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Cixius azomariae is a single island endemic species from Santa Maria Island (Azores, Portugal). It has a very small extent of occurrence (EOO = 46 km²) and area of occupancy (AOO = 42 km²). The species is abundant and known from at least four fragmented subpopulations in only one 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 invasive species and climate change (Ferreira et al. 2016). Based upon the small extent of occurrence. area of occupancy and reducing quality of habitat it is assessed as Endangered.
Cixius azomariae Remane & Asche, 1979 is a single island endemic tree lacehopper from Santa Maria Island (Azores, Portugal). The species can be found in the last remnant of native forest (Pico Alto), but also in the neighbouring habitats which are dominated by forest plantations and patches of semi-natural and exotic vegetation. The extent of occurrence (EOO) is 46 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 44 km².
Cixius azomariae presents several relatively abundant subpopulations in Santa Maria.
This species occurs mainly in the Azorean native forest. Cixius azomariae is a diurnal canopy phytophagous species that feeds on native plants mostly associated to the native forest, but also uses other exotic plants food resources. 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 azomariae occurs mostly in the native forest of S. Maria Island. S. Maria has the smallest native forest fragment in the Azores (Gaspar et al. 2011). In recent years, this area of native forest was rapidly occupied by the invasive species Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum, thus reducing habitat quality for this species. In addition, the management of pulp plantations of Cryptomeria japonica plantations can create additional disturbance. 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 Park of S. Maria). Further research is needed to monitor the species and conservation measures to control the invasive Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum should be implemented to improve habitat quality for this species. Degraded habitats should be restored and a strategy needs to be developed to address the future threat by climate change. 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).