Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores
Facilitators / Compilers/s:
Ensina azorica is an endemic species of the Azores (Portugal), known from Corvo, Flores, Pico, S. Jorge, Terceira, Graciosa and S. Miguel islands, being apparently widespread through a wide variety of natural and man-made/disturbed habitats. From the historical data, this species could have a relatively large Extent of Occurrence (28,870 km2) but a small Area of Occupancy (208 km2), although these are likely to be underestimates. Even though there is a paucity of recent data regarding this species' population, distribution, threats and ecology, this species is unlikely to warrant listing as threatened under any criterion, and so it is listed as Least Concern. Despite being recently reared from seeds of native and introduced plant species in S. Miguel, the present situation of this species needs to be further assessed, and further research is needed into its population, distribution, threats, ecology and life history. Additionally, conservation of native habitats could potentially aid this species' conservation.
Ensina azorica is an Azorean-endemic species that was described from the islands of Corvo, Flores, Pico, S. Jorge, Terceira, Graciosa and S. Miguel (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). It is present in a wide variety of natural and artificial habitats. Based on the historical data (Frey 1945), the Extent of Occurrence (EOO) could be ca. 28,870 km² and the Area of Occupancy (AOO) could be ca. 208 km². However, there is scarce recent information regarding the distribution of this species.
No current population size estimates exist for this species.
The ecology and traits of this species are unknown. However, the larvae of almost all Tephritidae are phytophagous, feeding on living, healthy plant tissue in which the eggs are laid. The larvae feed and develop in leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, fruits or roots of the host plant, depending on the species. Many species form galls (McAlpine et al. 1987). Some species are monophagous while others are polyphagous. Most host plants are dicoyledons, but species of the genus Juniperus are also hosts (McAlpine et al. 1987). Adult tephritid flies are often found on the host plant and feeding on pollen, nectar, rotting plant debris, or honeydew. Many species are considered agricultural pests, while others are biocontrol agensts for weeds (McAlpine et al. 1987). Historically, Ensina azorica specimens were collected in a wide range of habitats, including native and production forests, in gardens, in introduced vegetation and in urban areas. It was also present from the seashore to high altitude rocky areas in Pico Mountain (Pico, Azores). Recently, some specimens were reared from the seeds of the endemic plant Carex viridula Michx. and of the introduced Sonchus tenerrimus L. (Heleno 2007).
A lack of information regarding the present status of this species precludes an assessment of species specific threats. Nevertheless, a recent study (Ferreira et al. 2016) suggests that this species might be affected by future habitat declines as a consequence of climate change. This species has been recorded in a wide variety of native and artificial habitats, being apparently, at least, tolerant of human disturbance. Even so, past human disturbance and land use changes might have also affected this species.
The species is not protected by regional law. The present situation of this species needs to be further assessed, and further research is needed into its population, distribution, threats, ecology and life history. From what is known of its habitat preferences, conservation of native habitats could potentially aid this species' conservation. Historically at least, this species was present in areas that are currently included in the Natural Parks of Corvo, Pico and S. Miguel, disturbed or otherwise.