Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores
Paulo A.V. Borges
Facilitators / Compilers/s:
Atheta floresensis is an endemic species from Flores (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). 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 50 years and the recent spread of invasive plants (Pittosporum undulatum, Hydrangea macrophylla and Hedychium gardnerianum). The species occurs only at one location. Therefore, we suggest as future measures of conservation: (1) regular monitoring of the species; and (2) reforestation of areas 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.
Atheta floresensis is a single island endemic species from Flores (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010), known from a single location. The extent of occurrence (EOO) is 8 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 8 km².
The species is rare and only known from a single subpopulation in Flores island. The area of occurrence is highly modified duet to human activities and invasive plant species. We assume some impact for the abundance of the population.
This species occurs in a small fragment of human modified forest in Flores island (Azores), dominated by Pittosporum undulatum. Adults and larvae are nocturnal predators and were found in wet debrils and moss near the margin of a small river. This species has an altitudinal range between 200 and 500 m.
In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality (Triantis et al., 2010). In the last 50 years the invasive plant Pittosporum undulatum spread in the area with the major decrease of native trees and shrubs. Currently invasive plants Hydrangea macrophylla and Hedychium gardnerianum are changing some of the areas and decreasing the quality of the habitat, 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 & alterations).
The species is not protected by regional law. Its habitat is in a degraded area that 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 other sites in Flores, particularly in native forest and obtain information on population size, distribution and trends. It is also necessary a area-based management plan and 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).