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


Khelifa, Rassim; Khalil Mellal, Mohammed; Zouaimia, Abdelheq; Amari, Hichem; Zebsa, Rabah; Bensouilah, Soufyane; Laouar, Abdeldjalil; Houhamdi, Moussa (2016). On the restoration of the last relict population of a dragonfly Urothemis edwardsii Selys (Libellulidae: Odonata) in the Mediterranean. Journal of Insect Conservation, 20(5):797-805.

Abstract

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 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.

Abstract

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 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.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:10 Nov 2016 09:50
Last Modified:26 Jan 2017 08:58
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1366-638X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10841-016-9911-9

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