Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores
Facilitators / Compilers/s:
Sphaericus velhocabrali is an endemic species from Sta. Maria (Azores, Portugal) It has a very small extent of occurrence (EOO = 8 km²) and area of occupancy (AOO = 8 km²). There is a continuing decline in the EOO, AOO, extent and quality of habitat, population as well as the number of mature individuals as a result of major land-use change in the last 100 years. The species occurs only at one location and is associated with an isolated patch of vineyard. Therefore, we suggest as future measures of conservation: (1) regular monitoring of the species; and (2) maintenance of this traditional culture. Based upon the small geographic range of the species with only one location and continuing decline of its habitat area and quality, it is assessed as Critically Endangered.
Sphaericus velhocabrali is an endemic species from Sta. Maria (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al., 2010). The extent of occurrence (EOO) is 8 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 8 km².
The species is only known from a single subpopulation on Sta. Maria island. A continuing decline in the number of mature individuals is inferred due to the ongoing threats.
This species occurs in habitats associated to agricultural areas (vineyards) in Sta. Maria island (Azores), with an altitudinal range between 0 and 150 m (Israelson 1984). S. velhocabrali is an herbivorous xylophagous species (i.e. whose diet consists primarily of wood).
In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality (Triantis et al. 2010). 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). In addition, environmental quality degradation is also occurring due to invasive species, such as Hedychium gardnerianum. Main additional threat will be the change of vineyards to other land-use, or urban development due to tourism.
The species is not protected by regional law, but some enforcement should be put in place in this direction. Thus, it is necessary a monitoring plan for the invertebrate community in the habitat in order to contribute to the conservation of this species. Further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to find extant specimens. Since this species is one of the few endemic species of insects in the Azores that lives associated with vineyards, it is suggested that some awareness measures should be put in practice, due to its unique natural value of the species and cultural value of vineyards for the Azorean region. Therefore, current habitat should be maintained and a strategy needs to be developed to address the future threat by climate change.