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Myrmecofauna in eastern part of Mitidja in Algiers, Algeria.


Ants are present and abundant in Algeria as in all countries with mild winter, According to Cagniant [6] they are present everywhere, in the towns and from the seaside until the highest mountains. Present in forests as in discovered sites. They are enough easy to be observed. Ants are social insects, which play an important role within ecosystem, constituting crucial components of their functioning Bernard [2]. Biodiversity of these insects is not very well known in Algeria. In effect, very few studies had been devoted for them in natural environments, Bernard [2] and Cagniant [5,6,7]. The present work is focused on study of myrmecofauna of a natural herbaceous environment and on a citrus orchard in the Mitidja plain.

Environment study:

Our study has been undertaken in two regions geographically contiguous, the first one, natural, which is in region of Bab-Ezzouar, within university campus of University of Science and Technology Houari Boumedienne and the second one, which is a private farm, located in Baraki. To perform our study, we have chosen two nearby regions that are submitted to the same climate conditions (Figure.1)

Geographical localisation:

The university campus of (U.S.T.B.H) University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene located in the county of Bab-Ezzouar spreading on 105 ha and is located at about twenty km of Algiers, in south-east suburb and at 5 km of International Houari Boumediene airport (36[degrees]42'52''N, 3[degrees]10'56"E).The agricultural holding which belongs to Baraki city, distant of 10 km from USTHB, is located in the south of the capital. Its total cultivable area is 50 ha (36[degrees] 42'N.; 3[degrees] 08'E.). It is an open environment formed of mosaic essential plants, sown in cereals notably with barley (Hordeum vulgare) and wheat (Triticum sp.). The herbaceous station presents a recovery of 100 %. The vegetation is highly diversified and litter recovers all the ground with thickness by few centimetres. It is essentially formed by leaves and dead stems. The climate is of Mediterranean type both study stations belong to bio-climatic sub-humid stage with soft winterand with autumnal-winter rainfall between 600 and 900.


The inventory of myrmecofauna has been conducted during spring season, between March and July 2013. We have used buried traps or Barbers' pots; these are collectors of 10 cm diameter buried until their upper edges touch the ground. Boxes are filled with water at 1/3 of its height added of wetting detergent preventing the trapped invertebrates to escape. According to Benkhellil [1], this type of traps allows to capture various walkers' Hymenoptera and so a large number of flying insects coming to land on the pot's surface. At every outing, series of 10 traps are buried in line with intervals of 5 m in both stations with a series by month. They are taken in place during 24 hours, trapped species are collected in Petri boxes bearing number of trap-pot and trapping date. At entomology, laboratory samples are examined, determined and counted thanks to magnifying glass. Identification of collected specimen was possible thanks to works and specialized keys. A further confirmation of ant's identification is done by the professor entomologist Doumandji Salaheddine. For results performance we used ecological indices which are the total richness (S) which is the total number of identified species in the Barber's pots [3], amended by average richness (As), which represents average number of noted species in the overall surveys [15]. The relative abundance (R.A. %), which is the report of individual number of given specie (in) to individuals total number of all combined species (N). As for diversity, we used Shannon-Weaver diversity index (H'), which is given by the following formula: H' = -[SIGMA] [q.sub.i] [log.sub.2][q.sub.i] expressed in bits units where ([q.sub.i]) is the relative frequency of given specie (i.), and Pielou's index (E) which is the report of observed diversity (H') to maximal diversity, which is H'max = [log.sub.2] S, where S is the total richness.


The results of collected ants by Barber's pots method at Baraki, during spring and summer 2013, revealed existence of 17 species belonging to three subfamilies including Formicinae which appears with 9 species followed by Myrmicinae with 6 species (Figure.2) The subfamily of Dolichoderinae has only one species. By contrast, in university campus of Bab-Ezzouar, we have identified 15 species, seven belong to subfamily of Formicinae followed by Myrmicinae with 6 species but in the sub-family of Dolichoderinae we have determined two species of gender Tapinoma which are Tapinoma nigerrimum and Tapinoma simrothi (table1). The latest results approach those of Souttou [16] who refers in experimental plots of National Higher Agronomic School of richness equal to 8 species whose 5 Myrmicinae, 2 Formicinae and 1 Dolichoderinae. In term of average richness, expressed in middle individuals number by species, it is farming station which records the highest value with 2, 1 individuals by species, in university campus we have recorded value of 1,9 individual by species. In the natural herbaceous environment, 15 ants 'species have been identified, with 340 ants, the most represented species it is the Harvester Ant Messor Barbara with 96 individuals (R.A% = 28,2 %), followed by ant Tapinoma nigerrimum with 73 individuals (RA% = 21,5%). In third place we have ant Aphaenogaster testaceo-pilosa with 64 individuals (R.A. % = 18, 8 %). It is not the case in citrus orchard where 249 ants have been counted, the most abundant antis Tapinoma nigerrimum with 102 individuals (R.A% = 40, 9%). On the second place, we find ant Tapinoma nigerrimum with 102 individuals (R.A% = 40, 9%). This same remark has already been made by Boussad and Doumandji [4] who showed that ants Aphaenogaster testaceo-pilosa (R.A% = 26, 8%) and Messor barbara (AR% = 12, 6) are strongly represented in plot of Vicia faba in Technical Institute of Field Crops of Oued Smar in Mitidja. By using the same trapping technique Fekkoum et al., [13] in region of Baba Ali in Mitidja noted Messor Barbara as dominant species (R.A% = 39,5%). The results noted in the present study is an important number compared to 10 species obtained by Chemala et al., [8] at El-Oued at southern Algeria and to 9 species inventoried by Dehina [9] at Ain-Taya (North of Algiers). As for diversity of trapped ants in Barber's pots, values of Shannon-Weaver's index seem to be enough higher in farming environment; it is of 2,2 bits and in herbaceous area it is equal to 1,3 bits. Values of [H.sub.max] being of 4, 1 for citrus orchard and of 3,9 bits for herbaceous area. This allows saying that diversity of collected ants is high. This confirms the one noted within a citrus orchard situated near Heraoua where Dehina et al., [10] noted diversity equal to 4, 5 bits (Table 2). The obtained Pielou's index values show that there is balance between ants' species in citrus orchard, which is not the case in a natural area where value of E tends toward 0. It is assumed that this imbalance is linked to abundance of one or several species compared to the other ones. In effect, there are three species, which dominate and are: Messor barbara, Tapinoma nigerrimum and Aphaenogaster testaceo-pilosa. According to Doumandji and Doumandji [11] underline high activity of Tapinoma nigerrimum throughout the year on the littoral. The myrmecological fauna is linked to several parameters; we can quote by importance order, the nature and the richness of vegetative cover, stations superficies and at last climate change. According to Du Merle [12] studying ants' peopling of Mont Ventoux noted that distribution of ants 'species is fundamentally determined by thermal climate Cagniant [6] had been working in Algerian forest sharing this point of view; the two ecological major factors are as well for ants as for living creatures, temperature and humidity. As for our case, richness of vegetative cover and temperature appear to be crucial in structuring of ants 'populations in the study stations.


The myrmecofauna study in Eastern of Mitidja constitutes in our opinion only the beginning of a preparatory work which remains to be done in depth on relationship of plant--ants in general terms. This work allows us identifying 17 ants 'species in agricultural station (N= 249 ants) and 15 species in natural area at BabEzzouar (N = 340). Our results show that both study stations present a good diversity in species terms and collected ants seem to be restricted to each type of environment (agricultural or naked) and follow an vegetative gradient between both stations.


[1] Benkhelil, M.L., 1991. Les techniques de recolte et de piegeage utilisees en entomologie terrestre. Ed. Office. Publ. Univ., Alger, pp : 60.

[2] Bernard, F., 1968. Les fourmis (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) d'Europe occidentale et septentrionale. Ed, Masson et Cie, paris coll. faune d'Europe et du bassin mediterraneen, Paris, pp : 411.

[3] Blondel, J., 1975. L'analyse des peuplements d'oiseaux--elements d'un diagnostic ecologique. La methode des echantillonnages frequentiels progressifs (E.F.P). Rev. Ecol. (Terre et Vie),29(4): 533-589.

[4] Boussad, F.and Doumandji, S. 2004. La diversite faunistique dans une parcelle de Vicia faba (Fabaceae) a l'institut technique des grandes cultures d'Oued Smar. Journee protec. Veg., 15 mars 2004, Dep. Zool. agro. for.,Inst. nati. agro., El Harrach, pp : 19.

[5] Cagniant, H., 1969. Deuxieme liste de fourmis d'Algerie, recoltees principalement et forets (1ere partie). Bull. soc.hist. nat., Toulouse, Tome, 105(3-4): 405-430.

[6] Cagniant, H., 1973. Les peuplements de fourmis des forets algeriennes: Ecologie biocenotique et essai biologique. These doctorat, Univ. Paul Sabatieu, Toulouse, pp : 464.

[7] Cagniant, H., 1997. Liste preliminaire de fourmis forestieres d'Algerie, resultats obtenus de 1963 a 1966. Bull. soc. hist. nat. Toulouse, 104(1-2): 138-14.

[8] Chemala, A., 2009. Bioecologie des Formicidae dans trois stations d'etude de la region de Djamaa (El Oued). These Ingenieur, Inst. nati. agro., El Harrach, 97p.

[9] Dehina, N., 2004. Bioecologie des Formicidae dans 3 types des cultures dans la region de Heraoua. These Ingenieur, Inst. nati. agro., El Harrach, 137 p.

[10] Dehina, N., Daoudi-Hacini, S. et Doumandji, S. 2007. Arthropodofaune et place des Formicidae dans un milieu a vocation agricole. Journees internati. Zoologie agri. for., 8--10 avril 2007, Inst. nati. agro., El Harrach, pp: 201.

[11] Doumandji S., Doumandji, A. 1988. Note sur l'ecologie de Crabro quinquenotatus Jurine (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae) predateur de la fourmi des agrumes Tapinoma simrothi Krausse (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) pres d'Alger. Ann. Inst. nati. agro.,El Harrach, 12(n[degrees] spec.): 101-118.

[12] Du Merle, P., 1985. Les peuplements de fourmis et les peuplements d'acridiens du Mont Ventoux. La terre de la vie supplement 1: 161-218.

[13] Fekkoun, S., Ghezali, D. and DOUMANDJI, S.2011. Effet des conditions climatiques sur l'entomoacarofaune du vergerd'agrumes dans la plaine de la Mitidja.Seminaire internati. sur laprotec. Veg., 18--21 avril 2011, Dep. Zool. Agri., Ecole nati. sup. agro., El Harrach, p.157.

[14] Mutin, G., 1977. La Mitidja, decolonisation et espace geographique. Ed. Office Publ. Univ., Alger, 607 p.

[15] Ramade,F., 1984. Elements d'ecologie--Ecologie fondamentale. Ed. Mc Graw-Hill, Paris, p. 397.

[16] Souttou, K., 2002. Reproduction et regime alimentaire du Faucon crecerelle, Falco tinnunculus Linne, 1758 (Aves, Falconidae) dans deux milieux, l'un suburbain pres d'El Harrach et l'autre agricole a Dergana. These magister, Inst. nati. agro., El Harrach, p. 251.

(1) Benabbas-Sahki Ilham, (2) Guerzou Ahlem, (1) Kherbouche Ourida and (3) Doumandji Salaheddine

(1) Faculty of Science Biology, University of Science and Technology Houari Boumedienne of Algiers, Algeria

(2) Faculty of Science and Nature, University Ziane Achour of Djelfa (Algeria)

(3) Ornithology laboratory of Zoology Department, National Higher Agronomic School, El-Harrach, Algiers, Algeria


Article history:

Received 23 June 2015

Accepted 28 July 2015

Available online 5 August 2015

Corresponding Author: Benabbas-Sahki Ilham, Faculty of Science Biology, University of Science and Technology Houari Boumedienne of Algiers, Algeria.

Table 1: Relatives Abundances of ants species captured in the pots
Barber in two stations of Mitidja

Species                          USTHB Ni   R.A.%   BARAKI ni   R.A.%

Messor barbara                      96      28,24      18       7,23
Tetramorium biskrensis              7       2,06        5        2,0
Pheidole pallidula                  8       2,35        8       3,21
Aphaenogaster testaceo-pilosa       64      18,82      59       23,69
Crematogaster scutellaris           8       2,35       12       3,43
Crematogaster sp.                   5       1,47        2       0,80
Monomorium sp.                      --       --         2       0,80
Monomorium salomonis                6       1,76        6       2,41
Plagiolepis barbara                 3       0,88        5        2,0
Paratrechina longicornis            --       --         3       1,20
Cataglyphis bicolor                 50      14,71      16       6,42
Cataglyphis sp.                     2       0,59        2       0,80
Camponotus barbaricus               8       2,35        6       2,41
Camponotus sp1                      4       1,18        1       0,40
Camponotus sp2                      --       --         1       0,40
Camponotus sp3                      1       0,29        1       0,40
Tapinoma nigerrimum                 73      21,47      102      40,96
Tapinoma simrothi                   5       1,47       --        --
Total                              340       100       249       100

ni : numbre of individuals, RA% : Relatives Abundances

Table 2: Values of Maximum diversity index Hmax, Shannon Weaver
Index (H') and Equitability index (E)

Species                     USTHB   BARAKI
                             ni       ni

Maximum diversity (Hmax)    3.91     4.09
Shannon Weaver Index (H')   1.34     2.17
Indice of Equitability(E)   0.34     0.56

Fig. 2: Relatives abundances of different sub family of Formicidae
captured in tow stations of USTHB and BARAKI

Myrmicinae       35,29%
Formicinae       52,94%
Dolichoderinae   11,76%

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:Ilham, Benabbas-Sahki; Ahlem, Guerzou; Ourida, Kherbouche; Salaheddine, Doumandji
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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