Lamelas-López, L. & Mendonca, E.
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Canariphantes acoreensis is a money spider species that occurs on four islands of the Azorean archipelago: Faial, Pico, São Jorge and Terceira (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010, Crespo et al. 2014). It has a large Extent of Occurrence (EOO = ca. 36,838 km²) and a relatively small Area of Occupancy (AOO = 196 km²). The species is only abundant in very pristine sites (e.g. sites with a high habitat quality index sensu Gaspar et al. 2011) and rare at most sites. Currently, invasive plants (Hedychium gardnerianum and Pittosporum undulatum) are impacting 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. Based upon the relatively small AOO of the species and continuing decline of its habitat area and quality, it is assessed as Vulnerable. Therefore, we suggest as future measures of conservation: (1) regular monitoring of the species; and (2) control of invasive species namely Hedychium gardnerianum.
Canariphantes acoreensis is a money spider species occurring on four islands of the Azorean archipelago: Faial, Pico, São Jorge and Terceira (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010, Crespo et al. 2014). On these four islands it is known from twelve Natural Forest Reserves: Caldeira do Faial and Cabeço do Fogo (Natural Park of Faial); Mistério da Prainha, Caveiro and Caiado (Natural Park of Pico); Pico Pinheiro and Topo (Natural Park of S. Jorge); Biscoito da Ferraria, Pico Galhardo, Caldeira Guilherme Moniz, Caldeira Sta. Bárbara e Mistérios Negros and Terra Brava (Natural Park of Terceira). The Extent of Occurrence (EOO) is ca. 36,838 km2 and the estimated Area of Occupancy (AOO) is 196 km2 .
The species is only abundant in very pristine sites (e.g. sites with a high habitat quality index sensu Gaspar et al. 2011) and rare in most of these. Despite the fact that Canariphantes acoreensis has been recorded between 352 and 1,051 m elevation, the species is particularly abundant only between 700 and 1,051 m, although many of the known sites are currently being invaded by invasive plants (e.g. Hedychium gardnerianum, Pittosporum undulatum). A continuing decline in the number of mature individuals is inferred from monitoring schemes (Borges et al. 2016) and from the ongoing habitat degradation. Current Population Trend: Decreasing.
Despite the fact that this species has been recorded between 352 and 1,051 m elevation, Canariphantes acoreensis is particularly abundant only between 700 and 1,051 m in very pristine sites (see Gaspar et al. 2011). This species builds typical sheet-webs at ground level, usually using small holes in places with high humidity in dense forest. Systems: Terrestrial.
In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality (Triantis et al. 2010). Currently, the rapid advance and expansion of invasive plant species is a major threat, particularly Hedychium gardnerianum but also Pittosporum undulatum, which are changing the structure of the forest and the cover of bryophytes and ferns in the soil, which will impact the species' habitat quality. Management of Cryptomeria japonica plantations around the main core areas of native forest in some of the twelve Natural Forest Reserves will be critical for the long-term maintenance of this species. Based on Ferreira et al. (2016) the habitat will further decline as a consequence of climate change (increasing number of droughts and habitat shifting and alteration).
The species is not protected by regional law, but its habitat is in several regionally protected areas (Natural Parks of Faial, Pico, São Jorge and Terceira). Degraded areas, degraded due to invasive plant species should be restored and a strategy needs to be developed to address the current threat from invasive species and the future threat from climate change. Formal education and awareness is needed to allow future investments in restored habitats invaded by invasive plants; while further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to find additional specimens in other areas of native or exotic forest and to obtain adequate information on population size, distribution and trends. An area-based management plan is also necessary for the most disturbed sites, including invertebrate monitoring to contribute to a potential species recovery plan. Monitoring every ten years using the BALA protocol will inform about habitat quality (see e.g. Gaspar et al. 2011).