Rassim Khelifa

Table of contents

Research interests

Species distributions along latitudinal and elevational gradients tend to remain stable over time. Ecological conditions change sharply with elevation; 10 m of elevational range retreat is equivalent to 10 km latitudinal retreat. I study community structure over an elevational gradient in the Swiss Alps and determine factors limiting the distribution of species. The organisms I study are Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), a group of aquatic insects with quite high abilities to fly from one water body to another. In a metapopulation context, it is of interest to discover whether extremely high elevation ponds play a role of sink supplied through dispersal by lower elevation source ponds. I also study the adaptations of species at high elevations and the tradeoff between survival and reproductive success. I am using the CSCF database of Swiss odonate records (since 1970) to assess potential shifts in distribution range of species due to climate change.


Education and professional positions

2013 - present Ph.D. Student, Graduate Program Evolutionary Biology, Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2009 - 2012 Master (Magister) of Ecology, University of Guelma, Algeria
2004 - 2009 Bachelor (Ingénieur) of Ecology, University of Guelma, Algeria


  • Khelifa, R., Zebsa, R., Kahalerras, A., Mahdjoub, H. & Moussaoui, A. (2013). Niche partitioning in three sympatric congeneric species of dragonfly (Orthetrum chrysostigma, O. coerulescens, and O. nitidinerve – Libellulidae: Odonata): importance of microhabitat. Journal of insect science 13:71.
  • Khelifa R., Zebsa R., Amari H. & Mellal M.K. (2013). Does wind affect emergence site selection in odonata? African Entomology 21(2):383-387.
  • Khelifa R., Zebsa R., Sekrane N., Youcefi A., Bensouilah S. & Amari H. (2013). Long range movements of an endangered endemic damselfly Calopteryx exul Selys, 1853 (Calopterygidae: Odonata). African Journal of Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/aje.12107
  • Khelifa R., Zebsa R., Kahalerras A., Laouar A., Mahdjoub H. & Houhamdi M. (in press). Description of the final instar exuvia of Urothemis edwardsii Selys (Odonata: Liballulidae) with reference to its emergence site selection. Entomologia Generalis.
  • Khelifa R., Mahdjoub H., Zebsa R., Kahalerras A. & Houhamdi M. (2013). Aspects of reproductive biology and behaviour of the regional critically endangered Urothemis edwardsii (Odonata: Libellulidae) of Lake Bleu (Algeria). Zoology and Ecology. DOI: 10.1080/21658005.2013.837265
  • Chettibi F., Khelifa R., Aberkane M., Bouslama Z. and Houhamdi M. (2013). Diurnal Activity budget and breeding ecology of the White-headed duck Oxyura leucocephala in Tonga Lake (Northeast Algeria). Zoology and Ecology. DOI:10.1080/21658005.2013.817516.
  • Khelifa R. (2013). Flight period, apparent sex ratio and habitat preferences of the Maghribian endemic Calopteryx exul selys, 1853 (Odonata: Zygoptera). Revue d'écologie (La Terre et la Vie) 68 (1): 37-45.
  • Khelifa R. (2012). Description of the final instar larva of Calopteryx exul Sélys, 1853 (Zygoptera: Calopterygidae). International Journal of Odonatology, 1: 107-114
  • Khelifa R., Zebsa R., Kahalerras A. & Mahdjoub H. (2012). Clutch size and egg production in Orthetrum nitidinerve Selys, 1841 (Anisoptera: Libellulidae): effect of body size and age. International Journal of Odonatology, 1: 51–58. DOI:10.1080/13887890.2012.682921
  • Khelifa R., Youcefi A., Kahalerras A., Alfarhan A., Al-Rasheid K.A.S. & Samraoui B. (2011). L'odonatofaune (Insecta: Odonata) du bassin de la Seybouse en Algérie: intérêt pour la biodiversité du Maghreb. Revue d'écologie (La Terre et la Vie), 66 (1): 55-66.
  • Khelifa R., Youcefi A., Bouzid A., Boucheker A., Boulkhssaim M. & Samraoui, B. (2009). A new breeding site for the Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus in Algeria. Flamingo 17: 44-47.