Species

BackCyclophora azorensis (Prout, 1920)

Cyclophora azorensis (Prout, 1920)

Geometer Moth (English); Traça (Portuguese)

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Family: Geometridae
LC Least Concern
IUCN Red List Status:

Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores

Archipelago(s):
Azores

Reviewer/s:
Danielczak, A.

Contributor/s:
Nunes, R. & Lamelas-Lopez, L.

Facilitators / Compilers/s:


Assessment Rationale:

Cyclophora azorensis is an endemic species present in the islands of the Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, S. Jorge, Terceira, S. Miguel and Santa Maria (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). It has a large area of ocupancy (AOO = 532 km²) and a large extent of ocurrence (EOO = ca 44,000 km²). It is known from all habitats in which the hostplant Erica azorica grows, but it is especially common in medium /higher altitudes where there are remnants of native forest, being known from all Azorean Natural Forest Reserves. This is a multivoltine species. 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, having also a high range of altitude occupancy (0-1800 m).

Geographic Range:

Cyclophora azorensis is an endemic species present in the islands of the Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, Graciosa, S. Jorge, Terceira, S. Miguel and Santa Maria (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010), known from all habitats in which the hostplant Erica azorica grows, but it is especially common in medium /higher altitudes where there are remnants of Laurisilva forest, being known from all Azorean 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 44,000 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 532 km².

Regions:
Portugal - Azores
Extent of Occurrence (EOO):
44000 (km2)
Area of Occupancy (AOO):
532 (km2)
Elevation Lower Limit:
0 (m)
Elevation Upper Limit:
1800 (m)
Biogeographic Realms:
Palearctic
Presence:
Extant
Origin:
Endemic Azores
Seasonality:
Resident

Population:

The species is very common and well known from several subpopulations. The maintained number of mature individuals is inferred from monitoring schemes (sampled since 1999 by BALA project).

Habitat and Ecology

Cyclophora azorensis occurs in native forest (dominated by Laurus azoricaJuniperus brevifolia and Erica azorica) of all islands and also in all habitats in which the hostplant (Erica azorica) grows, being especially common in higher altitudes (above 500 m Asl) where there are remnants of laurel forest. The larvae are a specialist on Erica azorica. The moth has a continuous development with several generations per year (multivoltine species). Altitudinal range: 10-1800 m.

Major Threat(s):

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). The species is considered common in the native vegetation. The most important ongoing threat to this species is the spread of invasive plants (e.g. Hedychium gardnerianum and Clethra arborea in S. Miguel) that are changing the habitat structure. 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 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 regionally protected areas (Natural Parks of Corvo, Faial, Flores, Graciosa, Pico, S. Jorge, Terceira, S. Miguel and Sta. Maria). 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).