Nunes, R. & Lamelas-Lopez, L.
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Noctua atlantica is an endemic species present in Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, S. Jorge, Terceira and S. Miguel islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). It has a relatively large area of occupancy (AOO = 312 km²) and a large extent of occurrence (EOO = ca. 28,800 km²). The species can be found in native forest fragments, but also in the habitats which are dominated by forest plantations and patches of semi-natural and exotic vegetation, being known from at least six Natural Forest Reserves. The larvae are polyphagous feeding on grasses, and the adults are nearly present throughout the year, Based on Ferreira et al. (2016) the habitat will decline as a consequence of climate change. The species is assessed as Least Concern (LC) due to the widespread distribution and high abundance in several habitats, having also a high range of altitude occupancy (10-1000 m).
Noctua atlantica is an endemic species present in Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, S. Jorge, Terceira and S. Miguel islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010), known from native vegetation dominated by Juniperus brevifolia but also at their sorroundings (above 600 m asl). The species occurrs in at least six Natural Forest Reserves: Caldeiras Funda e Rasa and Morro Alto e Pico da Sé (Flores); Caldeira do Faial and Cabeço do Fogo (Faial); Pico Pinheiro (S. Jorge); Caldeira Guilherme Moniz,(Terceira). The extent of occurrence (EOO) is ca 28,800 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 312 km².
This species is very abundant on most Azorean islands, and occurs mainly in native vegetation. This species presents a stable population.
This species inhabits the uplands on Azorean islands except Santa Maria (above 600 m Asl), preferably into native forest and also at their surroundings with grassy clearings as well as along sunny forest roads of exotic coniferous forests. The larvae are polyphagous feeding on grasses, and the adults are nearly present throughout the year, with individuals flying readily to light from April to November (Vieira et al. 1998); it has two generations per year at high altitudes (Oliveira et al. 2004). Altitudinal range: 10-1000 m.
In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality, mostly the creation of pastures (Triantis et al. 2010). Currently invasive plants Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum are changing some of the areas and decreasing the quality of the habitat. These changes are decreasing the relative cover of endemic plants and changing the soil cover (decreasing the cover of bryophytes and ferns). 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 Corvo, Faial, Flores, Graciosa, Pico, S. Jorge, Terceira and S. Miguel). Further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to learn about the ecological requirements of the species and the feeding substrate of the larva, and find extant specimens. 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).