Ecological correlates of odonate assemblages of a Mediterranean stream, Wadi Cherf, northeastern Algeria: implications for conservation


We investigated the odonates of Wadi Cherf, a tributary of Wadi Seybouse, and explored the main environmental factors that may be important drivers of the abundance and diversity of Odonata assemblages. PCA analyses demonstrated a significant altitudinal gradient associated with water flow, temperature, vegetation cover, substrate and adjacent land use. Notably, pollution was a dominant structuring factor and the most widespread species, Ischnura graellsii and the North African endemic Platycnemis subdilatata, were the most pollution-tolerant species. Similarly, co-inertia analysis indicated that environmental factors could account for 70% of the co-variation in shaping odonate assemblages. Equally important, threatened species were associated with less degraded but vulnerable habitats, most susceptible to anthropogenic impacts. There is thus a need to develop monitoring tools to assess the ecological integrity of North African rivers and implement a management plan that considers both connectivity and heterogeneity to ensure that Wadi Cherf, a sanctuary to three threatened species Calopteryx exul (EN), Coenagrion mercuriale (EN) and Gomphus lucasii (VU), continues to provide critical ecosystem functions.

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