Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores
Facilitators / Compilers/s:
Hermanniella incondita is an endemic species of the Azores (Portugal), known from the islands of Faial, Pico, Graciosa, Terceira, S. Miguel and Sta. Maria. From the available data, it potentially has a relatively large Extent of Occurrence (22,570 km2), but a limited Area of Occupancy (60 km2), which are likely underestimates, as this species probably has a wider distribution through the soil component of the islands. It can be assumed that this species is affected by human activities and invasive plant species that alter the natural structure and composition of the soil; while future climatic changes and increased risk of droughts will also affect this species. 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. However, despite the incomplete knowledge regarding this species population, distribution, threats and ecology, this species is unlikely to warrant listing under the most threatened Red List categories. Pending further information, the number of locations could be said to be relatively small, and so the species can be precautionarily assessed as Near Threatened. Conservation of natural habitats and invasive species control could potentially aid this species' conservation.
Hermanniella incondita is an Azorean-endemic oribatid mite species known from Faial, Pico, Graciosa, Terceira, S. Miguel and Sta. Maria islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). It is known from a several natural and disturbed areas and also in the lava tube of Gruta do Henrique Maciel in Pico. It is present in three Natural Forest Reserves; Cabeço do Fogo (Faial), Biscoito da Ferraria (Terceira) and Pico Alto (Sta. Maria). From the available data, the Extent of Occurrence (EOO) would be ca. 22,570 km² and the Area of Occupancy (AOO) would be 60 km².
No current population size estimates exist for this species. This species occurs on several islands and as an oribatid mite, it is likely common and widespread in the soil habitat. Current Population Trend: Unknown.
The ecology and traits of this species are unknown. Oribatid mites are associated with organic matter in most terrestrial ecosystems, being found throughout the soil profile, in surface litter, on grasses, shrubs or in the bark and leaves of trees, among other habitats. Oribatida are also one of the most numerically dominant arthropod groups in the organic horizons of most soils (Behan-Pelletier 1999). This species is present in a range of natural and disturbed habitats and in the vicinity of urban areas, being collected from under leaf litter of native, production (Eucalyptus sp., Pinus pinaster) and invasive tree species. Additionally, Hermanniella incondita has also been collected from a lava tube, but according to Morell and Subias (1991), oribatid mites are soil species and should not be considered as strictly cave species. This species is likely an eutroglophile (epigean species able to maintain a permanent subterranean population) (Borges et al. 2012).
A lack of information regarding the present range of this species, precludes an assessment of potential threats. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that this species will be affected by future habitat declines as a consequence of climate change (Ferreira et al. 2016) and increased droughts. Other factors that degrade habitat quality, in the form of changes in the soil structure and composition, namely land use changes, agricultural practices, urbanisation, pesticides and nutrient loads or invasive plants might also affect this species.
The species is not protected by regional law, but part of its habitat is in regionally protected areas (Natural Parks of Faial, Terceira and Sta. Maria). Besides climate change and increased risk of droughts, land-use changes and invasive species are likely one of the main current and future threats faced. As such, conservation of native habitats and invasive species control could potentially aid this species' conservation. Further research is needed into its population, distribution, threats, ecology and life history; and it is necessary to develop a monitoring plan for the invertebrate community in order to contribute to the conservation of this species.