The Status and Distribution of Marine Alien Species in South Africa

  • Charles L. Griffiths
  • Tamara B. Robinson
  • Angela Mead
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 204)

No geographcally or taxonomically comprehensive census of marine alien species has ever been undertaken in South Africa and the state of knowledge of the taxonomy of many marine invertebrate groups remains poor in this region (Gibbons 1999), compromising the ability to detect introduced species. Given these constraints, 22 confirmed extant marine aliens, plus 18 cryptogenic species, have been recorded from South African waters to date, with one additional species recently found in on-land mariculture facilities (Simon and Booth, in press). The true number of introduced species may well exceed these estimates by several times (see also Chap. 2, Carlton).

All 22 of the marine alien species reported from the wild support well-established populations, but the majority of these remain restricted to the few sheltered bays, estuaries and harbours on this wave-exposed coastline. Interestingly, only three species are known to have become invasive (defined here as having spread significantly beyond their points of origin). These are the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis, the European green crab Carcinus maenas(Griffiths et al. 1992; Robinson et al. 2005a) and the recently detected barnacle Balanus glandula(Laird and Griffiths, 2008). A list of species known to be introduced to the region, and which presently support populations is given in Table 23.1. Sites mentioned in this chapter are shown in Fig. 23.1. The various established species are discussed by taxonomic group below.


Ballast Water South African Water European Green Crab South African Coast Cryptogenic Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles L. Griffiths
    • 1
  • Tamara B. Robinson
    • 1
  • Angela Mead
  1. 1.Zoology DepartmentUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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