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The biological control of aquatic weeds in South Africa: Current status and future challenges

Martin P. Hill, Julie Coetzee

Bothalia: African Biodiversity & Conservation; Vol 47, No 2 (2017), 12 pages. doi: 10.4102/abc.v47i2.2152

Submitted: 15 August 2016
Published:  31 March 2017


Background: Aquatic ecosystems in South Africa are prone to invasion by several invasive alien aquatic weeds, most notably, Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms-Laub. (Pontederiaceae) (water hyacinth); Pistia stratiotes L. (Araceae) (water lettuce); Salvinia molesta D.S. Mitch. (Salviniaceae) (salvinia); Myriophyllum aquaticum (Vell. Conc.) Verd. (parrot’s feather); and Azolla filiculoides Lam. (Azollaceae) (red water fern).
Objective: We review the biological control programme on waterweeds in South Africa.
Results: Our review shows significant reductions in the extent of invasions, and a return on biodiversity and socio-economic benefits through the use of this method. These studies provide justification for the control of widespread and emerging freshwater invasive alien aquatic weeds in South Africa.
Conclusions: The long-term management of alien aquatic vegetation relies on the correct implementation of biological control for those species already in the country and the prevention of other species entering South Africa.

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Author affiliations

Martin P. Hill, Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, South Africa
Julie Coetzee, Department of Botany, Rhodes University, South Africa


Biological control; invasive aquatic plants; benthic macroinvertebrate diversity


Total abstract views: 482
Total article views: 1187  


1. Assessing the status of biological control as a management tool for suppression of invasive alien plants in South Africa
Costas Zachariades, Iain D. Paterson, Lorraine W. Strathie, Martin P. Hill, Brian W. Van Wilgen
Bothalia  vol: 47  issue: 2  year: 2017  
doi: 10.4102/abc.v47i2.2142

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ISSN: 0006-8241 (print) | ISSN: 2311-9284 (online)

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