Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores
Facilitators / Compilers/s:
Euconnus azoricus is an endemic species from Terceira, São Miguel and Pico islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010; plus unpublished data), known from Monte Brasil in Terceira, Furnas in São Miguel and Pico Redondo in Pico Island. It has a large extent of occurrence (EOO = ca 7,000 km²) and very small area of occupancy (AOO = 44 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 changes in the last 50 years and the recent spread of invasive plants (Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum). 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 heavily fragmented populations and continuing decline of its habitat area and quality, it is assessed as Endangered.
Euconnus azoricus is an endemic species from Terceira, Pico and São Miguel (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010 and unpublished data), known from Monte Brasil (Terceira), Furnas (São Miguel) and Pico Redondo (Pico). The extent of occurrence (EOO) is ca 7,000 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 44 km².
The species is only known from three isolated subpopulations, one in Terceira island (Monte Brasil), one in Furnas (São Miguel) and a recent finding in Pico Redondo (Pico Island). A continuing decline in the number of mature individuals is inferred from historical habitat modification. This species can be on the edge of extinction at Terceira island due to major historical changes in its type locality.
This species occurs in a forest patch with native and exotic vegetation in Terceira island (Monte Brasil), in the highly modified area of Furnas (São Miguel) dominated by Cryptomeria japonica plantations and in a fragment of native forest dominated by Juniperus brevifolia mixed with planted Pinus sp. in Pico Redondo at Pico island. Altitudinal range is between 20 and 800 m. It is a nocturnal predator that lives under bark of native trees and in the soil.
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 undulatumspread in the area of Monte Brasil with the major decrease of native trees and shrubs. In Pico island the plantation of Pinus sp. mixed within native vegetation may become a problem for the adequate persistence of native plants. In Furnas, spread of Hedychium gardnerianum is destroying the habitat, since is changing the habitat structure, 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 & alteration).
The species is not protected by regional law. Its habitat is in regionally protected areas (Natural Parks of Pico, Terceira, S. Miguel). Degraded habitats should be restored and a strategy needs to be developed to address the current threat by invasive plants (Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum). Further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to find extant specimens. 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).