Distribution and assemblage structure of black flies of the western Aures Mountains, Algeria (Diptera: Simuliidae)





aquatic insects, co-inertia analysis, freshwater biodiversity, North Africa, river, stream


Besides their important ecological role in flowing waters, blackflies (Diptera: Simuliidae) may pose medical and veterinary risks. For seventeen months, we surveyed the blackflies of ten localities across the Aures Mountains, in the Saharan Atlas, Algeria, and recorded eight taxa (i.e. species, species groups or species complexes). High altitude sites were dominated by the Simulium ornatum (Meigen, 1818) group, whereas sites located on the southern slope of the Aures Mountains were occupied by the eurytopic Simulium velutinum (Santos Abreu, 1922) complex and the thermophilic, pollutant-tolerant Simulium ruficorne Macquart, 1838 ‘A’ morphotype.
Co-inertia analysis was used to determine the relationship between a species’ abundance and habitat types. The co-inertia analysis revealed a likely co-structure between blackfly assemblages and measured environmental descriptors (water temperature, conductivity, current velocity, bed width, etc.) in sampled habitats. This confirmed the importance of altitude as a driver of blackfly distribution. Our results also showed that there has been an increase in anthropogenic pressures on the vulnerable freshwater biota of the Aures Mountains.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Dr. Besma M. Dambri, Laboratoire de Conservation des Zones Humides, Université 08 mai 1945 Guelma

Dr. Besma Dambri is a me,ber of the Laboratoire de Conservation des Zones Humides and is mostly interested in the taxonomy and ecology of aquatic insects.

Pr. Farrah Samraoui, Laboratoire de Conservation des Zones Humides, Université 08 mai 1945 Guelma

Dr. Farrah Samraoui is a former Head of the Laboratoire de Conservation des Zones Humides. She is mostly interested in the conservation of the aquatic freshwater biodiversity of Algeria.

Boudjéma Samraoui, University Badji Mokhtar Annaba

Pr. Boudjéma Samraoui is a former Head of the Laboratoire de Conservation des Zones Humides. He is interested in the phylogeography, ecology, and conservation of aquatic freshwater biodiversity.


Abdesselam S, Halitim A, Jan A, Trolard F, Bourrié G. 2013. Anthropogenic contamination of groundwater with nitrate in arid region: case study of southern Hodna (Algeria). Environmental Earth Sciences. 70(5): 2129–2141. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-012-1834-5.

Adler PH. 2021. World blackflies (Diptera: Simuliidae): a comprehensive revision of the taxonomic and geographic inventory [2021]. [accessed 7 July 2021]. https://biomia.sites.clemson.edu/pdfs/blackflyinventory.pdf.

Adler PH, Cheke RA, Post RJ. 2010. Evolution, epidemiology, and population genetics of black flies (Diptera: simuliidae). Infection, Genetics, and Evolution. 10(7): 846–865. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meegid.2010.07.003.

Adler PH, Cherairia M, Arigue SF, Samraoui B, Belqat B. 2015. Cryptic biodiversity in the cytogenome of bird-biting blackflies in North Africa. Infection, Genetics and Evolution. 29(3): 276–289. https://doi.org/10.1111/mve.12115.

Aghzar N, Berdai H, Bellouti A, Soudi B. 2002. Pollution nitrique des eaux souterraines au Tadla (Maroc). [Ground water nitrate pollution in Tadla (Morocco)]. Revue des Sciences de l’Eau. 15: 459–492. https://doi.org/10.7202/705465ar.

Arigue SF, Adler PH, Belqat B, Bebba N, Arab A. 2016. Biodiversité des mouches noires (Diptera: Simuliidae) et qualité physicochimique des eaux du bassin versant de l’oued El Haï (Aurès-Algérie). Journal of Materials and Environmental Science. 7: 4839–4849.

Barba M, Fairbanks EL, Daly JM. 2019. Equine viral encephalitis: prevalence, impact, and management strategies. Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports. 10: 99–110. https://doi.org/10.2147/VMRR.S168227.

Belazzoug S, Tabet-Derraz O. 1980. Note sur les simulies du Tassili n’Ajjer. [Note on Simulium of Tassili n’Ajjer]. Archives de l’Institut Pasteur d’Algérie. 54: 107–108. PMID:6927586.

Belqat B, Adler PH, Cherairia M, Boudghane-Bendiouis CC. 2018. Inventory of the Black Flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) of North Africa. Zootaxa. 4442(2): 201–220. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4442.2.1.

Benslimane N, Chakri K, Haiahem D, Guelmami A, Samraoui F, Samraoui B. 2019. Anthropogenic stressors are driving a steep decline of hemipteran diversity in dune ponds in north-eastern Algeria. Journal of Insect Conservation. 23(3): 475–488. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10841-019-00133-1.

Boudghane-Bendiouis CC, Abdellaoui-Hassaïne K, Belqat B, Franquet E, Hacene SB, Yadi B. 2014. Habitat characterization of black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) in the Tafna catchment of western Algeria. Open Journal of Ecology. 4(16): 1014–1024. https://doi.org/10.4236/oje.2014.416084.

Brockhouse CL, Vajime CG, Marin R, Tanguay RM. 1993. Molecular identification of onchocerciasis vector sibling species in black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae). Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 194(2): 628–634. https://doi.org/10.1006/bbrc.1993.1867.

Cherairia M, Adler PH. 2018. Genetic variation in a colonization specialist, Simulium ruficorne (Diptera: Simuliidae), the world’s most widely distributed black fly. PLoS One. 13(10): e0205137. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205137.

Cherairia M, Adler PH, Samraoui B. 2014. Biodiversity and bionomics of the black flies (Diptera: simuliidae) of northeastern Algeria. Zootaxa. 3796(3796): 166–174. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3796.1.8.

Crosskey RW. 1990. The natural history of blackflies. Chichester: John Wiley.

Currie DC, Adler PH. 2008. Global diversity of black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia. 595(1): 469–475. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-007-9114-1.

Dambri BM, Karaouzas I, Samraoui B, Samraoui F. 2020. Contribution to the knowledge of the caddisfly fauna of Algeria: an updated checklist of Algerian Trichoptera with new records from the Aures region. Zootaxa. 4786(2): 221–232. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4786.2.4.

Doledec S, Chessel D. 1994. Co-inertia analysis: an alternative method for studying species-environment relationships. Freshwater Biology. 31(3): 277–294. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2427.1994.tb01741.x.

Dray S, Chessel D, Thioulouse J. 2003;Co-inertia analysis and the linking of ecological data tables. Ecology. 84(11): 3078–3089. https://doi.org/10.1890/03-0178.

Edwards FW. 1923On some Algerian species of Simulium. Archives de l’Institut Pasteur d’Algérie. 1: 647–653.

Gagneur J, Clergue-Gazeau M. Les Simulies d’Algérie (Diptera: Simuliidae). 1988. I. Premières données biogéographiques et écologiques sur les espèces de l’Ouest-Algérien. Annales de Limnologie. 24(3): 275–284. https://doi.org/10.1051/limn/1988024.

Gallardo-Mayenco A, Toja J. 2002. Spatio-temporal distribution of simuliids (Diptera) and associated environmental factors in two Mediterranean basins of southern Spain. Limnetica. 21(1): 47–57. https://doi.org/10.23818/limn.21.05.

Giudicelli J, Dakki M. 1984. Les sources du Moyen Atlas et du Rif (Maroc): Faunistique (description de deux espèces nouvelles de Trichoptères), écologie, intérêt biogéographique. Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde. 54(1): 83–100. https://doi.org/10.1163/26660644-05401007.

Giudicelli J, Bouzidi A, Ait Abdelaali N. 2000. Contribution à l’étude faunistique et écologique des simulies (Diptera: Simuliidae) du Maroc. IV. Les simulies du Haut Atlas. Description d’une nouvelle espèce. Annales de Limnologie. 36(1): 57–80. https://doi.org/10.1051/limn/2000005.

Grenier P, Clastrier J. 1960. Une simulie saharienne: Simulium ruficorne Macquart. [A Saharan simulid: Simulium ruficorne Macquart]. Archives de l’Institut Pasteur d’Algérie. 38: 329–330. PMID:13829202.

Hansford RG, Ladle M. 1979. The medical importance and behaviour of Simulium austeni Edwards (Diptera: Simuliidae) in England. Bulletin of Entomological Research. 69(1): 33–41. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007485300017867.

Haouchine S, Lounaci A. 2012. Les macroinvertébrés benthiques des cours d’eau de Kabylie (Algérie): faunistique, écologie et répartition géographique. Bulletin de la Société Zoologique de France. 137: 133–156.

Lounaci A, Brosse S, Ait Mouloud S, Lounaci-Daoudi D, Mebarki N, Thomas A. 2000a. Current knowledge of benthic invertebrate diversity in an Algerian stream: a species checklist of the Sébaou River basin (Tizi-Ouzou). Bulletin de la Société d’Histoire Naturelle de Toulouse. 136: 43–55.

Lounaci A, Brosse S, Thomas A, Lek S. 2000b. Abundance, diversity and community structure of macroinvertebrates in an Algerian stream: the Sébaou wadi. Annales de Limnologie. 36(2): 123–133. https://doi.org/10.1051/limn/2000008.

Malmqvist B, Adler PH, Kuusela K, Merritt RW, Wotton RS. 2004. Black flies in the boreal biome, key organisms in both terrestrial and aquatic environments: a review. Ecoscience. 11(2): 187–200. https://doi.org/10.1080/11956860.2004.11682824.

Morghad F, Samraoui F, Touati L, Samraoui B. 2019. The times they are a changin’: impact of land-use shift and climate warming on the odonate community of a Mediterranean stream over a 25-year period. Vie & Milieu. 69: 25–33.

Ofenböck T, Moog O, Car M. 2002. Do Austrian Blackfly fauna (Diptera: Simuliidae) support the typological approach of the EU Water Framework directive? Limnologica. 32(3): 255–272. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0075-9511(02)80032-9.

Parrot L. 1949. Quelques notes sur les simulidés d’Algérie. [A few notes on the Algerian simulids.] Archives de l’Institut Pasteur d’Algérie. 27(3): 273–276.

R Development Core Team. 2021. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria.

Reeves WK, Adler PH, Rätti O, Malmqvist B, Strasevicius D. 2007. Molecular detection of Trypanosoma (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae) in black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae). Comparative Parasitology. 74(1): 171–175. https://doi.org/10.1654/4243.1.

Reeves WK, Nayduch D. 2002. Pathogenic Bacillus from a larva of the Simulium tuberosum species complex (Diptera: Simuliidae). Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 79: 126–128. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-2011(02)00016-2.

Samraoui B, Samraoui F, Al-Misned FA, El-Serehy HA, Adler PH. 2021. Ecological determinants of black fly assemblages of relict mountain streams in northeastern Algeria, plus new records (Diptera: simuliidae). Global Ecology and Conservation. 27: e01609. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01609.

Shelley AJ, Coscarón S. 2001. Simuliid blackflies (Diptera: Simuliidae) and ceratopogonid midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) as vectors of Mansonella ozzardi (Nematoda: Onchocercidae) in northern Argentina. Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. 96(4): 451–458. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0074-02762001000400003.

Sitarz M, Buczek A, Buczek W. 2021. Skin lesions and systemic reactions in humans infested by blackflies (Diptera: Simuliidae) in recreational areas in southeastern Poland. Journal of Clinical Medicine. (4): 788. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10040788. PMID:33669296.

Southwood TRE. 1977. Habitat, the templet for ecological strategies. Journal of Animal Ecology. 46(2): 336–365. https://doi.org/10.2307/3817.

Tabatabaei F, Azarmi S, Abbaszadeh Afshar MJ, Yarizadeh H, Mohtasebi S. 2020. Blackfly fever and dermatitis caused by Simulium kiritshenkoi: a human case report in Iran. BMC Infectious Diseases. 20(1): 348. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-020-05070-y.

Townsend CR, Hildrew AG. 1994. Species traits in relation to a habitat templet for river systems. Freshwater Biology. 31(3): 265–275. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2427.1994.tb01740.x.

Vinçon G, Clergue-Gazeau M. 1993. Les Simulies (Diptera Simuliidae) du Sud-Ouest de l’Europe: le crénal et l’épirhithral. Annales de Limnologie. 29(2): 157–169. https://doi.org/10.1051/limn/1993014.

Watanabe T. 2014. Kawasaki disease with retropharyngeal edema following a blackfly bite. Case Reports in Pediatrics. 2014: 296456. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/296456. PMID:25349761.

Ya’cob Z, Takaoka H, Pramual P, Low VL, Sofian-Azirun M. 2016. Distribution pattern of black fly (Diptera: Simuliidae) assemblages along an altitudinal gradient in Peninsular Malaysia. Parasites & Vectors. 9(1): 219. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-016-1492-7.




How to Cite

Dambri B, Samraoui F, Samraoui B. Distribution and assemblage structure of black flies of the western Aures Mountains, Algeria (Diptera: Simuliidae). Afr. Entomol. [Internet]. 2022 Sep. 5 [cited 2023 Oct. 4];30. Available from: https://www.africanentomology.com/article/view/12055