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Aloeides nubilus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ARTHROPODA INSECTA LEPIDOPTERA LYCAENIDAE

Scientific Name: Aloeides nubilus
Species Authority: Henning & Henning, 1982
Common Name(s):
English Cloud Copper

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A3ce; B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Larsen, T.B.
Reviewer(s): Lewis, O. & Bohm, M.
Contributor(s): Senior, M. & Topham, E.
Justification:

Aloeides nubilus (Cloud Copper) was previously listed on the IUCN Red Data List as Vulnerable (D2). However, the most recent South African Red Data Book lists the species as Endangered [EN A3ce; B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)] and that assessment is supported here. The current extent of occurrence (EOO) is approximately 400 km2 and the area of occupancy (AOO) is smaller than 50 km2 as the species only inhabits rocky areas in montane grasslands and forests (Henning et al. 2009). The distribution is severely fragmented and there is an ongoing decline in EOO, AOO, the area of habitat, the number of locations and the number of mature individuals (Henning et al. 2009). Both the extent of occurrence (EOO) and the area of occupancy (AOO) are less than the respective thresholds for Endangered (EN) species under criterion B. The species is found in just four locations and there is an ongoing decline in EOO, AOO, and habitat area. The population is also projected to decline as a result of the declining distribution and threat from an invasive tree species.  

History:
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Rare (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species is narrowly restricted to Mpumulanga Province in South Africa where it is known from only a few small colonies. These are located in Klipbankspruit near Sabie, Mount Sheba Nature Reserve, and in the Morgenzon Forestry area at the top of Robber’s Pass near Pilgrim’s Rest. It was also recorded from Sterkspruit Nature Reserve (Pringle et al. 1994, Woodhall 2005, Henning et al. 2009). The extent of occurrence (EOO) of this species is estimated as no more than 400 km2 and its area of occupancy is considerably smaller (estimated as less than 50 km2) since the species only inhabits rocky areas in montane grasslands and forests within the EOO.


Countries:
Native:
South Africa (Mpumalanga)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The Cloud Copper is rare and extremely localized within its restricted distribution. Henning et al. (2009) state that you cannot expect to encounter more than 20 specimens flying on any one day and that the colony at Robber's Pass consists of about 200 specimens emerging annually. The population is suspected to be reduced by more than 50% in the future as a result of the decline in area of occupancy (AOO), extent of occurrence (EOO), habitat quality, and the introduction of an invasive tree species which is further reducing the extent of the species' habitat (Henning et al. 2009).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The habitat is primarily low rocky ridges in mistbelt montane grassland interspersed with Afromontane forest (Pringle et al. 1994, Woodhall 2005). This habitat only occurs above 1,800 m (Henning et al. 2009). Males establish territories on flat areas above rocky ridges. Females are usually found below the ridges and spend a great deal of time walking on the ground or basking in the sun (Pringle et al. 1994). The larval food plant is thought to be Rotheca hirsuta (Lamiaceae) (Henning et al. 2009).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The tiny, several hundred metre long Robbers Pass colony is limited to a ridge with an infestation of the invasive tree species Acacia mearnsii (Fabaceae). This is also not far from the Trout Hideaway colony. The vegetation in the habitat of this species is classed as Endangered (Henning et al. 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This butterfly is found in the Sterkspruit Nature Reserve and near the Mount Sheba Nature Reserve, but no species-specific conservation measures are currently in place for this species. Henning et al. (2009) suggest the following conservation measures: "Population levels and habitat quality should be monitored regularly. There should be no further habitat encroachment due to either plantation forestry or infestation of alien trees. The latter should be removed. Plantation forestry should be subject to environmental impact assessments. Autecological studies are needed."

Citation: Larsen, T.B. 2011. Aloeides nubilus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 October 2014.
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