Background: The Culicoides fauna of Algeria has been historically investigated, leading to the description of many new species by Kieffer in the 1920s, Clastrier in the 1950s or Callot in the 1960s and to a comprehensive inventory by Szadziewski in the 1980s. The emergence of bluetongue in the late 1990s enhanced Culicoides collections made in the country over the last two decades, but information remained mostly unpublished. The aim of this study is therefore to provide a comprehensive and updated checklist of Culicoides biting midge species in Algeria.
Methods: The literature (published and grey, in French and in English) from 1920 to date on Culicoides collections in Algeria was collected and analyzed in the light of the current taxonomic and systematic knowledge and methods. Fresh Culicoides material was also analyzed using light/suction trap collections carried out from November 2015 to September 2018 in nine localities of the 'wilayah' of Tiaret (northwestern Algeria). Slide mounted specimens were identified morphologically using the interactive identification key IIKC and original descriptions. Specimens were then compared with non-type material originating from different countries and partly with type material.
Results: A total of 13,709 Culicoides, belonging to at least 36 species within 10 subgenera, were examined leading to 10 new records in Algeria, including C. chiopterus, C. dewulfi, C. navaiae, C. grisescens, C. paradoxalis, C. shaklawensis, C. simulator, C. univittatus, C. achrayi and C. picturatus. These new records and all previous records provided by the literature review were discussed.
Conclusions: We propose a Culicoides checklist for the Algerian fauna of 59 valid species, including species mainly with a large Palaearctic distribution and a specific Mediterranean distribution, and only a few species from the Afrotropical region. Among them, several species, mainly of the subgenera Avaritia and Culicoides, are confirmed or probable vectors of arboviruses important in animal health.
Keywords: Algeria; Bluetongue; Ceratopogonidae; Culicoides; New records.