IUCN SSC Mid-Atlantic Island Invertebrates Specialist Group

Species

BackAleochara freyi Bernhauer 1940

Aleochara freyi Bernhauer 1940

Rove beetle (English)

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Coleoptera
  • Family: Staphylinidae
CR Critically Endangered
IUCN Red List Status:

Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores

Archipelago(s):
Azores

Reviewer/s:
Danielczak, A.

Contributor/s:

Facilitators / Compilers/s:


Assessment Rationale:

Aleochara freyi is an endemic species from Pico (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al., 2010), known from Reserva Natural da Montanha do Pico.  It has a very small extent of occurrence (EOO = 8 km²) and area of occupancy (AOO = 8 km²). There is a continuing decline in the EOO, AOO, extent and quality of habitat as well as the number of mature individuals as a result of major land-use change in the last 100 years. The species occurs only at one location. Therefore, we suggest as future measures of conservation: (1) regular monitoring of the species; and (2) removal of invasive plants and reforestation with native trees. Based upon the small geographic range of the species with only one location and continuing decline of its habitat area and quality, it is assessed as Critically Endangered.

Geographic Range:

Aleochara freyi is single island endemic species from Pico (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010), known from Pico mountain protected area. The extent of occurrence (EOO) is 8 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 8 km².

Regions:
Portugal - Azores
Extent of Occurrence (EOO):
8 (km2)
Area of Occupancy (AOO):
8 (km2)
Elevation Lower Limit:
1200 (m)
Elevation Upper Limit:
1800 (m)
Biogeographic Realms:
Palearctic
Presence:
Extant
Origin:
Endemic Azores
Seasonality:
Resident

Population:

The species is only known from a single subpopulation in Pico island. A continuing decline in the number of mature individuals is inferred from historical records. This species can be on the edge of extinction due to major historical changes in its type locality.

Habitat and Ecology

This species occurs in one single native forest patch (dominated by Juniperus brevifolia and Erica azorica), located at high altitude, in Pico island (Montanha do Pico). It is a nocturnal predator that lives under bark of native trees and in the soil.

Major Threat(s):

In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality, mostly creation of pastures (Triantis et al. 2010). One of the most important ongoing threat to this species is the high elevation dairy cattle and meat cattle semi-natural pastures and the spread of invasive plants namely Hedychium gardnerianum since are changing the habitat structure, namely decreasing the cover of bryophytes and ferns in the soil and promoting the spread of other plants. Based on Ferreira et al. (2016) the habitat will further decline as a consequence of climate change (increasing number of droughts and habitat shifting & alteration).

Conservation Actions

The species is not protected by regional law. Its habitat is in a regionally protected area (Natural Park of Pico; Reserva Natural da Montanha do Pico). Degraded habitats should be restored and a strategy needs to be developed to address the future threat by climate change. A habitat management plan is needed and anticipated to be developed during the coming years. Further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to find extant specimens in the high elevation semi-natural pastures of Pico island and obtain information on population size, distribution and trends. It is also necessary a monitoring plan for the invertebrate community in the habitat in order to contribute to perform a species potential recovery plan. A monitoring every ten years using the BALA protocol will inform about habitat quality (see e.g. Gaspar et al. 2011).