Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 23, Issue 5–6, pp 831–841 | Cite as

Environmental niche modeling for some species of the genus Anthrax Scopoli (Diptera: Bombyliidae) in Egypt, with special notes on St. Catherine protected area as a suitable habitat

  • Moahmed NasserEmail author
  • Magdi El-Hawagry
  • Mohamed Okely


The genus Anthrax Scopoli is a well-known genus of bee flies, with 16 species recorded from Egypt, out of about 250 species known worldwide. Six of these species seem to be endangered or threatened (at least in a part of their distribution range) as they disappeared from most of their Egyptian localities which faced severe changes in the floral and faunal composition during the last 50 years. These changes may be attributed to urbanization or modern agricultural activities that caused severe degradation of natural habitats of these species. Maximum entropy (Maxent) modeling was used to predict the potential climatic niches of these six Anthrax species, namely: Anthrax aethiops, Anthrax chionanthrax, Anthrax dentate, Anthrax melanista, Anthrax lucidus, and Anthrax trifasciatus. The Maxent model performed better than random for the six species, with an average test AUC value of 0.95 for A. aethiops bezzii, 0.83 for A. chionanthrax, and 0.98 for A. dentate, 0.86 for A. melanista, 0.96 for A. lucidus and 0.99 for A. trifasciatus. A set of four variables were selected for each species from 19 bioclimatic and 3 topographic variables, based on correlation analyses. The study showed that the current distributions of A. dentata, A. lucidus and A. trifasciatus were largely explained by the altitude, but A. chionanthrax and A. melanista were so far dominated by temperature, whereas on A. aethiops bezzii was strongly related to precipitation variables. St. Catherine protected area showed high habitat suitability for all species except A. lucidus. The suitable habitat for A. trifasciatus was restricted to this protected area, however, future scenarios of climatic changes through the area predict a great degradation in habitat suitability for this species. These results can be used for making powerful conservation management decisions in St. Catherine Protectorate to incorporate these Anthrax spp. in any present or future conservation programs.


Maxent modeling Bee flies Egypt Conservation Clime change St. Catherine protected area 



The authors would like to thank all directors of four main Egyptian insect reference collections (Ain Shams University collection, Cairo University Collection, Collection of Egyptian Society of Entomology, Ministry of Agriculture Collection) from which our flies’ data were collected and for their help. Also, we would appreciate the valuable help provided by the Ph.D. candidate Mr. Saad Sonbati, Collage of Food and Agriculture Science, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies containing direct contact with animal, and all applicable international, national, and/or institutional ethical guidelines were taken in consideration during preparation of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Entomology, Faculty of ScienceAin Shams UniversityCairoEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Entomology, Faculty of ScienceCairo UniversityGizaEgypt

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