Species

BackEupteryx azorica Ribaut, 1941

Eupteryx azorica Ribaut, 1941

Leafhopper (English)

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

Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores

Archipelago(s):
Azores

Reviewer/s:
Danielczak, A.

Contributor/s:
Lucas Lamelas-Lopez

Facilitators / Compilers/s:


Assessment Rationale:

Eupteryx azorica is an endemic species present in eight islands of the Azorean archipelago, not being recorded so far from S. Maria (Azores, Portugal). It has a relatively large extent of occurrence (EOO = ca 22,000 km²) but a relatively small area of occupancy (AOO = 148 km²). The species occurs associated with herbaceous vegetation, mostly endemic but also exotic ferns. It can occur in human modified vegetation, but is more abundant in native habitats, namely natural grasslands. Based upon the small AOO and the fact that the area of occupancy of this species continues in 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:

Eupteryx azorica is an endemic species present in eight islands of the Azorean archipelago, not being recorded so far from S. Maria (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al.2010). Within these eight islands it is known from seven Natural Forest Reserves of  Cabeço do Fogo (Faial); Caiado (Pico); Pico Pinheiro and Topo (S. Jorge); Caldeira Guilherme Moniz and Caldeira Sta. Bárbara e Mistérios Negros (Terceira); Pico da Vara (S. Miguel). The extent of occurrence (EOO) is ca 22,200 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 148 km².

Regions:
Portugal - Azores
Extent of Occurrence (EOO):
22200 (km2)
Area of Occupancy (AOO):
148 (km2)
Elevation Lower Limit:
100 (m)
Elevation Upper Limit:
1200 (m)
Biogeographic Realms:
Palearctic
Presence:
Extant
Origin:
Endemic Azores
Seasonality:
Resident

Population:

Eupteryx azorica  is a widespread and highly abundant species mostly in pristine native forest and grassland habitats. Ongoing spread of invasive plants is changing the habitat dramatically in some sites with an inferred impact on the population abundances.

Habitat and Ecology

This leafhopper is a diurnal phytophagous species that is associated with herbaceous vegetation, mostly endemic but also exotic ferns. It can occur in human modified vegetation, but it is more abundant in native habitats, namely native forest, natural grasslands and bogs.

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 some remaining native forests of Azores, as well as in some Human modified habitats. The main current threat is the spread of invasive species namely 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 regionally protected areas (Natural Parks of Faial, Pico, S. Jorge, Terceira, and S. Miguel).  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. Since this species occurs in relict native Azorean forests, some awareness measures should be implemented. Further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to find extant specimens in more natural grassland sites and obtain information on population size, distribution and trends. Monitoring every ten years using the BALA protocol will inform about habitat quality (see e.g. Gaspar et al. 2011).