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The current status of freshwater molluscs in the Kruger National Park

DOI: 10.4102/koedoe.v49i2.122

Keywords: Freshwater molluscs , Species diversity , Rivers , Dams , Alien invaders

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Surveys regarding the freshwater mollusc population of the Kruger National Park commenced before 1966 and was repeated in 1995, 2001 and recently in 2006. During this period the park was exposed to several droughts as well as floods, all of which could have had some influence on the various habitats in the park. Industrial developments and urbanisation near some of the major rivers outside the park, but which flow through the park, could also have a detrimental effect on the species diversity of the freshwater molluscs. The recent survey in 45 habitats included several dams and rivers. The survey was done to determine the current status of the mollusc species diversity. By comparing it with previous surveys, an attempt was made to establish the overall health of freshwater mollusc habitats. From the results it is clear that there was a drastic decrease in the mollusc species diversity in five of the habitats. Although there was a slight change in the species composition in some of the major rivers there was no difference in the number of species collected in these habitats. Tarebia granifera, an alien invader mollusc, was found in several rivers and dams. Gyraulus costulatus, Melanoides victoriae and Eupera ferruginea, which could not be found during the survey of 2001, were collected during the current survey.


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