Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores
Facilitators / Compilers/s:
Pseudosinella ashmoleorum is an Azorean-endemic, cave dwelling species from the islands of Faial, Pico and Terceira (Azores, Portugal). It has a small Extent of Occurrence (EOO = 2,828 km²) and a small Area of Occupancy (AOO = 52 km²). The species is relatively common and known from several subpopulations, in lava tubes of all three islands, and also in the MSS. The area surrounding some caves is heavily impacted by human activities. Further research is needed into its population, ecology and life history, and a habitat management plan is needed, with one anticipated to be developed during the coming years. We also suggest as future conservation measures the regular monitoring of the species (every ten years) and limiting access to the caves. Overall, the species has a restricted range, is experiencing an ongoing decline in habitat quality, and is found at a small number of locations. This number of locations, however, is not low enough to warrant listing under a threatened category. Therefore, P. ashmoleorum is assessed as Near Threatened.
Pseudosinella ashmoleorum is an Azorean-endemic, cave dwelling springtail species known from Faial, Pico and Terceira islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010), known from several caves and lava tubes in Faial (Furna Ruim); in Pico (Gruta da Agostinha, Gruta do Henrique Maciel, Gruta do Soldão); and in Terceira (Algar do Carvão, Gruta das Agulhas, Gruta dos Balcões, Gruta do Caldeira, Gruta do Coelho, Gruta do Chocolate, Gruta da Madre de Deus). The Extent of Occurrence (EOO) is ca 2,828 km² and the estimated Area of Occupancy (AOO) is 52 km². The species has also found in the MSS ("Milieu Souterrain Superficiel" or "Mesocavernous Shallow Stratum") (Borges 1993) in the area of Pico Rachado (Terceira island), far from its known distribution in lava caves.
No current population size estimates exist for this species, but it seems to be relatively widespread through several caves and in the MSS of three islands, which might indicate a stable population at least in the MSS area. Current Population Trend: Stable
There is limited information regarding this species' ecology and life-history. It occurs in eleven volcanic caves, some in protected areas (Natural parks of Pico and Terceira) and some surrounded by disturbed habitats, and also in the MSS (mesocavernous shallow stratum) habitats (Borges 1993). Pseudosinella ashmoleorum has been found in the dark and humid part of caves, with abundant mud or roots from the ceiling. Nevertheless, this species has only small possible adaptations to a troglobiont life-style, being likely an eutroglophile (i.e. epigean species able to maintain a permanent subterranean population). Systems: Terrestrial
The main current threats to this species are the degradation of the habitat quality due to human activities like agriculture, urbanisation and construction, and recreational cave visitation. There are also several future potential threats: climatic changes (Ferreira et al. 2016) that can change the conditions inside the caves, changes in the nearby infrastructures, changes in land use, potential human recreational activities with cave visitation, and geological events (volcanic activity and earthquakes).
The species is not protected by regional law, but part of its habitat is in a regionally protected areas (Natural Parks of Pico and Terceira). Land-use changes are one of the main current and future threats, and conservation measures should be extended beyond the caves. Further research is needed into its population, ecology and life history, and a monitoring plan for the invertebrate community is necessary in order to contribute to the conservation of this species. As a future conservation measure, the restriction of visits to the caves could be considered. A habitat management plan is needed and one is anticipated to be developed during the coming years.