the island, it went extinct when feral cats were introduced into its habitat. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2016.
Porphyrio paepae (Marquesan swamphen)
Hunting and predation by cats and rats are likely to have caused the extinction – certified by the IUCN in 2014 – of this small Polynesian bird toward the end of the 1930s.
Prosobonia cancellata (Christmas sandpiper)
This aquatic sandpiper was native to Christmas Island and probably went extinct around 1850 because of invasive predators. The IUCN added it to the extinct species list in 2014.
Pyrocephalus dubius (San Cristòbal flycatcher)
This small, bright-red bird of the Pyrocephalus genus was native to San Cristóbal in the Galapagos archipelago. It’s believed to have gone extinct around the 1980s probably because of the introduction of rats and avian flu. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2016.
Tachybaptus rufolavatus (Alaotra grebe)
This aquatic bird used to populate the waters of Lake Alaotra in Madagascar. The last confirmed sighting happened in 1982 and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2010. Various factors combined in bringing about this bird’s demise. Invasive plant and fish species compromised its food sources, while agriculture and soil erosion caused by deforestation altered the quality of the water in which it lived.
Tribonyx hodgenorum (Hodgen’s waterhen)
Remains of this waterfowl dating back to the 17th century were discovered by scientists on certain islands in New Zealand. The species was declared extinct in 2014, a loss likely caused by hunting by European colonists and the arrival of rats.
Zosterops conspicillatus (Bridled white-eye)
This passerine bird of the Zosteropidae family was native to the North Mariana Islands. At one point it even populated urban areas, but the introduction of non-native snake species caused it to quickly go extinct. The last sighting dates back to 1983 and the species was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2016.
Zosterops semiflavus (Marianne white-eye)
This bird, which used to live on several islands in the Seychelles, probably went extinct around 1888 due to the negative consequences of the introduction of invasive species into its habitat. Its disappearance was made official by the IUCN in 2016.
Alinea luciae (St. Lucia skink)
Until 1937 this small reptile of the skink family lived on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. Subsequent attempts to find it there proved fruitless, as it is believed the species succumbed to the introduction of the mongoose. It was declared extinct in 2015.
Chelonoidis abingdonii (Pinta Island tortoise)
Of all the species on this list, this is undoubtedly the most well-known and charismatic. The giant Pinta Island tortoise was a sub-species of the Galapagos tortoise. This enormous reptile was decimated by hunting and the introduction of goats to the island, which led to competition for food. The last specimen we’re aware of was known as Lonesome George; he was believed to be over a hundred years old when he died in 2012. The IUCN declared the species extinct in the wild in 1996.
Clelia errabunda (Underwood’s mussurana)
This large snake native to the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia went extinct around 1800. The reason isn’t clear, although the impact of anthropic activities on the island is likely to have irreparably altered its habitat. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2016.
This species of lizard was spotted for the last time in 1977, perched on a granite outcrop in the Uruguayan coastal city of Cabo Polonio. It probably went extinct due to growing anthropic disturbance during its reproductive season caused mainly by tourism. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2016, even though it isn’t clear whether it was actually a species in its own right or rather a variation of another similar species of lizard.
Copeoglossum redondae (Redonda skink)
This small reptile lived on the rocky, uninhabited Caribbean island of Redonda in the Antilles archipelago. It was described for the first time in 1863 but it suffered a rapid decline due to the introduction of goats and rats. Its last sighting was in 1873 and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2016.
Cyclura onchiopsis (Navassa rhinoceros iguana)
The last specimen of this reptile was seen in 1878, and there are two hypotheses regarding the cause of its extinction: some believe that non-native mammals like cats and goats took over its environment, while others claim that miners who worked on the island deliberately exterminated it. The species was declared extinct in 2011.
Emoia nativitatis (Christmas Island whiptail-skink)
At one time this lizard was common in the lush forests of Christmas Island, south of Indonesia, in the Indian Ocean. Researchers began to notice its decline in 1998, caused by various factors such as loss of habitat and the introduction of non-native predators. A mere seven years later it could no longer be observed in the wild. The last known specimen was a female named Gump, who died in captivity in 2014. The IUCN declared the species extinct in 2017.
Erythrolamprus perfuscus (Barbados racer)
This snake native to Barbados hasn’t been observed since 1963. It probably went extinct due to intense urban development and the introduction of mongooses, cats and rats. It was declared extinct in 2016.
This large lizard lived on four islands in the Lesser Antilles at least until the 17th century. After this, populations gradually declined into oblivion because of the introduction of mice. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2016.
Leiolopisma ceciliae (Réunion giant skink)
This small skink, known only thanks to fossil remains, probably went extinct at least 300 years ago, although it was only added to the IUCN’s list in 2019.
Nactus soniae (Réunion nactus)
This species of gecko lived on Réunion island until the 1500s and has been described thanks to fossilised remains. It likely went extinct because of invasive species, as officialised by the IUCN in 2019.
A rather large reptile belonging to the skink family, it hasn’t been observed in over 150 years and was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2017.
Alburnus nicaeensis (İznik shemaya)
This small freshwater fish of the Cyprinidae family was native to Lake İznik, in Turkey. It disappeared around the end of the 20th century because of the introduction of another species of fish, Atherina boyeri,into its habitat by fishermen. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
Another member of the Cyprinidae family, this fish lived exclusively in Yilong Lake, China. Due to heavy water use for agriculture, the lake dried up for over twenty days in 1981. The species hasn’t been seen since and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2011.
Aphanius splendens (Gölçük killifish)
Native to Lake Gölçük, a volcanic mountain lake in Turkey, this species went extinct in the 1980s due to non-native fish being introduced to boost fishing activities. It was declared extinct in 2014.
Atherinella callida (Cunning silversid)
This small fish belonging to the Actinopterygii class lived in the waterways around the Mexican city of Veracruz. It was seen for the last time in 1957 and probably went extinct due to habitat degradation, water pollution and dam construction. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2019.
Cyprinodon arcuatus (Santa Cruz pupfish)
This small fish of the Cyprinodontidae family was native to the Santa Cruz River in the US state of Arizona. Its definitive disappearance was caused by the growing diversion of water for agriculture and introduction of the largemouth bass. The IUCN added it to the list of extinct species in 2013 after decades passed from its last sighting.
This fish of the Cypriniformes order lived at the bottom of Lake Malawi in central Africa, where it was last observed in 1932. The causes of its disappearance aren’t known and it was declared extinct in 2018.
Megupsilon aporus (Catarina pupfish)
The Catarina pupfish was a small fish native to a spring in the Mexican region of Nuevo León. Human consumption of groundwater drained the body of water and reduced the species’ population. The fish’s survival was ultimately compromised by the introduction of invasive species and no specimen has been seen in the wild since 1994. This led to the species being declared extinct in 2019.
Noturus trautmani (Scioto madtom)
This fish was only ever found in a single river in the US state of Ohio, the Big Darby Creek. It hasn’t been seen since 1957, but the reasons leading to its extinction are still unknown. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2013.
This catfish lived in the rivers and wetlands of Thailand and hasn’t been seen since 1977. Dam construction, the destruction of many wetlands and growing pollution levels are believed to have caused its extinction, officialised by the IUCN in 2011.
Pseudophoxinus handlirschi (Egirdir minnow)
This fish lived exclusively in Lake Eğirdir, in Turkey. Biologists haven’t spotted any since the 1980s and its disappearance is linked to the introduction of bass to the lake. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
Tristramella sacra (Long jaw tristramella)
This species of fish belonging to the Cichlidae family lived in the Sea of Galilee, in Israel. According to the IUCN, which declared it extinct in 2014, the last specimen was sighted in 1990 and the destruction of its marshy habitat caused its demise.
Bradycellus chavesi (São Miguel ground-beetle)
This beetle of the Carabidae family lived in a small parcel of land on the island of São Miguel, in the Azores. It was a victim of climate change, which led to increased drought in the area. The last time it was observed by naturalists was in 1919 and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2018.
This small freshwater snail once lived in the waterways around Toulouse, France. As the city gradually expanded, and many streams and creeks were destroyed, the species went extinct. It hasn’t been observed for fifty years and was declared extinct in 2010.
Bythinella limnopsis, Bythinella mauri tanica, Bythinella microcochlia, Bythinella punica
Naturalists classified these four species of freshwater snail found in various springs in Tunisia in the 19th century. The reasons behind their disappearance aren’t clear. The IUCN declared them extinct in 2010.
Calathus extensicollis (Pico ground beetle)
This large ground beetle was native to the high-altitude forests on Pico Island, in the Azores archipelago. Over 150 years have passed since the last sighting and the IUCN declared the species extinct in 2018.
Calathus vicenteorum (Santa Maria ground beetle)
Like the species above, this ground beetle also lived in the mountain forests of the Azores, on the island of Santa Maria in particular. Its extinction was probably linked to climate change having led to an increase in drought episodes on the island. It was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2018.
Until 1989 the population of this freshwater crayfish was stable, but water use by local farmers drained the only pond it inhabited, leading to its extinction, which was made official by the IUCN in 2010.
This small crayfish lived in a single spring in the Mexican desert, which was also drained for agricultural use. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2010. In 2015, a team of scientists claimed to have found a population living in a pond in the Chihuahua desert, which is also at risk of drying up.
This spider lived in the forests of Mahé island, in Seychelles. The last specimen was observed in 1894, as its habitat was being destroyed by the invasion of cinnamon plants. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
This mussel, which used to be common in the Nile delta, hasn’t been observed since the beginning of the 20th century. It was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2010.
Dicrogonatus gardineri (Gardiner’s giant mite)
This giant acarid lived in the tropical forests of Mahé island, in Seychelles. The species hasn’t been seen since 1909 and is believed to have disappeared due to the destruction of its habitat. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
This millipede lived on the small island of Marianne in the Seychelles archipelago until 1892. The island was completely taken over by humans for farming purposes, after which it was abandoned, leaving numerous invasive plants behind. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
This freshwater snail lived on Vancouver Island and the San Juan Islands in Washington state, in the US. Scientists lost track of it in 1939 – it probably disappeared due to pollution and the expansion of human activities. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2017.
This worm was seen just once in 1918 in the rainforests of Rodrigues island, Mauritius. Its habitat was razed to the ground for agricultural purposes, causing its extinction, which was made official by the IUCN in 2014.
Scientists know little about this bivalve mussel from Madagascar and the IUCN declared the species extinct in 2016.
A freshwater mollusc native to Italy, its presence had been recorded at a few locations between Lake Garda and Lake Idro but it hasn’t been observed since 1850. It was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2010.
Not much is known about this spider who lived on the island of Mahé, in Seychelles. It was observed for the last time in 1908 and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
This mollusc, whose habitat was a single spring in Spain, was lost because of a road being built near the area where it lived. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2011.
Labidura herculeana (St. Helena giant earwig)
This species was the largest earwig in the world, found on the island of Saint Helena in the southern Atlantic. It could grow over eight centimetres in length, and was seen for the last time in 1967. Its extinction – confirmed by the IUCN in 2014 – was caused by use of the rocks it inhabited in construction activities, as well as competition with non-native species brought by humans.
This mollusc found in New Caledonia was seen for the last time in 1928. The development of human settlements, which caused many springs to dry up and the felling of large wooded areas, probably led to its extinction, officialised by the IUCN in 2011.
Only one specimen, found in 1888 on the island of Java in Indonesia, of this freshwater shrimp has ever been collected. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2013.
This species of cockroach was described following the discovery of a single specimen on the Seychelles island of Desroches in 1905. It was declared extinct in 2012.
Melanoplus spretus (Rocky mountain locust)
The extinction of this grasshopper demonstrates the impact humans have on other species. It used to be one of the most common invertebrates in North America: a report from 1875 describes an uninterrupted swarm extending 160 kilometres wide and 2,800 kilometres long. The causes of the quick population decline aren’t clear but are probably linked to changes in land use and farming activities on their mating grounds. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
Declared extinct in 2010, this mollusc lived in a single thermal spring in the Algerian region of Annaba. It is known only thanks to documents dating back to the 19th century.
This spider was native to Mahé island, in Seychelles, and probably went extinct due to the introduction of invasive plants to the island. It hasn’t made an appearance since 1892 and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
Neocnemis occidentalis (Santa Maria weevil)
This insect was native to a small forest on the island of Santa Maria, in the Azores. A large portion of its habitat was lost due to deforestation and climate change. Naturalists haven’t spotted one since 1867 and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2018.
Neoplanorbis tantillus (Little flat-top snail)
This aquatic snail lived only in the Coosa River in the US state of Alabama. A series of dams built along the waterway between 1914 and 1967 irreparably damaged and broke up its habitat, causing its extinction –declared by the IUCN in 2012.
A species of millipede native to Mahé, in Seychelles. Like other species native to the island, this invertebrate probably went extinct following the arrival of invasive plants brought by humans. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
Pacifastacus nigrescens (Sooty crayfish)
This crustacean belonging to the Astacidae family lived only in waterways around San Francisco Bay, in the US. It was described in 1857 but wasn’t sighted throughout the whole of the 20th century. Its decline has been linked to the arrival of invasive fish species and urban development in the Bay Area. The species was declared extinct in 2010.
Like other species of spider on this list, this one – native to the island of Mahé – went extinct due to the introduction of invasive plants by humans. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
This species of snail was observed only in a limited part of Malaysia. Its habitat was literally razed to the ground at the beginning of this century by a construction company. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
Declared extinct in 2014, this spider was also native to Mahé island and paid a dear price for the arrival of invasive plants that compromised its habitat.
Pleurobema perovatum (Ovate clubshell)
This freshwater mussel lived in some parts of the Mississippi River and the Mobile River Basin, in Alabama, in the US. It hasn’t been observed since the beginning of the last century and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2012.
Procambarus angustatus (Sandhillls crayfish)
A species of Georgian crayfish described in 1958 by a biologist who found a single specimen. It has never been observed since, and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2010.
In 2010 the IUCN declared these eight species of water snails extinct. These gastropod molluscs were extremely sensitive to environmental changes in the springs they inhabited, and are believed to have disappeared during the 19th century.
This spider of the Podoctidae family also lived on the island of Mahé, in Seychelles. It was observed for the last time in 1908 and disappeared with the destruction of its ecosystem. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
Biologists last saw this millipede in 1902. It lived on the island of Praslin, in Seychelles. Invasive plants destroyed its native habitat, leading to its extinction, which was ratified by the IUCN in 2014.
This freshwater gastropod lived in a single spring in the US state of Utah. It hasn’t been observed since 1968 and its disappearance seems to have been linked to the degradation of its environment. It was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2012.
This was the only known species of spider in the Sparassidae family. Like many other invertebrates native to the island of Mahé present on this list, it probably went extinct because of invasive plants taking over its habitat. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
Another spider that lived on the island of Mahé until the arrival of humans and the invasive plant species they introduced to the Seychelles archipelago. The IUCN declared the species extinct in 2014.
Tokea orthostichon (Schmarda’s worm)
A scientist found a single specimen of this earthworm over 150 years ago on Mount Wellington, near Auckland, in New Zealand. Its extinction, made official by the IUCN in 2017, is probably linked to the arrival of European colonists and the crops they introduced.
This mussel lived in rivers near the southern coast of Madagascar. According to biologists, in the 1800s it was “relatively abundant”. Pesticides and agricultural wastewater probably caused its extinction, declared by the IUCN in 2016.
The taxonomy of this bivalve mollusc is still uncertain; only one specimen was ever found, in Madagascar, in 1909. The species hasn’t been observed since and was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2016.
Only one specimen of this snail has ever been found, lifeless, on the rocky island of Chios in the Aegean Sea. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2017.
This land snail is only known to scientists through fossils found on the Greek island of Santorini, and it probably went extinct following a volcanic eruption over 1,400 years ago. The IUCN declared it officially extinct in 2017.
No specimen of this small gastropod, which used to inhabit three islands in the Aegean Sea, has been observed since 1935. The species was declared extinct in 2017.
This plant was native to the Katanga Plateau in the Democratic Republic of Congo and was last seen in 1959. Its extinction, which the IUCN declared in 2012, was probably caused by the large-scale extraction of copper in the region.
This small bush grew only in the wooded parts of Rarotonga, one of the Cook Islands, in the South Pacific. It was last seen in 1929 and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
This modestly-sized plant of the Amaranthaceae family used to grow on the small uninhabited Hawaiian island of Nihoa, where it was last seen in 1983. Living on a tiny remote island in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean didn’t protect it from the invasiveness of our species: humans introduced plants that ultimately led to its extinction, which the IUCN declared in 2018.
This plant is known thanks to a single specimen found in 1982 on the island of São Tomé e Principe, off the Atlantic coast of central Africa. It’s believed that the destruction of its habitat over the past two centuries led to its extinction, which was officialised by the IUCN in 2018.
Only one specimen of this orchid was ever found, in the 19th century, on the island state of São Tomé e Principe. It hasn’t been observed since and the IUCN declared the species extinct in 2018.
This plant grew only in a limited region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, requiring particular soil conditions to flourish. These conditions were irreparably altered by the intense mining that has been carried out in the region. The species was declared extinct in 2012.
This plant used to grow near the coastline of the Azov Sea, in Ukraine. Naturalists haven’t observed it since 1930 and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2011.
This varied group of shrubs of the Cyanaea genus was known to have grown in humid Hawaiian forests. After much fruitless searching, the IUCN declared all six species extinct in 2016. Their disappearance was caused by invasive animal and plant species introduced by humans, including pigs, goats, rats, snails and various weeds.
Cyperus rockii (Kaua’i flatsedge)
This plant grew along a stream that crosses the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. It was last observed in 1916 and probably went extinct due to the introduction of invasive plant species and pigs. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2016.
The last time this shrub was observed on the mountains of Kaua’i was in 1909, and it likely disappeared due to competition with non-native plants introduced by humans. It was added to the IUCN’s extinct species list in 2016.
Delissea sub cordata, Delissea undulata
These two shrubs of the Delissea genus grew in Hawaiian lowland forests, and their extinction – officialised by the IUCN in 2015 and 2016 respectively – was caused by invasive plants and animals introduced by humans.
This orchid was observed just once by scientists, on the arid hills of Bhutan in 1859. Surveys of its habitat made since have been fruitless. The cause of its extinction, declared by the IUCN in 2017, is uncertain.
Naturalists first observed this plant in 1936 in Portugal’s high-altitude grasslands. It hasn’t been seen since, and the IUCN added it to the extinct species list in 2011.
This moss used to be very common on the Portuguese island of Madeira, but it suffered a rapid decline caused by the growing influx of tourists. It hasn’t been observed since 1982 and the IUCN declared it officially extinct in 2019.
This plant inhabited the islands of Cabo Verde, in the Atlantic Ocean, and is known thanks to a single specimen retrieved in 1787. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2017.
Heliotropium pannifolium (St. Helena heliotrope)
A flowering shrub native to the remote island of St. Helena in the southern Atlantic. The introduction of goats and competition with invasive plants are likely to have destroyed its habitat. The species was declared extinct in 2016.
Hibiscadelphus woodii (Wood’s hau kuahiwi)
This shrub with bright yellow flowers used to grow on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, one of the last survivors of a disappearing genus. Goats, pigs and invasive plants caused its extinction in the wild. Or at least this was thought to be the case until a few months ago: in 2019, researchers found three specimens on a rocky outcrop of the island using drones.
Lepidium amissum (Waitakere scurvy grass)
This grass of the Brassicaceae family was discovered only after its extinction, which happened in the early 1900s and was made official by the IUCN in 2014. Coastal degradation was the primary reason for its disappearance.
This coastal grass was last observed in New Zealand in 1950 and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
Naturalists observed this plant for the first and last time in New Zealand’s prairies in 1847. Since then, the species has never been found again and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2014.
Melicope macropus (Kaholuamanu melicope)
The disappearance of this citrus plant, which used to grow in Kalalau Valley on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, was caused by the introduction of non-native herbivores such as goats, pigs and deer, which devastated the native vegetation. The species hasn’t been observed in the wild since 1995 and was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2016.
Another citrus species that inhabited the mountain forests of Kaua’i. Naturalists haven’t observed it since 1960 and it was declared extinct in 2016.
This small tree grew on the steep slopes of Pic Macaya, the second-highest peak in Haiti. The species was only described in 2015, based on a specimen collected in 1926, but it hasn’t been observed since. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2018.
Myosotis laingii (Waiautoa forget-me-not)
This flower of the Boraginaceae family inhabited an island in New Zealand. It was last seen in 1912 and was declared extinct in 2014.
A moss belonging to the Brachytheciaceae family, this species was once found at the margins of laurel forests in the northeastern part of Madeira, in Portugal. It hasn’t been observed since 1946 and was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2019.
Ornithogalum visianicum (Visiani’s star of Bethlehem)
This plant of the Asparagaceae family used to grow on an uninhabited island off the coast of Croatia, but it hasn’t been observed by scientists since 1911. Its habitat has remained mostly unaltered so the cause of its extinction, made official by the IUCN in 2018, is unknown.
Sanicula kauaiensis (Kaua’i blacksnakeroot)
Another plant native to the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, this perennial herb grew on steep grassy slopes. It hasn’t been observed since the 1950s and its decline was probably caused by competition with invasive plants introduced by humans. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2016.
Schiedea amplexicaulis (Ma’oli’oli)
Like other plants native to the Hawaiian archipelago, this species inhabiting the island of Kaua’i disappeared due to invasive species being introduced. Last observed around 1850, the IUCN declared it extinct in 2016.
This species is only known thanks to a few specimens collected in 1908 on the islands of Cabo Verde. It hasn’t been observed since and the IUCN declared it extinct in 2017.
This spermatophyte of the Caryophyllaceae family used to grow along the banks of lakes and rivers in New Zealand. It disappeared sometime around the 1940s following the introduction of invasive weeds that altered its ecological niche. The IUCN added it to its extinct species list in 2014.
Trilepidea adamsii (Adams mistletoe)
This shrub inhabited forest margins on New Zealand’s North Island. It was last observed in 1954 and may have disappeared due to a combination of factors, namely habitat degradation, the decline of pollinating insects and advent of invasive species such as possums. The IUCN declared the species extinct in 2014.
Viola cryana (Pensée de Cry)
This flower of the Violaceae family grew exclusively on the limestone hills of France’s Bourgogne-Yonne department. It hasn’t been observed since 1927 and its decline is linked to excessive limestone extraction in the area. The IUCN declared it extinct in 2011.
Wikstroemia hanalei (Lavafield false ohelo)
There have been no observations of this shrub, native to the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, since 1897. Its extinction was probably caused by competition with non-native species and was made official by the IUCN in 2016.