Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores
Nunes, R. & Lamelas-Lopez, L.
Facilitators / Compilers/s:
Mesapamea storai is an endemic species present in Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, S. Jorge, Terceira and S. Miguel islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). It has a relatively small area of occupancy (AOO = 248 km²) and a large extent of occurrence (EOO = ca 28,000 km²). The species can be found in native forest fragments, but also in the habitats which are dominated by forest plantations and patches of semi-natural and exotic vegetation, being known from twelve Natural Forest Reserves. Based on Ferreira et al. (2016) the habitat will decline as a consequence of climate change. The species is assessed as Least Concern (LC) due to the widespread distribution and high abundance in several habitats, having also a high range of altitude occupancy (10-1000 m).
Mesapamea storai is an endemic species present in Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, S. Jorge, Terceira and S. Miguel islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010), known from native forest but also in habitats located in and around exotic coniferous forests (e.g. in Terceira island above 350 m Asl) (Vieira et al. 1998), being known from twelve Natural Forest Reserves: Caldeiras Funda e Rasa and Morro Alto e Pico da Sé (Flores); Caldeira do Faial and Cabeço do Fogo (Faial); Pico Pinheiro and Topo (S. Jorge); Biscoito da Ferraria, Caldeira Guilherme Moniz, Caldeira Sta. Bárbara e Mistérios Negros and Terra Brava (Terceira); Graminhais and Pico da Vara (S. Miguel). The extent of occurrence (EOO) is ca 28,000 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 248 km².
This species is common in most Azorean islands except Santa Maria, being rare in terms of abundance at lower elevations (e.g., in Terceira island) (Vieira et al. 1998), and abundant at medium and high elevations, where it occurs mostly in native vegetation (Juniperus brevofilia and Laurus azorica forests), despite it can also occurs in exotic coniferous forests. This species presents a stable population.
Mesapamea storai occurs at medium and high elevations in the Azorean islands except Santa Maria (above 350 m Asl), preferably associated with native grasses (e.g. Holcus azoricus; Poaceae) of Juniperus brevifolia woodland forests as well as habitats located in and around exotic coniferous forests. The larvae develops from autumn to spring, and the moths fly readily to light from March to November (Vieira et al. 1998). Possibly it is a specialist herbivore, and has about three generations per year. Altitudinal range: 10-1000 m.
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). 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 Corvo, Faial, Flores, Graciosa, Pico, S. Jorge, Terceira and S. Miguel). 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).