Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 797–805 | Cite as

On the restoration of the last relict population of a dragonfly Urothemis edwardsii Selys (Libellulidae: Odonata) in the Mediterranean

  • Rassim Khelifa
  • Mohammed Khalil Mellal
  • Abdelheq Zouaimia
  • Hichem Amari
  • Rabah Zebsa
  • Soufyane Bensouilah
  • Abdeldjalil Laouar
  • Moussa Houhamdi


The restoration of endangered relict populations is challenging in conservation biology because they require specific environmental conditions within an inhospitable regional climate. Urothemis edwardsii Selys is the most endangered dragonfly in the Mediterranean with only one known relict small population (Lac Bleu) left in Northeast Algeria. With the absence of successful (re-)colonization over the last two decades, the restoration of the species became a top priority. To improve the status of the species in Northeast Algeria, we carried out a reintroduction and translocation scheme during 2011–2015 and assessed the changes in distribution and population size. Our restoration plan led to the emergence of three populations of which one was restored (Lac Noir), one resulted from successful translocation (Lac Tonga Northeast), and one established after successful colonization (Lac Tonga Southwest). In three localities (Lac Noir, Lac Tonga Northeast, and Lac Tonga Southwest), signs of population growth were observed, whereas no significant trend in the source population (Lac Bleu) was detected. A new population (El Graeate) was also recorded in 2015, but its origin is uncertain. Capture-mark-recapture on adults conducted in 2015 in two sites (Lac Bleu and Lac Noir) showed low recapture rates and no sign of dispersal between the two sites. Dispersal capacity of the species and conservation implications of adult distribution are discussed. This study highlights the importance of using biological indicators in selecting host habitats for the restoration of critically threatened populations.


Conservation Reintroduction Translocation Colonization Odonata Dragonfly Wetlands North Africa 



We are thankful to members of the PNEK for their collaboration. We are indebted to Abdeldjalil Laouar and Djalal Hasni for driving us to the field sites. We thank Hayat Mahdjoub for adapting the manuscript for submission.

Supplementary material

10841_2016_9911_MOESM1_ESM.docx (886 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 885 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental StudiesUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Faculty of Biological and Agricultural SciencesUniversity of Tizi OuzouTizi OuzouAlgeria
  3. 3.Laboratory of Marine and Coastal Environments Ecobiology, Department of BiologyBadji Mokhtar UniversityAnnabaAlgeria
  4. 4.Department of Nature and Life Sciences, Faculty of Nature and Life Sciences and Earth and Universe SciencesUniversity of 08 May 1945GuelmaAlgeria
  5. 5.Laboratory of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, Department of BiologyUniversity of Chadli BendjedidEl TarfAlgeria
  6. 6.Département de ZoologyUniversité de MonsMonsBelgium
  7. 7.Nature and Life Sciences Department, Faculty of Nature and Life Sciences and EarthUniverse Sciences, University of 08 May 1945GuelmaAlgeria

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