IUCN SSC Mid-Atlantic Island Invertebrates Specialist Group

Species

BackGraphania granti Warren, 1905

Graphania granti Warren, 1905

Moth (English); Traça (Portuguese)

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Family: Noctuidae
EN Endangered
IUCN Red List Status:

Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores

Archipelago(s):
Azores

Reviewer/s:
Danielczak, A.

Contributor/s:
Nunes, R. & Lamelas-Lopez, L.

Facilitators / Compilers/s:


Assessment Rationale:

Graphania granti is an endemic species present in Pico, Terceira and S. Miguel islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). It has a large extent of occurrence (EOO = ca 7,800 km²) and a small area of occupancy (AOO = 40 km²). In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality. The species occurs preferably in the native forests of the Pico, Terceira and São Miguel islands (Azores), surrounded by plantations of exotic trees and pastures. Currently invasive plants Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum are changing some of the areas and decreasing the quality of the habitat. Human activities in at least two of the historical locations (Furnas, S. Miguel; area of Gruta dos Balcões, Terceira) promoted major changes in the habitat in the last 50 years with major reductions of native vegetation. Based on Ferreira et al.(2016) the habitat will further decline as a consequence of climate change. Based upon the small area of occupancy and decrease of habitat quality this species is assessed as Endangered.

Geographic Range:

Melanchra granti is an endemic species occurring in Pico, Terceira and S. Miguel islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010), known from remnant laurel forest. The extent of occurrence (EOO) is ca 7,800 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 40 km².

Regions:
Portugal - Azores
Extent of Occurrence (EOO):
7800 (km2)
Area of Occupancy (AOO):
40 (km2)
Elevation Lower Limit:
200 (m)
Elevation Upper Limit:
600 (m)
Biogeographic Realms:
Palearctic
Presence:
Extant
Origin:
Endemic Azores
Seasonality:
Resident

Population:

The species is scattered and rare in Pico, Terceira and São Miguel islands (Azores), occurring mostly in uplands wet biotopes with native vegetation (larvae associated with grasses and mosses). There is a continuing decline in the number of mature individuals, based on the ongoing threats. This species is assessed here as being severely fragmented as at least 50% of its population can be found in subpopulations that are 1) smaller than would be required to support a viable population, and 2) separated from other habitat patches by a large distance. In fact, the species occurs in fragments that are isolated in a matrix of pastures.

Habitat and Ecology

The species occurs preferably in the native forests of the Pico, Terceira and São Miguel islands (Azores), surrounded by plantations of exotic trees and pastures. This species is probably an univoltine species, but the life cycle is unknown. Some adults were captured in light traps from January to July (Carvalho et al. 1999). The host plant of the larva is unknown. Altitudinal range: 200-600 m.

Major Threat(s):

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 invasive plants Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum 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). Human activities in at least two of the historical locations (Furnas, S. Miguel; area of Gruta dos Balcões, Terceira) promoted major changes in the habitat in the last 50 years with major reductions of native vegetation. 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).

Conservation Actions

The species is not protected by regional law. Its habitat is in only one regionally protected area (Natural Park of Terceira). Further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to learn about the ecological requirements of the species and the feeding substrate of the larva, and 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 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).