BackCatops velhocabrali Blas & Borges, 1998

Catops velhocabrali Blas & Borges, 1998

Azorean small scavenger beetle (English)

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Coleoptera
  • Family: Leiodidae
CR Critically Endangered
IUCN Red List Status:

Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores


Danielczak, A.


Facilitators / Compilers/s:

Assessment Rationale:

Catops velhocabrali is an endemic species from Santa Maria (Azores, Portugal).  It has a very small extent of occurrence (EOO = 12 km²) and area of occupancy (AOO = 12 km²). There is a continuing decline in the EOO, AOO, extent and quality of habitat as well as the number of mature individuals as a result of major land-use change in the last 100 years. The species occurs only at one location. Therefore, we suggest as future measures of conservation: (1) regular monitoring of the species; and (2) removal of invasive plants and reforestation with native trees. Based upon the small geographic range of the species with only one location and continuing decline of its habitat area and quality, it is assessed as Critically Endangered.

Geographic Range:

Catops velhocabrali is a single island endemic species from Santa Maria (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al., 2010), known from Natural Forest Reserve of Pico Alto. The extent of occurrence (EOO) is 12 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is km².

Portugal - Azores
Extent of Occurrence (EOO):
12 (km2)
Area of Occupancy (AOO):
12 (km2)
Elevation Lower Limit:
450 (m)
Elevation Upper Limit:
550 (m)
Biogeographic Realms:
Endemic Azores


The species is very rare and only known from a single subpopulation in Sta. Maria island. A continuing decline in the number of mature individuals is inferred due to human activities (associated with agriculture and cattle pollution), a small subpopulation, small patches and by the expansion of alien plants.

Habitat and Ecology

This species occurs in different habitats: native forests, Cryptomeria japonica plantations and MSS - Mesocavernous Shallow Stratum in Sta. Maria island (Blas and Borges 1999). This species has an altitudinal range between 450 and 550 m. It is a decomposer of organic matter (saprophagous) with night activity.

Major Threat(s):

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). One of the most important ongoing threat to this species is the spread of invasive plants namely Pittosporum undulatum and Hedychium gardnerianum. 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).

Conservation Actions

The species is not protected by regional law. Its habitat is in a regionally protected area (Natural Park of Santa Maria). The Santa Maria Natural Park administration is currently starting control measures of the invasive plants. 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. It is necessary a monitoring plan for the invertebrate community in the MSS 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. Further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to find extant specimens in new sites with MSS habitat and obtain information on population size, distribution and trends. A monitoring every ten years using the BALA protocol will inform about habitat quality (see e.g. Gaspar et al. 2011).