Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores
Nunes, R. & Lamelas-Lopez, L.
Facilitators / Compilers/s:
Phlogophora furnasi is an endemic species present in Pico, S. Jorge, Terceira and S. Miguel islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). It has a relatively large extent of occurrence (EOO = ca 10,000 km²), but a small area of occupancy (AOO = 72 km²). The species was originally abundant and known from at least six fragmented populations. Currently P. furnasi is under threat due to degradation of the habitat by cattle (Wagner 2015), but also due to invasive plants Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum that are changing some of the areas and decreasing the quality of the habitat. Based upon the small area of occupancy, decreasing quality of the habitat and low number of subpopulations it is assessed as Vulnerable.
Phlogophora furnasi is an endemic species present in Pico, S. Jorge, Terceira and S. Miguel islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010), known originally from sites with native vegetation (e.g., Caldeira Guilherme Moniz -Terceira; Pico Maria Pires - S. Jorge; Ribeiras - Pico; Serra Água de Pau - São Miguel), but currently some of those locations have highly modified vegetation. The extent of occurrence (EOO) is ca 10,000 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 72 km².
This species was particularly abundant in Pico, S. Jorge, Terceira and S. Miguel islands, occurring mostly in the native and naturalised vegetation at medium and high elevations of these islands. However, changes in the vegetation in the last 30 years are threatening this species. Therefore we suspect that the population is decreasing.
Phlogophora furnasi occurs particularly in native vegetation (Calluna vulgaris, Erica azorica, mosses and Festuca francoi) of open native woodlands. The larvae are mostly abundant in humid, shady, wind-protected places in northern exposition with only small Calluna vulgaris bushes between ca 500 and 1000 m Asl, and in low numbers also in embankments and edges of streets through allochthonous coniferous forests and other places (Wagner 2015). This species has several generations per year (Wagner 2015). Altitudinal range: 200-1000 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 P. furnasi is under threat due to degradation of the habitat by cattle (Wagner 2015), but also due to invasive plants Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum that 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 Park of Terceira). Further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to 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 to create 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).