Battiston, R., Amerini, R., Garcia Becerra, R. & Oromi, P.
Bushell, M. & Hochkirch, A.
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Ameles gracilis is an endemic mantid of the Canary Islands. It is present on three islands and it is only found in shrubland and uncultivated open areas. At present most of its ecology is unknown and the species taxonomy needs to be better defined (Becerra and Oromi 1999, Becerra et al. 2001, Wieland et al. 2014). The species has an extent of occurrence (EOO) of ca. 7,700 km², an area of occupancy (AOO) of 232-1,500 km², and a severely fragmented population. It is generally rare to encounter and a continuing decline in the number of subpopulations, number of mature individuals and the extent and quality of habitat is inferred where it is not protected. Therefore, the species is assessed as Vulnerable (VU), but it is very close to the Endangered category as its area of occupancy (AOO) is insufficiently known. Further updates need to be done in the near future.
A. gracilis is an endemic species of the Canary Islands, being found on the islands of La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria (Becerra et al. 2001). The measured area of occupancy (AOO) is 232 km² with an upper estimate of 1,500 km² and the estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is ca. 7,700 km².
The population trend is unknown, however this species is rare and it is inferred that there is a continuing decline in the number of mature individuals and number of subpopulations in some localities. Distribution records are based on Garcia Becerra et al. (2001) and unpublished records from the assessors. Recent observations from the assessors suggest that there may be a population decline on La Palma, but more research is needed.
This species is found in open areas with scrub vegetation and also pastures, usually near laurel and pine forests (Becerra et al. 2001).
Threats to this species are not known in detail. However, considering the small distribution of the species, habitat destruction may be a serious threat. Local changes in the land use and a marked increase of overbuilding are contributing to the destruction of the natural habitats of this species and their real impact needs to be studied in more detail. The use of pesticides may also be a threat that may have a direct influence on this species or indirect by affecting its food source. There is a need for more research on the threats.
This species benefits indirectly by conservation in some protected areas of the Canary Islands Network for Protected Natural Areas, where the natural habitat is preserved. Most of the ecology of this species is unknown and research is needed. Taxonomy of the subfamily Amelinae is also problematic and needs to be solved with further morphological and molecular research (Wieland et al. 2014).