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Influence of the absence of irrigation water on the arthropod complex in a lucerne (Medicago sativa Linne) in Mitidja (Algeria).


The spread of alfalfa in the world is the consequence of its agronomic, ecological and socio-economic roles [28]. Numerous studies highlight the agronomic, fodder and zootechnical improvements of alfalfa, in particular those of [6], which examined the increase in grassland area as permanent alfalfa on a polyculture-livestock farming area. Work on the pollinating biology of Osmia (Chalcosmia) carulescens Linne (Hymenoptera; Megachilidae) in relation to alfalfa (Medicago sativa Linne) should be mentioned [27]. Concerning alfalfa itself, [23] examined the genetic diversity, conservation and utilization of the genetic resources of this species on the Mediterranean rim. In Algeria, as part of the intensification of forage production in the Aures region, [1] encouraged its generalization to limit the problems of the degradation of plant formations in this region. In addition, [8] discussed the situation of perennial alfalfa and its introduced varieties in the South-East of the Sahara. [7] found that alfalfa and clover occupy very small areas ranging from 1 to 5% of the area of forage grown. [11] highlights the low quality of forage which is a major constraint for dairy cattle breeding in Algeria. Alfalfa and sorghum occupy very few areas of the UAA. In order to produce 3.6 billion liters of food-safe threshold milk, 600,000 high yield cows will have to be fed with one Minimum of 150,000 ha of corn forage and 100,000 ha of alfalfa, or 250,000 ha of irrigated forage crops according to [26]. In Algeria, [15] applied two sampling methods, pitfall and netting, to determine the diversity and distribution of community arthropods in three one-, two-, and three-year-old alfalfa Northern part of the Sahara. In addition, the research of [3], on the Diptera attending a lucerne, in the plain of Mitidja. The aim of this study is to compile an inventory of alfalfainfested Arthropods in the Mitidja Plain. It is to the importance of this culture and even the region of Mitidja that this work is done.


This work is done in the Mitidja (Algerois) plain, one of the most important sub-littoral plains of Algeria ([19], [2]). Gently sloping, from west to east, over 100 kilometers, it circumnavigates the southern part of the Algerian Sahel. It opens on the Mediterranean at the border of Bordj El Kiffan (36[degrees]45'N, 3[degrees]11'E.) and Surcouf (36[degrees]47'N, 3[degrees]15'E.). The present study is carried out in a lucerne (1 ha), located at an altitude of 24 m in the Technical Institute of Field Crops of Oued Smar (36[degrees]43'N., 3[degrees]09'E.) is actually A seed production and demonstration farm (I.T.G.C.) located at Beaulieu (36[degrees]43'N.; 3[degrees]09'E.) at an altitude of 24 m. This station is limited to the north by the agglomerations of Bab Ezzouar and Mohammadia, to the east by Dar El Beida, to the south by the Eucalyptus and to the west by El Harrach. The soils of the farm have a clay-silty texture (45 to 50% clay). The type of trap adopted is that of yellow plates. In order to give a picture as faithful as possible of the whole stand of Arthropods of this alfalfa. Yellow plates are small containers of lemon-yellow plastic, which are placed close to the vegetation in order to trap the winged insects that move beneath the plants. These colored traps are filled with water up to half their height. It is strongly advised to add a wetting agent, a kind of detergent which dissolves the lipids of the epicuticule, which prevents the trapped species from leaving the pot [18]. This type of trap acts thanks to a double attractiveness. The first is due to the bright yellow hue and the other to the flickering of the water by reverberation under the effect of solar radiation. These are set up once a month, from July to October 2014. At regular intervals of 5 m, 5 colored traps are placed on the ground in line and left for 24 hours each month.

The techniques used in the laboratory consisted of comparing the samples collected in the field with those from the reference collections of the E.N.S.A insectarium. Of El Harrach, and subjected to the keys of determination such as ([10], [20], [21], [20] and [17], [18]). In the present study, the results obtained are treated by ecological indices of composition and structure. The ecological indices of composition used to exploit the results from this work are the total (S) and average (Sm) richnesses and the centesimal frequency or relative abundance (A.R.%). The structural ecological indices used to derive the results from this work are the ShannonWeaver H 'diversity index and the E equitability index. The Shannon-Weaver (H') diversity index Makes it possible to evaluate the diversity of a stand in a biotope [5]. According to the same author, the index of diversity of Shannon-Weaver is the best index that can be adopted.

H' = -[summation] qi [Log.sup.2] qi

H': Shannon-Weaver diversity index expressed in bits

qi: Probability of encountering species i and it is calculated by the following formula:

qi = ni/N.

N: Total number of individuals of all species

[Log.sub.2]: Logarithm based on 2

Equity refers to the degree of regularity of the population in a community or community [24]. It makes it possible to make comparisons between two stands with different specific riches.

E = H'/H' max.

E: Fairness; H': Diversity index of Shannon-Weaver in bits; H'max.: Maximum diversity index.

H' max = [Log.sub.2] S

S: Total number of species found in N surveys.

In the present study, the knowledge of the value of E makes it possible to determine whether the numbers of the species caught in the yellow plates tend to be in equilibrium with each other.


The results of the various arthropods trapped by the yellow plates are treated by ecological indices of composition and those of structure.

The value of the total wealth (S), of the species of Arthropods counted by the method of the yellow plates in this alfalfa is 79 species. The average wealth (Sm) of Arthropods recorded in this lucerne is 29.3 [+ or -] 9.54 species. [15] report the presence of 66 species of Arthropods in a lucerne of one year in the Sahara of Algeria.

The species collected in this work during the four outings are 79 species divided into 4 classes, of which the Insecta ranks first with 72 species (AR% = 91.1%), followed by that of Collembola with 4 species Species (AR% = 5.1%) and by the Collembola with 2 species (AR% = 2.5%). The other class is very little mentioned (Figure 1). For individuals, 542, 528 (A.R = 97.6%) belong to the class of Insecta against only 7 Collembola (A.R = 1.3%) and 5 Arachnida (A.R. = 0.9%). On the other hand, Gastropoda have little contact with 2 individuals (A.R = 0.4%) (Fig.1).

In terms of species or numbers, the Insecta class ranks first. This there can be explained by the use of yellow plates as a type of trap. The latter trap thanks to their double attractiveness, their yellow color and the flicker of water under the effect of light ([16], [25], [13], [14], [4]).

The fauna sampled in alfalfa at the I.T.G.C. (The present study) is distributed among 13 orders of which the Hymenoptera dominates with 23 species (AR% = 29.1%), followed by the Diptera order with 21 species (AR% = 26.6%), Homoptera And Coleoptera with 11 species (AR% = 13.9%), Lepidoptera with 3 species (AR% 3.8%), followed by Aranea and Entomobryomorpha with 2 species each (AR% = 2.5%). The other orders are weakly represented (Fig.2). In numbers the Homoptera occupy the first position with 300 individuals (A.R.% = 55,4%). Hymenoptera interact with 150 individuals (A.R.% = 27.7%) followed by Diptera with 40 individuals (A.R.% = 7.4%) and Coleoptera with 18 individuals (A.R.% = 7.4%). Thysanurata intervenes with 14 individuals (A.R.% = 2.6%), Aranea and Entomobryomorpha occur with 5 individuals each (A.R.% = 0.9%). Other orders are weakly contacted.

In the present work the order of Diptera is well represented with 21 species. These observations are consistent with those of [3].

The species dominant in the present study are 6. They are an undetermined species of Aphididae with 45.6% for (N = 247 individuals), Cataglyphis viaticus with 10.7% for (N = 58 individuals), Tapinoma nigerrimum with 6.3% for (N = 34 individuals), an undetermined species sp. 1 of Jassidae with 3.1% for (N = 17 individuals), an indeterminate species sp. 1 of Chalcidae with 3.0% for (N = 16 individuals) and one indeterminate species sp. 1 of Thysanoptera with 2.6% for (N = 14 individuals). The other species are poorly represented (0.18% [less than or equal to] A.R.% [less than or equal to] 2.21%).

Probably because of a great drought, accentuated by the absence of irrigation, in the field of alfalfa at the I.T.G.C., A multiplication of Aphides occurred. This observation reinforces that of ([12], [9]).

The structural ecological indices used for this work are the Shannon-Weaver index of diversity and the index of equirepartition or equitability.

The Shannon-Weaver diversity index reaches 1.02 bits, within the lucerne. This value is low. As a result, the stand diversity sampled in this lucerne is very low. The calculated equitability for species at the lucerne level is 0.54, implying that the numbers of the different species have a slight tendency to be in equilibrium between them during the sampling period from July to October 2014.

This is due perhaps to the multiplication of social insects like the ant Cataglyphis viaticus, Tapinoma nigerrimum and Aphids with short biological cycle (parthenogenesis).

The values obtained in this study are lower than those of [15] in the lucerne of the age of one year in the Sahara of Algeria which notes a diversity equal to 3.10 bits using the Barber pots. Concerning fairness, the latter authors note the value of 0.63 in the same plot and the same method. The work of [3] in the same luzerniere of the present study on alfalfa diptera found the Shannon-Weaver diversity index reaches 1.4 bits. This value is low. As a result, the stand diversity sampled in this lucerne is very low. The calculated equivalence for species at the lucerne level is 0.9, which implies that all species have almost the same abundance during the sampling period from July to October 2014.


According to this study, this field of alfalfa (Medicago sativa Linnaeus) harbors a total wealth of arthropods of 79 species and 528 in terms of individuals. This can be explained by the absence of inputs of irrigation water and special works, allows the installation of a greater number of species of Arthropods. This results in the multiplication of social insects such as the ant Cataglyphis viaticus, Tapinoma nigerrimum and short-cycle Aphids (parthenogenesis).


A big thank you to all those of the Department of Agricultural and Forestry Zoology, teachers and students who have participated in this work for their help and encouragement.

Subject Contributions to knowledge

It would be desirable to take into account the pests of these crops that are of greatest concern to farmers, such as gall midge on forage crops. The development of an effective integrated pest management strategy against these phytophagous insects requires a thorough knowledge of their taxonomy and bioecology.


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BENDOUMIA Houda, TERGOU Saida and DOUMANDJI Salaheddine

Department of Agricultural and Forest Zooloy, Agronomic National School Superior of El Harrach, Algeria Avenue Hassan Badi, 16200, El Harrach, Algeria

Address For Correspondence:

BENDOUMIA Houda, Department of Agricultural and Forest Zooloy, Agronomic National School Superior of El Harrach, Algeria Avenue Hassan Badi, 16200, El Harrach, Algeria.


Received 12 August 2016; Accepted 17 December 2016; Available online 22 December 2016
Fig. 1.: Centesimal frequencies of the
different classes sampled in a lucerne
at I.T.G.C.

Gastropoda   1%
Arachnida    3%
Collembola   5%
Insecta      91%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Fig. 2: Centesimal frequencies of
orders sampled in yellow plates in
a lucerne at I.T.G.C.

Pulmonae          1.27
Aranea            2.53
Entombryomorpha   2.53
Symphypleona      1.27
Poduromorpha      1.27
Orthoptera        1.27
Thysanourata      1.27
Heteroptera       1.27
Homoptera         13.92
Coleoptera        13.92
Hymenoptera       29.11
Lepidoptera       3.80
Diptera           26.58

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:Houda, Bendoumia; Saida, Tergou; Salaheddine, Doumandji
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Date:Dec 1, 2016
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