Research Papers

The effect of largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides on aquatic macro-invertebrate communities in the Wit River, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Published in: African Journal of Aquatic Science
Volume 35, issue 3, 2010, pages: 273–281
DOI: 10.2989/16085914.2010.540776
Author(s): PSR WeylDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, South Africa, FC de MoorDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, South Africa, MP HillDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, South Africa, OLF Weyl, South Africa

Abstract

Fish predation is one of the driving forces of freshwater invertebrate community structures, with alien predators having a pronounced effect. A quantitative assessment of aquatic invertebrates in the Wit River, Sundays River catchment, Eastern Cape, South Africa, was undertaken to assess the impact of the alien fish Micropterus salmoides on their relative abundance and community structure. Communities in the stones-in-current and marginal vegetation biotopes were sampled in the presence and absence of M. salmoides in late summer (February–April) 2008. Results suggest that the presence of M. salmoides does have an impact on indigenous macroinvertebrate fauna and communities. Community structure in the stones-in-current biotopes did not differ significantly between sections of the river with or without fish. However, there was a significant difference in community structure in marginal vegetation between sections of river. In sections with M. salmoides several large or conspicuous taxa (Odonata, Hemiptera and Coleoptera) were significantly reduced (p < 0.05) or even absent, while cryptic/inconspicuous taxa (Trichoptera, Leptoceridae and Mollusca, Physidae) were significantly more abundant (p < 0.05).

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