BackTarphius furtadoi Borges & Serrano, 2017

Tarphius furtadoi Borges & Serrano, 2017

Ironclad Beetle (English) / Escaravelho-cascudo-da-mata (Portuguese)

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Coleoptera
  • Family: Zopheridae
EN Endangered
IUCN Red List Status:

Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores


Danielczak, A.


Facilitators / Compilers/s:

Assessment Rationale:

Tarphius furtadoi is an endemic species present in S. Jorge, Pico and Faial islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2017). It has an extent of occurrence of 890 km² and an area of occupancy of 48 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 the invasions of non-native plants. The species occurs mainly in the soil of native forests, but also under the bark and dead wood of endemic and exotic trees (e.g. Cryptomeria japonica and Acacia sp.). In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size. Therefore, we suggest as future measures of conservation: (1) a long-term monitoring plan of the species; and (2) control of invasive species, namely Hedychium gardneranum. The species is assessed as Endangered (EN).

Geographic Range:

Tarphius furtadoi is an endemic species present in S. Jorge, Pico and Faial islands (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2017), known from Natural Reserves of Caveiro, Lagoa do Caiado and Mistério da Prainha (Pico island); Pico Pinheiro and Topo (S. Jorge island) and Cabeço do Fogo and Caldeira do Faial (Faial island). The extent of occurrence (EOO) is ca 890 km² and the maximum estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 48 km².

Portugal - Azores
Extent of Occurrence (EOO):
890 (km2)
Area of Occupancy (AOO):
48 (km2)
Elevation Lower Limit:
250 (m)
Elevation Upper Limit:
1000 (m)
Biogeographic Realms:
Endemic Azores


The species is abundant, particularly in the well preserved patches of native forests of S. Jorge, Pico and Faial islands (Borges et al. 2017). A continuing decline in the number of mature individuals is inferred from monitoring schemes and from the ongoing habitat degradation due to invasions of alien plants (Borges et al. 2017). This species is assessed here as severely fragmented as at least 50% of its population can be found in subpopulations that are 1) smaller than would be required to support a viable population, and 2) separated from other habitat patches by a large distance. In fact, the species occurs in fragments that are isolated in a matrix of pastures.

Habitat and Ecology

The species is particularly abundant, namely this species live in the soil and occurring in some of the larger and well preserved patches of native forests of S. Jorge, Pico and Faial islands. It also occurs under the bark of dead wood of endemic and exotic trees (Borges et al. 2017). This species has an altitudinal range between 250 and 1000 m. It is a nocturnal fungivorous species.

Major Threat(s):

In the past, the species has probably strongly declined due to changes in habitat size and quality (Triantis et al. 2010). Currently, the rapid advance and expansion of invasive plants species is the major threat (Borges et al. 2017), particularly Hedychium gardnerianum and Pittosporum undulatum since are changing the habitat structure, namely decreasing the cover of bryophytes and ferns in the soil and promoting the spread of other plants. The management of Cryptomeria japonica plantations could be also a problem for the subpopulations living in this habitat. Based on Ferreira et al. 2016 the habitat will further decline as a consequence of climate change (increasing number of droughts and habitat shifting and alteration). The future removal of some patches with exotic vegetation for pasture implementation may also be a threat for some subpopulations occurring in this marginal habitat.

Conservation Actions

The species is not protected by regional law. Its habitat is in regionally protected areas (Natural Forest Reserves of Mistério da Prainha, Caveiro and Caiado in Pico island; Pico Pinheiro and Topo in S. Jorge island and Cabeço do Fogo and Caldeira do Faial in Faial island). Degraded habitats should be restored with the removal of invasive species. A strategy needs also to be developed to address the future threat by climate change. A habitat management plan is needed and anticipated to be developed during the coming years. Since this species is an icon of the relict native Azorean forests, it is suggested that some awareness measures should be put in practice. Further research is needed into its ecology and life history in order to find extant specimens in additional native forest fragments and obtain information on population size, distribution and trends. It is also necessary an area-based management plan and a monitoring plan for the invertebrate community in the habitat in order to contribute to perform a species potential recovery plan. A monitoring every ten years using the BALA protocol will inform about habitat quality (see e.g. Gaspar et al. 2011).