Paulo A.V. Borges
Lamelas-Lopez, L. & Amorim, I.R.
Facilitators / Compilers/s:
Pseudanchomenus aptinoides is endemic to Azores, occurring in only two islands (Pico and S. Miguel ), but considered extinct in S. Miguel due to major historical land-use changes with clearing of original habitat. It has consequently a very small extent of occurrence (EOO = 16 km²) and reduced area of occupancy (AOO = 16 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 the invasions of non-native plants. The species is particularly restricted to very small fragmented patches of native pristine forest in Pico Island. Therefore, we suggest as future measures of conservation: (1) regular monitoring of the species; and (2) control of invasive species namely Hedychium gardneranum. The species is assessed as Critically Endangered (CR) due to severe fragmentation and continuing decline and EOO.
Pseudanchomenus aptinoides is an endemic species present in Pico and S. Miguel islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010), known from Natural Forest Reserves of Caveiro, Lagoa do Caiado and Mistério da Prainha, in Pico island and in Furnas, in S. Miguel island. After some surveys in Furnas the species was not found in the last 20 years despite some intensive search, and is potentially considered extinct in S. Miguel. As a consequence of extinction of the population located in S. Miguel. the extent of occurrence (EOO) is therefore only 16 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 16 km².
The species is relatively abundant in Pico Island native forest in particular in the pristine fragment of Caveiro. In spite of several sampling efforts in the last 20 years no individuals were sampled in S. Miguel, and consequently the population of this island is considered extinct, which is inferred from major land use changes in this location in the last 100 years.
The species occurs in native forests dominated by montane Juniperus brevifolia woodland in Caveiro but also lavic formations dominated by Erica azorica, in the island of Pico, with an altitudinal range between 800 and 1200 m. The species is considered extinct in S. Miguel island (Furnas). It is a nocturnal predator that lives in native trees and in the soil, particularly in ravines. Based on seasonal data from SLAM traps obtained in several islands between 2012 and 2016 (Borges et al. 2017), the adults are active all year, being most abundant in spring and summer.
In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality and its large body size (Terzopoulou et al. 2015). Currently, Cryptomeria japonicawood & pulp plantations management and invasive plant species spreading (e.g. Hedychium gardnerianum;) are changing the structure of the forest and the cover of bryophytes and ferns in the soil with impacts on the species. 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 considered extinct in S. Miguel island due to major historical land-use changes with clearing of original habitat.
The species is not protected by regional law. Its habitat is in a regionally protected area (Natural Park of Pico). Degraded habitats should be restored and of critical importance is the continued expansion and linking of habitat fragments as well as removal of invasive non-native species where this is possible. A strategy needs to be developed to address the future threat by climate change. A habitat management plan is needed and anticipated to be developed during the coming years. Formal education and awareness is needed to allow future investments in restored habitats invaded by invasive plants. Further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to find extant specimens in S.Miguel and obtain information on population size, distribution and trends in both S. Miguel and Pico islands. It is also necessary an 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. Monitoring every ten years using the BALA protocol will inform about habitat quality (see e.g. Gaspar et al. 2011).