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Cixius azofloresi is an Azorean endemic tree lacehopper that occurs in Flores and Corvo islands (Azores, Portugal). It has a small extent of occurrence (EOO = 188 km²) and area of occupancy (AOO = 72 km²). The species is abundant and known from at least three fragmented subpopulations in two islands. In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality. The main threat to this species will be the habitat decline as a consequence of climate change (Ferreira et al. 2016). Based upon the small extent of occurrence, area of occupancy and decreasing quality of habitat it is assessed as Endangered.
Cixius azofloresi Remane & Asche, 1979 is an Azorean endemic tree lacehopper that occurs in Flores and Corvo islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). This canopy phytophagous species occurs in the native forest of the Azores (Natural Park of Flores), but has also been found associated to native plants in other habitat-types. It has an area of occupancy (AOO) of 72 km² and the extent of occurrence (EOO) is 188 km².
The species occurs mainly in three sites, two in Flores in native forest fragments and one in Corvo Island where no native forest fragments remain. Some historical records nowadays have no suitable habitat for the species due to urban development. Ongoing land-use changes in Corvo is changing the habitat dramatically in some sites with an inferred impact on the subpopulation abundances.
This species occurs mainly in the Azorean native forest. It is a generalist diurnal canopy phytophagous species that has been found on different native plants, but also in some exotic plants. Based on seasonal data from SLAM traps obtained in several islands between 2012 and 2016, the adults are active all year, being most abundant in spring and summer (Borges et al. 2017).
Cixius azofloresi occurs mainly in two native forest fragments in Flores and on natural vegetation in Corvo Island, where native forest no longer exists. Flores has one of the best preserved native forest fragments in the Azores (Gaspar et al. 2011). However, in recent years, strong storms created clearings in areas of pristine native forest that were rapidly occupied by the invasive species Hedychium gardnerianum, thus reducing habitat quality for this species. Ongoing land-use changes in Corvo is changing the habitat dramatically in some sites with an inferred impact on the subpopulation abundances. 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 a regionally protected area (Natural Parks of Flores and Corvo). Further research is needed to monitor the species and conservation measures to control the invasive Hedychium gardnerianum should be implemented to improve habitat quality for this species. Additional research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to find extant specimens in additional native habitats. Degraded habitats should be restored and a strategy needs to be developed to address the future threat by climate change. It is necessary an area-based management plan in Corvo Island and a monitoring plan for the invertebrate community in the habitat in order to contribute to the conservation of this species. Monitoring every ten years using the BALA protocol will inform about habitat quality (see e.g. Gaspar et al. 2010).