Invasive plants threaten Azores island beetles
Over a hundred insect species from the Portuguese islands of the Azores have been assessed for the IUCN Red List, and 74% of these are threatened with extinction. Habitat degradation exacerbated by invasive plant species, land use change and a drying climate are the main threats. All 12 assessed species of Ironclad Beetles (Tarphius spp.) are considered threatened with extinction. These beetles rely on decomposing wood, mosses and fern cover for survival, but the Kahili Ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum), a plant introduced from the Himalayas, is slowly replacing native plant species. The Terceira Island Ironclad Beetle (Tarphius relictus) has been particularly affected by this change and is now limited to a range of less than one hectare. The recent establishment of a protected area by the Azorean Government, based on the draft assessment of the Ironclad Beetle, provides some hope for the future of this species.
“Beetles are key components of ecosystems, fulfilling critical functions such as predation and pollination,” says Axel Hochkirch, Chair of the IUCN SSC Invertebrate Conservation Sub-Committee. “Small changes in habitats have great impacts on invertebrates and species endemic to islands are particularly threatened.”
See more at: https://www.iucn.org/news/species/201807/australia%E2%80%99s-reptiles-threatened-invasive-species-climate-change-%E2%80%93-iucn-red-list
Find out how you can help the Global Trees Campaign