Subterranean Biology 8: 21-32, doi: 10.3897/subtbiol.8.1227
Composition and distribution of stygobionts in the Tafna alluvial aquifer (north-western Algeria)
Nouria Belaidi, Amina Taleb, Abdelhakim Mahi, Giuseppe Messana
Abstract Little is known about the hypogean fauna of Algeria, with studies mostly dating to the beginning of the twentieth century (Gurney 1908; Racovitza 1912; Monod 1924; Pesce and Tetè 1978); moreover, the knowledge varies markedly among regions. In this study, we examined the composition and distribution of the invertebrate communities in the phreatic zone of the Tafna aquifer (N-W Algeria). Twelve wells close to the Tafna wadi, ranging between 120 and 1100 m a.s.l., were studied from May 2005 to March 2006. Many specimens belonging to 37 taxa were collected, the most frequent taxa being Typhlocirolana sp., a stygobitic Gammaridae species, Cyclopidae and Ostracoda. Other crustacean species were relatively scarce, with discontinuous distribution, being present only in a few wells. The taxonomic richness and abundance of stygobitic crustacean communities were relatively constant over time. The spatial distribution of stygobionts was mainly related to the exchanges with surface water.