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Elipsocus azoricus is an endemic damp bark lice species present in the nine islands of the Azorean archipelago (Azores, Portugal). It has a relatively large extent of occurrence (EOO = ca 42,000 km²) but a relatively small area of occupancy (AOO = 280 km²). This species occurs mainly in Azorean native forest, but also in shrubland, exotic forest and other disturbed habitats. It is a generalist species that feeds on algae, lichens and plant matter (saprophyte in many instances). It is abundant in the canopies, trunks and under the bark of endemic trees but can also be found on the forest floor and on exotic trees. It favours humid and sheltered microhabitats. Based upon the large extent of occurrence, the good adaptation to human modified habitat and few threats it is assessed as Least Concern (LC).
Elipsocus azoricus is an endemic damp bark lice species present in the nine islands of the Azorean archipelago (Borges et al. 2010). Within these nine islands it is known from eighteen Natural Forest Reserves: Caldeiras Funda e Rasa and Morro Alto e Pico da Sé (Flores); Caldeira do Faial and Cabeço do Fogo (Faial); Mistério da Prainha, Caveiro and Caiado (Pico); Pico Pinheiro and Topo (S. Jorge); Biscoito da Ferraria, Pico Galhardo, Caldeira Guilherme Moniz, Caldeira Sta. Bárbara e Mistérios Negros and Terra Brava (Terceira); Atalhada, Graminhais and Pico da Vara (S. Miguel) and Pico Alto (Sta. Maria). The extent of occurrence (EOO) is ca 42,000 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 280 km².
Elipsocus azoricus is a widespread and abundant species. The species presents a stable population and exists in nine islands. We assume no impact for the population.
This species occurs mainly in the Azorean native forests but also in exotic forests and modified vegetation. It is a generalist species that feeds on algae, lichens and plant matter (saprophyte in many instances). It is abundant in the canopies, trunks and under the bark of endemic trees but can also be found on the forest floor and on exotic trees. It favours humid and sheltered micro habitats being active during the day and night. Based on seasonal data from SLAM traps obtained in several islands between 2012 and 2016, the adults are active all year, being most abundant in spring and summer (Borges et al. 2017).
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). 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 impact of invasive plants is minor since the species occurs in trunks and canopies trees.
The species is not protected by regional law. Its habitat is in regionally protected areas (Natural Parks of Corvo, Faial, Flores, Graciosa, Pico, S. Jorge, Terceira, S. Miguel and Sta. Maria). The Terceira Natural Park administration is currently starting control measures of the invasive plants. 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. 2011).