HTML Document Terrestral invertebrates

Release date 26/12/2007
Geographical coverage Morocco
Keywords Terrestral invertebrates, endemic, Endangered species, introduced and invasive

Just like for other faunistic groups, Morocco posesses a great richness in terrestral Invertebrates with many endemic species. This group, which constitutes the majority of the fauna living on earth, had very early on struck the interest of numerous researchers. Thus, it went to the systematic inventory of the biological milieu and to the making of a collection of National Natural History Museum (inclination of the Scientific Institute, created in 1920).  Authors became interested in the systematization of Moroccan fauna namely Brolemann (Myriapodes), Kocher (Coleopterans), Mimeur and Vidal (Rhynchotes), Pallary (Gasteropodes), Rungs (Lepidopteres), Seguy (Dipteres), Simon and Benhalima (Arachnids), Vachon (Scorpions),… Substantial knowledge was thus acquired, but remains nonetheless fragmented.

The global invertebrate fauna of Morocco is given in Table 9 (which stops at the level of the Order).

Terrestral invertebrate fauna includes a total of 15.293 species is divided into 4.712 genuses, 699 families, 66 orders, 18 Classes, 6 Subkingdoms and 1 ‘Sous-Regne’. The subkingdom of Arthropods is the richest in the number of species and includes to it alone 14.495 species, or 94.8% of all species. As for the Classes, the Insects dominate with 13,461 species, or 88% of the total number of species.

Extinct or endangered species

Among the terrestral Invertebrates, certain groups are more endangered than others, in the measure that they are the object of an international commerce. This is the case of all fauna with esthetic characteristics, and notably the Butterflies, of which certain species have disappeared from Morocco: the Lycaenida "Polyommatus escheri ahmar" (which used to be in Bou Iblane), and the 2 Pieridas Pieris mannii haroldi and P. napi atlantis (no observation since twenty years ago).

Among the endangered species and under-species of endemic and under-endemic Lepidopteres Rhopaloceres (North African), many are found in the Middle Atlas. The existence of this fauna, just like for other species, is endangered especially because of human activities. Certain species and sub-species are “abundant” during their flying period, but only in their biotopes that, in certain cases, is very small (sometimes a few m2), this in a narrow relationship with their nutritive plant.  The Lepidopteres are thus considered as important “bio-indicators” of the state of their habitat.

The list, given in Table 10, is not definitive, but consists of a first proposition for an eventual regulation in the frame of a protection of biodiversity.

More than Lepidopters, dangers weighs equally on other groups, such as Coleopters, in particular two species:

The Carabide Calosoma sycophanta, a great predator of caterpillars, whose population has much, decreased these last years principally in the Maamora forest. The insect is found naturally in forestral regions of settentrional and central Morocco, mostly in the Atlas.

The Cerambycide Dorysthenes forficatus, ravager of the dwarf palm tree (Chamaerops humilis) and proper Moroccan species, which seems to be rarefied following the progressive elimination of its nutritional plant.

Endemic species and sub-species

The number of endemic species and sub-species inventoried in this study is of 2,280 divisions over 1 ‘sous-regne’, 4 Sub-kingdoms, and 9 Classes. The Sub-kingdom of Arthropods is the richest in number (2,155) and in percentage (94.5%) of endemic Moroccan elements (Table 11). As for the Classes, we notice that Insects are dominant with 1,950 endemic species and sub-species andn a total of 85.5%.