Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores
Lucas Lamelas-Lopez & Enésima Mendonça
Facilitators / Compilers/s:
Aphrodes hamiltoni is an endemic species present in eight islands of the Azorean archipelago, not being recorded so far from Corvo (Azores, Portugal). It has a large extent of occurrence (EOO = ca 38,000 km²) and a relatively small area of occupancy (AOO = 184 km²). The species is common and known from at least nineteen fragmented subpopulations in eight islands. In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality. The main threat to this species is the advance of the invasive plant Hedychium gardnerianumthat is changing the habitat with an inferred impact on some subpopulation densities. Based on Ferreira et al.(2016) the habitat will further decline as a consequence of climate change. Based upon the small area of occupancy and decrease of habitat quality it is assessed as Endangered.
Aphrodes hamiltoni is an endemic species present in eight islands of the Azorean archipelago, not being recorded so far from Corvo (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). Within these eight islands it is known from all eighteen Natural Forest Reserves of Caldeiras Funda e Rasa and Morro Alto e Pico da Sé (Flores); Caldeira do Faial and Cabeço do Fogo (Faial); Mistério da Prainha, Caveiro and Caiado (Pico); Pico Pinheiro and Topo (S. Jorge); Biscoito da Ferraria, Pico Galhardo, Caldeira Guilherme Moniz, Caldeira Sta. Bárbara e Mistérios Negros and Terra Brava (Terceira); Atalhada and Pico da Vara (S. Miguel) and Pico Alto (Sta. Maria). The extent of occurrence (EOO) is ca 38,000 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 184 km².
A. hamiltoni is a widespread and highly abundant species mostly in pristine native forest habitats. Ongoing spread of invasive plants is changing the habitat dramatically in some sites with an inferred impact on the population abundances. This species is assessed here as severely fragmented as it occurs in many patches but has poor dispersal ability. At least 50% of its population can be found in subpopulations/in habitat patches that are 1) smaller than would be required to support a viable population, and 2) separated from other habitat patches by a large distance. In fact, the species occurs in natural forest fragments that are isolated in a sea of pastures and Cryptomeria japonica plantations. Most of the locations will be under severe threat in the next 10 years due to the aggressive spread of the invasive plant Hedychium gardnerianum.
This leafhopper is a day activity phytophagous species that inhabits the soil litter in native forests (Quartau and Borges 2003).
In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality (Triantis et al. 2010, Terzopoulou et al. 2015). However, the species seems to have survived in all the remaining native forest of Azores. The main current threats are the management of pulp plantations of Cryptomeria japonica and the spread of invasive species namely Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum. 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).
The species is not protected by regional law. Its habitat is in regionally protected areas (Natural Parks of Flores, Faial, Pico, S. Jorge, Terceira, Graciosa, S. Miguel and Sta. Maria). Further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to find extant specimens in additional native habitats. It is necessary a monitoring plan for the invertebrate community in the habitat in order to contribute to the conservation of this species. A habitat management plan is needed and anticipated to be developed during the coming years. Monitoring every ten years using the BALA protocol will inform about habitat quality (see e.g. Gaspar et al. 2010).