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Bioecology of Culicidae (Diptera; Nematocera) of Taksebt dam of Tizi-Ouzou (Algeria).


In Algeria, Culicidae constitute the biting insects the most harmful to populations, some species may transmit infectious diseases (malaria particularly).Regular anti-mosquito campaigns are being conducted against these insects to reduce their nuisance at level of urban and rural centres. Efficiency of such struggle whether chemical or biological, is dependent of ecology knowledge of these insects. It is a fact that undeniable success are obtained against numerous outbreaks of malaria. However, it should be emphasised that malaria has not vanished from Mediterranean Africa, which remains at hypo-endemic status and may reoccur at any time under its epidemic form under influence of climatic circumstances favouring anopheline development [46, 25, 23]. Furthermore, it would be appropriate to monitor not only the possible arrival of new vectors as Aedes albopictus which has been recently established in Europe and in the major countries of Mediterranean Basin [31, 1, 43, 65^49, 67]including Algeria in North-Africa [37]. It should also be pointed out the introduction of new pathogenic agents such as West Nile virus, which is regularly circulating on the Mediterranean littoral which one of vectors is Culex pipiens [22, 56, 5, 19]. Europe is also at risk of introduction of mosquito-borne equine alphavirus from Americas [16]. and Arboviruses particularly dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses. transmitted by the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti [32, 2]. This rapid global spread was favored by international trade, especially of used tyres, and by its physio-local and ecological plasticity, which allow the species to thrive in a wide range of climates and habitats [67]. Other mosquitoes pathogenic agent's vectors are a real scourge by their painful and annoying bites constitute in fact a nuisance problem [10, 33]. It is within this context that initiation of mosquito's study in the region is a necessary prerequisite towards a more general study. In Algeria, ecological studies on Culididae remain fragmentary [34, 33, 11]because it concerns above all systematic and morphometrics [6, 8, 14, 13, 44, 9, 35, 57, 59], biology and chemical struggle [51, 52, 7, 6, 15] with this in mind that involves our study on Culicidae of Taksebt's dam which constitutes an ecosystem whose objective is :

--to take an inventory of Culicidae species present in this humid area ;and determine biodiversity

--to study seasonal dynamics of preimaginal population (larvae and nymphs) of the main Culex hortensis.s' species.

This bioecological study constitutes an essential contribution to all reasoned action in species preservation, environments and preventing against Culicidae nuisance and vector-borne diseases.


Study sites:

The present study took place in 2014 in Taksebt's dam (36[degrees] 24' 15"N; 4[degrees] 45' 46"E). The dam is located on Oued Aissi of approx. 10 km south-east of Tizi-Ouzou town (Fig 1). The whole site presents a capacity of 175 millions of m3 that is spreading on a surface of 550 hectares. It is fed by rain water and the melting snowpack of Djurdjura. Oued Assi comes down from Djurdjura Massif, generally towards North-South direction until its confluence into Oued Sebaou. This last one in turn flows into the Mediterranean. This region belongs to subhumid bioclimatic stage with temperate winter according to data of 1998 to 2013. The annual rainfall is of 808 mm. They are generally spreading from October to April with peaks in December, January and February.

Culicidae fauna monitoring was performed with help of 15 serial samplings made at intervals of 8 days on duration of 4 months (May to August 2014). Three epigeous sites (in the open air) are retained as stations and are subject of study of their mosquitoes larvae populations ; their choice is supported on representativeness of Culicidae larvae in a productive sites batch, accessibility, sustainability and no treatment by chemical product. (Fig. 1 and 2):

Station I:

is located on the upstream side of the dike (36[degrees]40'12.39"N ; 4[degrees] 6'51.44"E) at about 800 m to South of the dike where small ponds are formed due to the water level decrease of the dam. This site is surrounded by trees layer composed essentially of Populus nigra, populous alba and Nerium oleander (Fig.2a).

Station II:

is located near the dam's dike36[degrees]40'3L24"N;4[degrees] 6'57.93"E). Three vegetative strata: herbaceous, shrubby and tree are present (Fig. 2b).

Station III:

is located on the downstream of Taksebt's dam (36[degrees]40'50.34"N, 4[degrees] 7'0.67"E). It is constituted of waters coming from dam's overflow that form small ponds. This station is rich in dense vegetation composed of Asphodelus microcarpus, of Juncus acutus and of Typha angustifolia (Fig. 2c).

Sampling technique of Culicidae populations:

Sampling of preimaginal stages (larval) have been made according to the technique of dipping (dipper blow) [54, 62, 48, 21]. The dipper of known capacity (c=1l) is put into water, then moved with care avoiding to make turmoil. Ten blows of dipper are therefore made in different spots of the site with a space of 1 m. In laboratory; larvae are selected by species, by stages and counted. For determination of those ones, we consulted works of [53, 57, 58]. This one-time study has also been facilitated by use of identification software of Culicidae of Mediterranean Africa performed by [18].

Ecological index:

Results obtained on bioecology of Culicidae in Taksebt's dam are treated by ecological index. The specific richness in species (S) the relative abundance expressed in percentage ((pi = ni x 100/ N is the ratio of individuals number of Culicidae species ni to total number of individuals of all species inventoried N is frequency of occurrence (constancy) of species in each of the study stations. Constancy (C) is calculated with index C = P x 100/N, where P is the number collected containing species studied and N is the total number of collections made [27, 50]. In each site studied, diversity index of Shannon-Weaver (H') is the fairness (F) are calculated. The first, H' =- [[summation].sup.i=S.sub.i=I] piLog2 pi where pi = ni/N is the relative frequency of individuals category according to i. is used to measure and evaluate diversity of mosquito species for each of the three study stations. Equitability (E) = H'/H'max (where H'max = [log.sub.2]S) was calculated to measure the distribution of individuals within species irrespective of species richness. It varies from 0, if only one species dominates, to 1, if all species show similar abundance [60].


In total 1062 larvae of Cuticidae are inventoried on 2014 in Taksebt's dam (tab 1). Morphological identifications show presence of 8 species belonging to two sub-families: Anophelinae and Culicinae. Among captured species in all stations, Culex hortensis (72, 98%) and Culiseta longiareolata (19, 68 %) are the most abundant

On upstream of the dam, 636 Culicidae individuals spread between 4 species are captured (Table1). Culex hortensis, species batracophile is strongly dominant (65.88%) (fig. 3). In this environment, this species is omnipresent. Culiseta longiareolata, ornithophilous species comes in second rank with a rate of 32.39%.

Near the dike, 60 individuals spread between six species are inventoried (Table 1). Culex impudicus predominates with a percentage of 65 % (Fig.4), followed by Anopheles labranchiae (13.33%) and Aedes caspius (11.66%). The occurrence frequency of Culex impudicus is of 26.66%, and this makes it as accessory specie class, and between 6.66% and 13.33% for other species which are accidental.

Downstream of the dam 366 individuals belonging to three species are inventoried (Table 1). Culex hortensis (97.2%) remains the dominant species; (Fig 5). This last one, qualified as a constant, presents an occurrence frequency of 86,66%, Culex impudicus (F,0=2Q%) and Culiseta longiareolata (F,0=13,33%) are accidental.

The taxonomic diversity differs according to stations (table 2). The specific richness and diversity index of Shannon-Weaver are higher in the stations I and II corresponding to the proximity of the dike and upstream of Taksebt's dam with S = 6, H'= 1.61 bits and S = 4, H'= 1.04 bits respectively. In fact faireness is higher in both stations expressing a trend towards balance between present species number (Table 1).

Fig. 6 presents seasonal dynamics of Cx. hortensis upstream of Taksebt's dam on period from May to August 2014. The choice of this species is justified by its dominance in our study region with a population of 775 individuals, being 72, 97% of the total number. The monitoring of the seasonal dynamics of Cx. hortensis shows in the beginning of May, population is composed of larvae L1, L2 and L3. Presence of young larvae testifies that an outbreak occurred and coincided with the first temperatures rise. Then a progressive population increase is remarked, so no individual of Cx. hortensis is captured at the end of the study period.

8 species of Culicidae, among 48 listed in Algeria [17] have been harvested during our prospecting in North Algeria region. This richness resides in biotopes diversity offered to the development of Culicidae. In Taksebt's dam of Tizi-Ouzou, it is the Gender of Culex which respectively constitutes 87% of the harvesting.

From the 3 study's stations, it is the station II located near the dike of Taksebt's dam which welcomes the highest number of species of Culicidae with relative abundance equal to 75% against 50% and 37% for upstream and downstream of the dam. Needless to say that dam is richer in different sites with dense and diversified vegetal cover composed essentially of Typha angustifolia and Olea europaea.

In Taksebt's dam of Tizi-Ouzou, Cx. hortensis (65, 88%) presents the bulk of catches. Females of Cx. hortensis, feed particularly on amphibians and reptiles [68]. This species has never been involved in pathogenic transmission for human [56]. Larvae of this species may occupy natural sites such as ponds or marshes and so artificial environment such as throughs and irrigation basins [66, 16]. By using the same sampling technique, [40, 12] have identified in swamp of Reghaia 7 species of Culicidae, these are: An. Labranchiae, Cx. pipiens, Cx. mimeticus, Cx. perexiguus, Cx. impudicus, Cs. longiareolata and Uranotaenia unguiculata. [39] noted that Cx. pipiens, (58,48 %) and Cs. longiareolata, (39,5 %) are the most abundant in this environment. These two species occupy as well natural environment than artificial and they are frequently associated to human activities. [17] have classified these two species among ones with larger distribution at level of Mediterranean Africa. [3] report that artificial larval habitats can be colonized by a great diversity of species and high abundance as well, and human artifacts left by the public area collecting water may favor increased mosquito populations. In the NorthEast of Algeria, 13 mosquito species have been inventoried by [14] in region of Collo. These authors report that maximal frequency of Cx. pipiens in humidand sub-humid stages with mild winter and totals more than 50% of Culicidae fauna captured. [44] have inventoried over period of ten months, 12 species of Culicidae in region of Mila. In this locality belonging to semi-arid bioclimatic stages, Cx. pipiens (61, 14 %) and Cs. longiareolata (15, 06%) are the most abundant. By contrast, in the same bioclimatic stage of Constantine region, only six species of Culcidae are identified on a period of two years [10]. This author underlines dominance of Cx. pipiens in different urban environments (R.A = 99%) peri urban (R.A = 98%. In the North-West of Algeria (Tlemcen), [33] noted on the same sampling period, presence of 20 Culicidae species belonging to two sub-families: Anophelinae and Culicinae in different natural and artificial sites. Cx. pipiens (22, 26 %) take the first rank of captures. In Highlands (Tebessa) of arid bioclimatic stage, works of [13] allowed identifying 9 species of Culicidae belonging to sub-family of Culicinae whose species quoted above constitute the essential of harvest with 62, 01% and 32, 57 % respectively. Few larvae specimens of An. labranchiae are captured only in the center of Taksebt's dam (13%). Recent data show population expansion of this potential vector of Plasmodium falciparum (Haemosporida : Plasmodiidae) in Maghreb particularly in Morocco [45, 46, 20, 36, 25, 23, 24].These authors demonstrate its adaptation in artificial sites (rice-farming) and occupy as well oueds and swampy areas. In this study, the seasonal dynamics of Cx. hortensis follows a classic thermophilic trend, larvae of first stages I1 and I2 of Cx. hortensis have been found from the first sampling made on 5 May 2014, and we noted absence of nymphs. What is all goes to say, it is about larvae of a new generation. The outbreaks are multiplying in this site, to record a peak on 7th July with a population of 89 individuals, which is coinciding with temperatures increases (Fig 3). All environmental warming may influence the development cycle of numerous aquatic insects, notably Culicidae [38, 30, 55]. Then, population gradually decreases with individual's dominance of larval development of the last stages (L3, L4 and nymph),to record at last zero values of Cx. hortensis's individuals in sampling of 16 and 24 August due to raising of temperature generating therefore, an intense water evaporation, and consequently a drop in water level and to the drying of the sites. Temperature can favour preimaginal population development of Cx. hortensis because in sites of Taksebt's dam, the highest larvae populations are observed from May (Fig 3).). [28, 64,] report that temperature and food quantity intervene in regulation process of the larvae development speed of Ae caspius. So the spring period is associated to a strong proliferation of preimaginal stages. Several studies demonstrate that high temperatures seem to favour abundance of mosquito larvae and to reduce their development time, particularly larvae of Culex species [29]. According to [11], larval development is faster when water temperature increases. It determines Cx. pipiens larvae's development speed acting principally on larval evolution duration and to a lesser degree on nymphal evolution duration. [4] reports that larval development of Ae. aegypt is soaked not only by low temperatures, but also by high temperatures. That is explaining shortage (decrease) of Cx. hortensis's larval number from end of July and also their absence in August. According to [38, 30, 26, 41], Any warming or cooling of the environment can disturb development cycle of several aquatic insects notably in Culicidae. Furthermore [63] underlines in addition of ecological factors influence on larval development, there are pregnant females' attractiveness according to a site that may explain presence of larval stages. According to [62] oviposition is determined by the site's structure which can be easy access for females.


Bioecological study of Culicidae in Taksebt's dam of Tizi-Ouzou is based on dipping technique use, during a period of 4 months going from 5th May to 28 August 2014. Eight species, belonging to two sub-families are identified. Those one of Anophelinae with a single species, in this case An. labranchiae; potential causal agent of malaria and those one of Culicinae with seven species ; these are Cx. hortensis, Cx. impudicus, Cx. theileri, Cx. perexiguus, Cs. longiareolata, Ae. vexans (virus vector of Tahyna), and at last Ae. caspius. Medical entomologist and veterinarian think that these are the main vector of infectious diseases, quoting West Nil virus, which is transmitted, to human by Ae. caspius. From the 3 study's stations, it is the station II located near the dike of Taksebt's dam which welcomes the highest number of species of Culicidae. In terms of number by species and by station, it should be noted that Cx. hortensis is strongly present in upstream, and in downstream of the dam. One-time study carried out on population of Cx. hortensis is based on the monitoring of variation in time and space of immature stages. So, larval number is relatively high in sites bordered by diversified vegetation. Population explosion provoked by positive climate conditions in May and June allows to this species to settle study sites. In summer period, from end of July, absence of larvae in the site would be due to a temporary nature of these environments. In an additional study, other sampling techniques for mature stage capture are taken into account. However, it is important to further studies on inventory, taxonomy and ecology of these organisms for year-round in order to cover all seasons and being able to detect period of these mosquitoes' intense proliferations. Also it should be necessary to extend the study towards other regions, particularly on species with high transmission risk or having origin of intense nuisance. That should allow us to put in place, permanently, the appropriate means to fight and to control their populations. This issue is important because it concerns public health. We need to bring attention on risk of vector agents's arrival carrying exotic diseases from African Sahel and this is due to the global warming. The whole information should obviously be reinforced by new studies on the ground, with particularly a more detailed analysis about determinism of some processes; already would give an image on spatio-temporal distribution of Culicidae species. This information is likely to be used in fighting organisation against these vectors.


We heartily thank all the staff of Hydraulic Service Department of Wilaya Tizi-Ouzou for their collaboration on the ground. The collection of Culicidae would not be possible without their assistance.

Contributions to knowledge Subject:

This study contributes to the knowledge of Culicidae fauna of the wetlands which present a context particularly favorable to the developments of certain transmissible vectorial diseases. This study put the point on the remarkable richness, abundance, the diversity and the monthly fluctuation of Culicidae in one of these zones (Dam Taksebt Algeria) subjected to considerable ecological upheavals. This with a view to put at the disposal of actors of fight against the diseases transmitted by the mosquitos adatabase reliable and brought up to date necessary for planning, the follow-up and the evaluation of antivectorielle operations of fight.


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(1) Lounaci Z., (2) Doumandji S., (2) Doumandji-Mitiche B., (1) Taguemout M.

(1) Department of Agronomy, University of MouloudMammeri, PB15000 Tizi Ouzou, Algeria.

(2) Department of Agricultural and Forest Zoology, Upper Agronomical National School, El Harrach., Algeria. Avenue Hassan Badi-El Harrach, Algeria.

Address For Correspondence:

LOUNACI_Zohra, Department of Agronomy, University of Mouloud Mammeri,Tizi Ouzou, Algeria. Phone : +213 774015595; Email:, Postal : Street Segna, 16112, Reghaia, Bt 8-Aprt. 23, Algiers, Algeria.

Received 12 July 2016; Accepted 18 September 2016; Available online 22 September 2016

Table 1: relative abundance, RA%; frequency occurrence (constancy), Co;
of Culicidae larvae per sampling station in 2014in Taksebt's dam

                   Station I : Upstream of the dam

Species            Ni    A.R.%   F.O.%   Co
Aedes caspius
Aedes vexans
Culex hortensis    419   65,88   93,33   O
Culex perexiguus   0     0       0
Culex theileri     5     0,79    6,66    At
Culex impudicus    6     0,94    13,33   At
Culiseta           206   32,39   20      At
Totals             636   100     --      --

                   Station II : near the dam's dike

Species            Ni   A.R.%   F.O.%   Co
Anopheles          8    13,33   6,66    At
Aedes caspius      7    11,66   13,33   At
Aedes vexans       1    1,67    6,66    At
Culex hortensis
Culex perexiguus   4    6,67    6,66    At
Culex theileri     1    1,67    6,66    At
Culex impudicus    39   65      26,66   Ac
Totals             60   100     --      --

                   Station III : downstream of the dam

Species            Ni    A.R.%   F.O.%   Co
Aedes caspius
Aedes vexans
Culex hortensis    356   97,2    86,66   O
Culex perexiguus   0     0       0
Culex theileri     0     0       0
Culex impudicus    7     1,9     20      At
Culiseta           3     0.9     13,33   At
Totals             366   100     --      --

(A); Accidental; (Ac) : Accessory ; ((O) : Omnipresent.

Table 2: Specific richness, S : and diversity index
(Shannon-Wiener diversity, H'; Equitability ,E) of
Culicidae's larvae per station in 2014 in Taksebt's dam.

Stations         Upstream of    near the     downstream of
Parameters       the dam        dam's dike   the dam

S                4              6            3
H' (bits)        1,04           1,61         0,20
H' max (bits)    2              2,58         1,58
E.               0,52           0,62         0,13

Fig. 3: Relative abundance of Culicidae species inventoried
upstream of the Taksebt's dam.

Culiseta longiareolata    32,39%
Culex impudicus            0,94%
Culex theileri             0,79%
Culex hortensis           65,88%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Fig. 4: Relative abundance (R.A. %) of Culicidae species
inventoried near the dike of Taksebt's dam.

Anopheles labranchiae      13,33%
Aedes caspius              11,66%
Culex perexiguus            6,67%
Aedes vexans                1,67%
Culex theileri              1,67%
Culex impudicus               65%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Fig. 5: Relative abundance (R.A.%) of Culicidae species
Inventoried upstream of  the Taksebt's dam.

Station III

Culex impudicu.            1,9%
Culiseta longiareolata     0,9%
Culex hortensis           97,2%

Note: Table made from pie chart.
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Author:Lounaci, Z.; Doumandji, S.; Doumandji-Mitiche, B.; Taguemout, M.
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:6ALGE
Date:Sep 1, 2016
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