Effects of an alien invasive gastropod on native benthic assemblages in coastal lakes of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa

N.A.F. Miranda, R. Perissinotto


Tarebia granifera (Lamarck, 1822) is one of the most widespread alien invasive molluscs around the world and was accidentally introduced into South Africa via the aquarium trade during the 1990s. It has invaded and spread in the estuaries and lakes of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, where it is often present in extremely high densities. There are no studies directly addressing the impact of T. granifera on benthic fauna of invaded habitats in South Africa. This study aimed to compile useful historic and current benthic community and environmental data for a comparison between pre- and post-invasion scenarios involving T. granifera in the shallow water habitats (depth < 2.6 metres) of different lakes in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Results provide evidence that T. granifera can dominate and thus significantly affect native invertebrate assemblage composition. Under certain environmental conditions, some native gastropod species can be displaced by T. granifera. However, T. granifera does not appear to markedly affect the biodiversity of aquatic coastal ecosystems. This study serves as a baseline for future research. There is a need for empirical approaches, addressing the extent and specific mechanisms of the ecological impact of T. granifera.

To cite this paper: Miranda, N.A.F. & Perissinotto, R. 2014. Effects of an alien invasive gastropod on native benthic assemblages in coastal lakes of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa. African Invertebrates 55 (2): 209–228.

Published electronically: 30 August 2014.

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