Ecology and Populations Status of two Endangered Species of Urodela in Edough Peninsula (Annaba, Algeria)

Algeria

Algeria has a key location as a biogeographical contact area between the Maghreb and Europe, however data about the ecology of Algerian amphibians remain very scarce. In this country, several genus of mesophilous amphibians show an endemic and a restricted distribution, among them Salamandra algira and Pleurodeles poireti. Salamandra algira is considered as a very rare species in Algeria by the IUCN but globally is listed as vulnerable. According to the IUCN, P. poireti is listed as endangered species, given that its extent of occurrence of less than 5000 km² and area of occupancy of less than 500 km², with all individuals clustered in fewer than five locations in Edough peninsula (Annaba, north-eastern Algeria). This newt is considered the most threatened and endangered amphibian in Algeria.

Despite the ecological significance and endemic status of P. poireti, there is no conservation plan for the species and no study of its ecology was conducted. During our first field trip to the area of Edough peninsula, we were able to identify only few ponds where the species is still breeding, mainly in the lowlands, some close to urban areas. This newt is facing  a continuous decline in the extent and quality of its habitat. Currently, this area is suffering a strong habitat disturbance linked to the expansion of urban structures. According to our preliminary observations, its breeding habitat could be also threatened by pollution and invasive species. Therefore P. poireti may be much more endangered than currently known, and it is possible that only few populations still remain in the wild. More field trips to the area are urgently needed in order to identify the presence of more suitable habitat for the species. Also these surveys can provide more data about the ecology and the biology of this poorly known endangered species. Even whether the situation for S. algira could be less critical as this species inhabits less impacted mountainous forest, the extant populations are facing deforestation through their limited distribution range.

The main goals of our project are (1) to collect occurrence data of both urodela species by means of systematic surveys of the wetlands in and around Mont Edough; (2) characterize species breeding sites parameters (3) identification of potential threats and causes of the potential decline of these species and to propose guidelines to stop this trend.

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Fast Facts

Location
Algeria

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Project Description
The main goals of our project are (1) to collect occurrence data of both urodela species by means of systematic surveys of the wetlands in and around Mont Edough; (2) characterize species breeding sites parameters (3) identification of potential threats and causes of the potential decline of these species and to propose guidelines to stop this trend.

Target Species

Salamandra algira

Pleurodeles poireti

Team Members
Jihène Ben Hassine and Daniel Escoriza

Funding Needs
If you would like to further support this project or invest in the Amphibian Survival Alliance’s Seed Grant program please contact James P. Lewis, Director of Operations.

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