The Alien and Cryptogenic Marine Crustaceans of South Africa

  • Charles GriffithsEmail author
  • Tamara Robinson
  • Angela Mead
Part of the Invading Nature - Springer Series in Invasion Ecology book series (INNA, volume 6)


Some 33 marine crustaceans are currently known or suspected to have been introduced to South Africa, with additional species regularly being discovered. The current list, including cryptogenic forms, comprises two barnacles, one copepod, 11 isopods, 17 amphipods and two crabs. We tabulate these species and examine their temporal patterns of discovery and current spatial distributions. The earliest introductions are thought to have arrived in dry ballast, or on wooden vessels, either boring into the wood itself, or as fouling. More recent introductions include species suspected to have arrived via ballast water, or along with farmed oysters. Most introduced crustaceans are confined to the few harbours and sheltered sites along this linear and wave-exposed coastline. Only two are known to cause significant ecological or economic impacts. The Pacific barnacle Balanus glandula has invaded over 400 km of open coast and altered community structure there, while the European shore crab Carcinus maenas has caused significant ecological disruption in the limited sites where it is now abundant. Future risks include the almost inevitable spread of C. maenas to additional sheltered sites, and introductions of additional species, especially via ballast water. Ballast water treatment and replacement of imported oyster spat by locally-cultured stock are among measures recommended to limit further introductions.


Ballast Water Sheltered Site Fouling Community Marine Crustacean Ballast Water Treatment 
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.



Financial support for the preparation of this paper, and for much of the research than underpins it, was provided by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology. Our thanks to Megan van Zyl for use of unpublished data in the ecological impacts of Balanus glandula.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Griffiths
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tamara Robinson
    • 1
  • Angela Mead
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Invasion Biology and Zoology DepartmentUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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