Species

BackMicrurapteryx bistrigella (Rebel, 1940)

Micrurapteryx bistrigella (Rebel, 1940)

Moth (English); Traça (Portuguese)

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Family: Gracillariidae
EN Endangered
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:

Micrurapteryx bistrigella is an endemic species from Flores, Pico, S. Jorge and Terceira islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). It has a large extent of occurrence (EOO = ca 6,200 km²) and a small area of occupancy (AOO = 32 km²).  In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality. The species is a widespread and relatively abundant species in native plants from medium and hight altitudes (e.g. Hypericum foliosumMorella faya) of several habitats in four islands (Azores). We assume that the species presents stable populations. Based on Ferreira et al. (2016) the habitat will further decline as a consequence of climate change. Based upon the small area of occupancy and decrease of habitat quality it is assessed as Endangered.

Geographic Range:

Micrurapteryx bistrigella is an endemic species from Flores, Pico, S. Jorge and Terceira islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). It is especially known in higher elevations where there are remnants of native forest, being known from the Natural Forest Reserves of Caldeiras Funda e Rasa (Flores) and Biscoito da Ferraria (Terceira). The extent of occurrence (EOO) is ca 6,200 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 32 km².

Regions:
Portugal - Azores
Extent of Occurrence (EOO):
6200 (km2)
Area of Occupancy (AOO):
32 (km2)
Elevation Lower Limit:
10 (m)
Elevation Upper Limit:
800 (m)
Biogeographic Realms:
Palearctic
Presence:
Extant
Origin:
Endemic Azores
Seasonality:
Resident

Population:

The species is a widespread and relatively abundant species in native plants from medium and hight altitudes (e.g. Hypericum foliosumMorella faya) of several habitats in four islands (Azores). We assume that the species presents stable populations.

Habitat and Ecology

Micrurapteryx bistrigella occurs in several habitats with native vegetation in the four Azorean islands. This leafminer is a specialist herbivore, and was found associated with Hypericum foliosum and Morella faya plants; it flies from June to August, and has probably two generations per year. Altitudinal range: 10-800 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). Currently Cryptomeria japonica plantations managemenet and invasive plants 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).

Conservation Actions

The species is not protected by regional law. Its habitat is in regionally protected areas (Natural Parks of Flores, Pico, S. Jorge and Terceira). Further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to learn about the ecological requirements of the species and confirm data on 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).