IUCN SSC Mid-Atlantic Island Invertebrates Specialist Group

Species

BackSteganacarus insulanus Pérez-Íñigo & Pérez-Íñigo Jr., 1996

Steganacarus insulanus Pérez-Íñigo & Pérez-Íñigo Jr., 1996

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Acari: Oribatida
  • Family: Phthiracaridae
DD Data Deficient
IUCN Red List Status:

Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores

Archipelago(s):
Azores

Reviewer/s:
Danielczak, A.

Contributor/s:

Facilitators / Compilers/s:


Assessment Rationale:

Steganacarus insulanus is an endemic oribatid mite species of S. Miguel island (Azores, Portugal). From the description of this species, it has a very small Extent of Occurrence (4 km2 ) and Area of Occupancy (4 km2 ). However, these are likely to be underestimates, as this species probably has a wider distribution through the soil component of the island. The area where it was collected is being degraded by invasive plant species, and land-use changes are likely another of the main current and future threats. Conservation of native habitats and invasive species control, namely Hedychium gardnerianum and Clethra arborea could potentially aid this species' conservation. Further research is needed into its population, distribution, threats, ecology and life history. Based upon the lack of recent data regarding this species' population, distribution, threats and ecology, this species is assessed as Data Deficient (DD).

Geographic Range:

Steganacarus insulanus is an endemic oribatid mite species of S. Miguel island (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010), described from the Nature Reserve of Graminhais. From the species description, the Extent of Occurrence (EOO) would be ca. 4 km² and the Area of Occupancy (AOO) would be 4 km². 

Regions:
Portugal - Azores
Extent of Occurrence (EOO):
4 (km2)
Area of Occupancy (AOO):
4 (km2)
Elevation Lower Limit:
(m)
Elevation Upper Limit:
(m)
Biogeographic Realms:
Palearctic
Presence:
Extant
Origin:
Endemic Azores
Seasonality:
Resident

Population:

No current population size estimates exist for this species. As an oribatid mite, this species in likely common and widespread in the soil habitat. Current Population Trend:  Unknown

Habitat and Ecology

The ecology and traits of this species are unknown. Oribatid mites are associated with organic matter in most terrestrial ecosystems, being found throughout the soil profile, in surface litter, on grasses, shrubs or in the bark and leaves of trees, among other habitats. Oribatida are also one of the most numerically dominant arthropod groups in the organic horizons of most soils (Behan-Pelletier 1999). Steganacarus insulanus has been collected in native Laurisilva forest, from pitfall traps. Systems:  Terrestrial

Major Threat(s):

A lack of information regarding the present range of this species precludes an assessment of potential threats. The area where this species was collected is being threatened by the spread of invasive plants (Hedychium gardnerianum and Clethra arborea), which are changing the habitat structure. Additionally, it can be assumed that this species will be affected by future habitat declines as a consequence of climate change (Ferreira et al., 2016) and increased droughts. Other factors that affect habitat quality like land use changes, pesticides and nutrient loads might also affect this species.

Conservation Actions

The species is not protected by regional law, but it has been collected in a regionally protected area (Natural Park of São Miguel). Land-use changes are likely one of the main current and future threats, and conservation of native habitats and invasive species control could potentially aid this species' conservation. Further research is needed into its population, distribution, threats, ecology and life history; and it is necessary to develop a monitoring plan for the invertebrate community in order to contribute to the conservation of this species.