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Atlantocis gillerforsi is an endemic species occurring in Flores, Terceira, Pico, S. Miguel and Sta. Maria islands (Azores, Portugal). It has a large extent of occurrence (EOO = ca 34,000 km²) and small area of occupancy (AOO = 64 km²). The species is common and only known from at least five subpopulations in 11 locations. Most of the area of occurrence is protected and it is well preserved. In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality. Currently invasive plants Hydrangea macrophylla, Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum are changing some of the areas and decreasing the quality of the habitat. Based on Ferreira et al. (2016) the habitat will further decline as a consequence of climate change (increasing number of droughts). Therefore, we suggest as future measures of conservation: (1) regular monitoring of the species; and (2) control of invasive species namely Hedychium gardnerianum. Based upon the small area of occupancy and continuing decline of its habitat area and quality, it is assessed as Endangered.
Atlantocis gillerforsi is an endemic species present in Flores, Terceira, Pico, S. Miguel and Sta Maria islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010), known from Natural Forest Reserves of Morro Alto e Pico da Sé (Flores); Pico Galhardo and Terra Brava (Terceira); Atalhada and Pico da Vara (S. Miguel) and Pico Alto (Sta. Maria). The extent of occurrence (EOO) is ca 34,000 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 64 km².
The species is abundant. However, part of the area is starting to be impacted by invasive plants (Hydrangea macrophylla, Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum) that are disrupting the quality of forest ground with potential decline in the number of individuals. This species has been assessed here as being severely fragmented, as it is distributed in isolated patches in five islands. At least 50% of its population can be found in subpopulations/in habitat patches 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 natural forest fragments that are isolated in a sea of pastures and Cryptomeria japonica plantations. Most of the locations will be under severe threat in the next 10 years due to the aggressive spread of the invasive plants Hedychium gardnerianum and Pittosporum undulatum.
The species occurs in native (dominated by Laurus azorica and Juniperus brevifolia) and exotic (e.g. Eucaliptus spp.) forests of several islands (Flores, Terceira, Pico, S. Miguel and Santa Maria), with an altitudinal range between 350 and 1000 m. This species was an inhabitant of ancient azorean laurel forests and successfully adapted itself to changed conditions of life (habitat transformation) (Israelson 1985). This species feeds mostly on fungi. Based on seasonal data from SLAM traps obtained in several islands between 2012 and 2016, the adults are active all year, being more abundant in spring and summer.
In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality (Triantis et al. 2010, Terzopoulou et al. 2015). Currently invasive plants Hydrangea macrophylla, Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum are changing some of the areas and decreasing the quality of the habitat. 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).
The species is not protected by regional law. Its habitat is in regionally protected areas (Natural Parks of Flores, Terceira, S. Miguel and Sta. Maria). Further spread of invasive plants needs to be stopped in order to avoid any future declines of the species. Degraded habitats should be restored and a strategy needs to be developed to address the future threat by climate change. A habitat management plan is needed and anticipated to be developed during the coming years. Formal education and awareness is needed to allow future investments in restored habitats invaded by invasive plants. Further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to obtain information on population size, distribution and trends. It is necessary a monitoring plan for the invertebrate community in the habitat in order to contribute to the conservation of this species. A monitoring every ten years using the BALA protocol will inform about habitat quality (see e.g. Gaspar et al.2011).