BackCixius insularis Lindberg, 1954

Cixius insularis Lindberg, 1954

Tree lacehopper (English)

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Hemiptera Fulgoromorpha
  • Family: Cixiidae
NT Near Treatened
IUCN Red List Status:

Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores


Danielczak, A.

Lamelas-Lopez, L.

Facilitators / Compilers/s:

Assessment Rationale:

Cixius insularis is an endemic canopy phytophagous species from the Azores, occurring only in S. Miguel island (Borges et al. 2010). It has a relatively small area of occupancy (AOO = 208 km²) and extent of occurrence (EOO = 633 km²). It is mainly present in native forest fragments and in areas where native trees can be found. The quality of the habitat is decreasing due to the spread of invasive species (Hedychium gardnerianum and Pittosporum undulatum) that are changing the habitat structure. Based on Ferreira et al. (2016) the habitat will decline as a consequence of climate change (increasing number of droughts). Based upon the small AOO and the fact that the area of occupancy of this species continues to decline due to habitat degradation in the native forest (mostly due to invasive plants) and to habitat fragmentation, it is assessed as Near Threatened (NT).

Geographic Range:

Cixius insularis is a single island endemic tree lacehopper species from S. Miguel (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). It occurs mainly in the humid native forest of this archipelago and is known from Natural Forest Reserves of Atalhada, Graminhais and Pico da Vara. However, it occurs also in human modified habitats. The extent of occurrence (EOO) is 633 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 208 km².

Portugal - Azores
Extent of Occurrence (EOO):
633 (km2)
Area of Occupancy (AOO):
208 (km2)
Elevation Lower Limit:
10 (m)
Elevation Upper Limit:
1200 (m)
Biogeographic Realms:
Endemic Azores


Cixius insularis is widespread and abundant in S. Miguel Island, occurring mostly in native vegetation but also in exotic or naturalised vegetation.

Habitat and Ecology

This species occurs mainly in the Azorean native forest. It is a generalist diurnal canopy phytophagous species that has been found on different native plants, but also in some exotic plants. 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).

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). However, the species seems to have survived in the remaining native forests of S. Miguel, as well as in some Human modified habitats. The main current threat is the spread of invasive species namely Hedychium gardnerianum and Pittosporum undulatum. 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 S. Miguel). Further research is needed to monitor the species and conservation measures to control the invasive plant Hedychium gardnerianum should be implemented to improve habitat quality for this 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 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).