Local extinctions and range contraction of the endangered Coenagrion mercuriale in North Africa


Freshwater biodiversity is currently threatened worldwide. In North Africa, 24.4% of Odonata are regionally threatened with extinction. In this region, freshwater resources are particularly scarce and an increasing shortage of water is expected. To better understand the current threats to the endangered North African damselfly Coenagrion mercuriale we updated information on extinct and extant populations in North Africa and characterized these localities with regard to their topography, climate and anthropogenic use (anthrome). The C. mercuriale populations are being lost and this damselfly is experiencing range contraction. In Morocco nearly 45% of the populations have become extinct in recent decades and in Tunisia a single extant population remains. This species, which occupied predominantly areas of high value for human settlement, is now mainly restricted to high altitude areas. Nevertheless, the extant populations remain under threat of extinction due to increasing demand for water, changes in agricultural practices and land conversion.

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