Research Papers

Gastropod diversity, distribution and abundance in habitats with and without anthropogenic disturbances in Lake Victoria, Kenya

Published in: African Journal of Aquatic Science
Volume 38, issue 3, 2013 , pages: 295–304
DOI: 10.2989/16085914.2013.797380
Author(s): CN LangeInvertebrate Zoology Section, Kenya, TK KristensenMandahl-Barth Research Centre for Biodiversity and Health in Developing Countries, DBL Centre for Health Research and Development, Denmark, H MadsenMandahl-Barth Research Centre for Biodiversity and Health in Developing Countries, DBL Centre for Health Research and Development, Denmark

Abstract

We investigated freshwater gastropod diversity, abundance and distribution in habitats with and without anthropogenic disturbance in two localities, Ndere in the Winam Gulf and Mbita Point, Lake Victoria, Kenya, from May 2002 to January 2004. A total of 133 984 gastropod specimens belonging to 15 species were recorded, 14 from Mbita and 12 from Ndere. Two species, Ferrissia kavirondica and Cleopatra cridlandi, which were recorded only from undisturbed habitats, could be indicators of least disturbed habitats. Water chemistry did differ between fish landing sites and undisturbed habitats at some sampling times, indicating that differences due to human impact do exist, but these are dependent on periods of calm weather. The study shows that anthropogenic disturbances cause ecological changes that can be exploited by some snail species, especially Biomphalaria choanomphala and Melanoides tuberculata, while other species may not tolerate these changes. In order to protect gastropod diversity and avoid dominance of intermediate hosts, such as B. choanomphala, a management plan for the use of these fish landing sites should be developed. This could include rules on how to dispose of fish remnants and other wastes so as to reduce local eutrophication, thereby reducing risks associated with transmission of potential snail-borne diseases.

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