Anthropogenic stressors are driving a steep decline of hemipteran diversity in dune ponds in north-eastern Algeria

  • Nouara Benslimane
  • Khémissa Chakri
  • Dalal Haiahem
  • Anis Guelmami
  • Farrah Samraoui
  • Boudjéma SamraouiEmail author


In arid North Africa, dune ponds qualify as hotspots of aquatic biodiversity, offering numerous sustainable ecosystem services. Despite mounting anthropogenic pressures that threaten their integrity, the overall consequences of these changes have yet to be documented and no strategy to mitigate potential impacts is being implemented. We monitored four dune ponds in northeast Algeria during five hydrological cycles spanning the period 1996–2013. The analysis revealed a steep decline in species richness (47%) and abundance (94%) over the study period. Remote sensing-based data indicated that marked human-induced changes in and around these dune ponds have over time led to a substantial expansion of built areas and cultivated plots and a reduction in both natural wet- and dry-land habitats. Fish predation by the introduced fish, Gambusia holbrooki, may have had both direct and indirect impacts on notonectids. We argue that aquatic hemipterans have undergone an alarming reduction driven by a combination of invasive species, human encroachment, agricultural runoffs, and possibly, climate change.


Aquatic hemiptera Climate change Ecosystem services Mosquitofish North Africa Remote sensing Temporary ponds 



We are most grateful to the Associate Editor and two anonymous referees for their valuable comments and suggestions. Help from N. Layachi, F. Terki and M. Mekki is gratefully acknowledged. This work was supported by the Algerian Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique (MESRS).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the Algerian Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique (M.E.S.R.S.) and all procedures followed were in accordance with international ethical standards.

Research involving human participants

The research involved no human participant.

Informed consent

All the authors are in agreement with the version submitted and are in agreement with its publication in Journal of Insect Conservation.

Supplementary material

10841_2019_133_MOESM1_ESM.docx (709 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 709 KB)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Conservation des Zones HumidesUniversité 8 Mai 1945 GuelmaGuelmaAlgeria
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of AnnabaAnnabaAlgeria
  3. 3.Tour du Valat, Research Institute for the Conservation of Mediterranean WetlandsArlesFrance
  4. 4.Department of EcologyUniversité 8 Mai 1945 GuelmaGuelmaAlgeria

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