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Ines Temimi & Faiza Marniche

First report of Sciobia (Sciobia) bolivari (Chopard 1937) (Orthoptera: Gryllidae), in the digestive tract of the Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis (L. 1758)) in Algeria

(Volume 73 (2020))
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Afin de déterminer le régime alimentaire du héron garde bœufs Bubulcus ibis (L. 1758), une étude a été menée de janvier 2017 jusqu’en juillet 2018 dans deux zones humides intégrales dans le Parc National d’El Kala (PNEK). Ces deux sites sont inscrits dans la liste de la convention de Ramsar sur les zones humides d’importance internationale et sont situés au Nord-est algérien : le Lac Oubeïra (36°50'N, 08°23'E) et le Lac Tonga (36°53’N, 08°31’E). Les résultats obtenus, sur un total de 126 individus de héron garde bœufs, ont permis de détecter, parmi les proies ingérées dans les contenus stomacaux, une espèce d’Orthoptères apparentant au sous-ordre des Ensifères : Sciobia (Scioba) bolivari (Chopard 1937) pour la première fois en Algérie.

Mots-clés : Ensifera, Ardeidae, El Kala, Héron, Contenus stomacaux


In order to determine the diet of the cattle egret Bubulcus ibis (L. 1758), a study was carried out from January 2017 until July 2018 in two integral wetlands in El Kala National Park (PNEK). These two sites are included in the list of the Ramsar Convention on wetlands of international importance. They are located in northeast Algeria: Oubeïra Lake (36° 50' N, 08° 23' E) and Tonga Lake (36° 53’N, 08° 31’E). The results obtained on a total of 126 cattle egrets allowed us to detect among the ingested prey found in the stomach contents, one species of Orthoptera related to the Ensifera suborder: Sciobia (Scioba) bolivari (Chopard 1937) for the first time in Algeria. This work provided the first report on Sciobia (Scioba) bolivari.

Keywords : Ensifera, Ardeidae, El Kala, cattle egret, stomach contents

ORCID: 0000-0003-4954-9523


1The cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis (L. 1758) (Aves: Ardeidae), is a species of Indo-African origin that has become cosmopolitan today. It is a species with a large food spectrum. Its food is composed of invertebrate prey as well as vertebrate prey (Heim de Balsac & Mayaud, 1962; Etchecopar and Hue, 1964; Moali and Isenmann, 1993; Moali, 1999; Isenmann and Moali, 2000; Boukhemza, 2000; Si Bachir et al., 2001; Si Bachir, 2005; Setbel, 2008; Gherbi-Salmi, 2013). Among invertebrates, Orthoptera generally dominate the composition of the Cattle Egret feed. Kadry-Bey (1942) reported in Egypt 53.7% of Orthoptera species in the Cattle Egret diet while Burns and Chapin (1969) reported 77% of Orthoptera in southern Louisiana. In northern Florida, the rate is even higher, reaching 96.8% (Fogarty and Hetrick, 1973). In Algeria, Doumandji et al., (1992) estimated this rate at 78.8% of Orthoptera in Drâa EL-Mizan while Si Bachir et al., (2000) found a rate of 63.2% in the Soummam Valley. Finally, the proportions are lower in other regions such as in the Boudouaou region (Mitidja) (Setbel et al., 2004). The fluctuations in abundances of different Orthoptera found by these authors in the trophic menu of the cattle egrets is mainly related to their distribution and availability depending on the bioclimatic stages characterizing each study region, but also according to the seasons and the environments frequented by the cattle egret.

2Orthopteroids constituting an entomological super-order that have been well studied in Algeria on different points (inventory-bio-ecology-distribution), especially Orthoptera (Chopard, 1943; Damerdji, 1996; Doumandji-Mitiche et al., 2014 and Lakhdari et al., 2015). The Gryllidae fauna, targeted in this study, is known as true crickets belonging to the sub-order of the Ensifera. The genus Sciobia (Burmeister 1838) includes many species that have been described. As an example, López-Colón (2001) mentioned Sciobia (Sciobia) lusitanica (Rambur 1838) in Madrid, a typical species of open spaces with little vegetation measuring between 15 to 24 mm distinguished by its large cephalic extension and marked by the contrast between the elytral white and the dark color of the rest of the body, especially in males. This species is distributed across Portugal, the southern half of Spain and in Morocco (Eades et al., 2013 in Vega & Segura, 2013). Mohamed Sahnoun et al., (2010) mentioned in his checklist 12 species belonging to this genus in different local of the Algerian territories while Vega and Segura, (2013) reported the presence of 4 species in Iberian Peninsula belonging to two sub-genus including S.(S.) lusitanica. It is about S.(S.) boscai (Bolívar 1925), S.(Thliptoblemmus) caliendrum (Fischer 1853) and S.(Thliptoblemmus) natalia (Gorochov 1985). S.(S.) boscai is an Orthoptera which is also present in three provinces located in the south of Spain (Jaén, Albacete and Ciudad), however S.(Thliptoblemmus) caliendrumand S.(Thliptoblemmus) natalia have a very restricted distribution. They are present in the province of Cadiz and also well distributed in North Africa (Morocco) (Eades et al., 2013 in Vega & Segura, 2013).

3The Sciobia genus has been reported by several authors as a food source for some species: it was consumed by barn owl (Tyto alba (Scopoli 1769) (Aves : Strigiformes)) in Morocco (Rihane, 2005), by coot (Fulica atra (L. 1758) (Aves : Rallidae)) in Algeria (Metna, 2012) and by Algerian hedgehog (Atelerix algirus (Lerboullet 1842) (Mammalia : Erinaceidae)) in Algeria (Mimoun, 2006). In this work during the characterization of the trophic menu of Bubulcus ibis in the El Kala region, we discovered for the first time the presence of the species S.(S.) bolivari (Chopard 1937) in Algeria.


Study site

4This study was conducted in two sites located in El Kala (northeastern Algeria) and administratively attached to the El Tarf region : Oubeïra Lake, an open endorheic lake spread over an area of ​​2200 hectares, located at 36° 50' N and 08° 23' E (Morgan, 1982) and Tonga Lake, an exoretic lake spreads over an area of ​​2600 hectares, located at 36° 53' N and 08° 31' E (Chettibi, 2014) (Fig 1)

Image 10000000000003360000025198D5EB63F358431B.png

Figure 1 : Location of study sites (Oubeïra and Tonga Lake) in PNEK of El Kala (Original, Guezgouz, 2017)


5The study of the diet of Bubulcus ibis is essentially based on the examination of 126 stomach contents of adults collected from individuals died and sacrificed during the period which extends from the month of January 2017 until the month of July in 2018.

6The prey analysis was done after dissection of these birds. Subsequently all the intact or fragmented prey consumed by this predator were pulled from the gizzard using entomological forceps and then stored them in alcohol 70%. The prey species were determined under a binocular magnifier (x10 and x 20) at the Zoology laboratory at the National Superior School of Veterinary at El Alia in Algiers, Algeria. The Orthoptera whose determination was confirmed by Professor Marniche F. relying on dichotomous keys from the work of Chopard (1943).


7Insects constitute the essential of the Cattle Egret's diet in terms of relative abundance with a frequency of 84% in Tonga Lake and 89% in Oubeira Lake. Orthoptera are among the insects which occupy a moderately large portion of the trophic menu of Bubulcus ibis in terms of numbers with a frequency of 16,4% in Tonga Lake and 9,03% in Oubeira Lake.

8The results obtained on the prey species ingested by the 126 Bubulcus ibis of which 64 individuals are studied in Tonga Lake and 62 individuals in Oubeira Lake allowed us to detect for the first time in Algeria a total of 624 intact S. (S.) bolivari and 573 heads. This Orthoptera of 15 mm long (Fig. 3) of the Gryllidae family was a particular part of the diet of our bird species. From the morphological point of view, the external characters were largely sufficient to determine and differentiate the insect species. S. (S.) bolivari has a black colored head with some yellowish lines on the occiput, a regularly convex and extremely broad vertex as well as a flattened epicranium (Fig. 4). As for the posterior tibias, they consist of 5 solid spines (Fig. 5).The criteria considered in this research to determine our species are similar to those described by Chopard in Orthopteroids of North Africa, who has already reported this species in Sker (Morocco) in 1936 (Chopard, 1943). Its synonym is Mesoblemmus bolivari (Chopard 1937) and Lissoblemmus (Mesoblemmus) bolivari (Chopard 1943). Since this work, S.(S.)bolivari has not been mentioned in any publication concerning Orthoptera, from where the objective of this present work to report its presence for the first time in Algeria.

9The variation in the number of S.(S.) bolivari individuals consumed by the Cattle egrets along the study period in the two study sites is mentioned in (Fig. 2).These results are comparable with those of Bredin (1984) in Camargue, Boukhemza et al (2000), Kennouche and Allouche (2000) in Kabylie Algeria, Si Bachir (2005) in Bejaia region, like wise Nefla et al (2014) at Ichkeul in Tunisia and Bakour (2016) at Rachgoun Island (Oran, Algeria) who agreed that Orthoptera are a staple food item in Cattle egret.

Image 1000000000000467000002CB72CFF4B850E4FC49.jpg

Figure 2 : Annual variation in the number of Sciobia (Sciobia) bolivari individuals in Tonga and Oubeira Lake

Image 10000000000002200000028C1CD8D8F4C99CB974.jpg

Figure 3 : Presentation of the species Sciobia (Sciobia) bolivari from the El Kala region (Original)

Image 100000000000025C0000011FCE27E14CD9D5BC75.jpg

Figure 4 : To the left: Dorsal view of the head (right truncated a-vertex, b-compound eye, c-yellowish lines). To the right: Front view of Sciobia (Sciobia) bolivari (Original)

Image 10000000000001E700000233CE3CB6962D5CA6F8.jpg

Figure 5: Posterior Tibia with 5 strong spines of Sciobia (Sciobia) bolivari (Original)


10In this context Sciobia (Sciobia) bolivari was reports for the first time in Algeria from a study carried out for the analysis of the composition of the trophic menu of the Cattle egret. So in perspectives it will be interesting to follow the evolution of the population size of S. (S.) bolivari in Algeria, its phenology and its biogeographical distribution in the Algerian territory as well as to investigate its presence as prey in other species of Ardeidae and finally to be able to establish a checklist containing the species of Orthoptera present in the El Kala region.


11We thank the staff of the Zoology laboratory of the National School of Veterinary Algiers (ENSV).

12Conflict of interest

13The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest in the present study and submission of this manuscript.

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Para citar este artículo

Ines Temimi & Faiza Marniche, «First report of Sciobia (Sciobia) bolivari (Chopard 1937) (Orthoptera: Gryllidae), in the digestive tract of the Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis (L. 1758)) in Algeria», Entomologie faunistique - Faunistic Entomology [En ligne], Volume 73 (2020), URL : https://popups.uliege.be/2030-6318/index.php?id=5010.

Acerca de: Ines Temimi

Laboratory of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology. Chadli Bendjedid University, El-Tarf, Algeria.Laboratory of Zoology, National School of Veterinary Superior of El Alia (ENSV), Algiers, Algeria.*Corresponding author: TEMIMI Ines Email: temimi1@hotmail.fr

Acerca de: Faiza Marniche

Laboratory of Zoology, National School of Veterinary Superior of El Alia (ENSV), Algiers, Algeria.