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Predation on snails by an indigenous fish, Sargochromis codringtonii, in ponds in Zimbabwe

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Abstract:

The extent to which Sargochromis codringtonii (a known predator of snails) can control snail numbers was investigated in cementlined ponds in order further to evaluate the fish's potential as an agent for the biological control of fresh water snails, especially Bulinus globosus which is the intermediate host for Schistosoma haematobium in Zimbabwe. Bulinus tropicus of all sizes were vulnerable to predation by fish, but both Melanoides tuberculata and Bulinus globosus with shell heights greater than 10mm seemed to be less so. Surprisingly, the density of B. globosus was lower in ponds without fish than in ponds with fish, while the density of B. tropicus was very high in ponds without fish. It was not possible to conclude whether B. globosus benefited by the presence of fish, or was less palatable to the fish than B. tropicus, or whether the high density of B. tropicus in ponds without fish exerted competitive effects on B. globosus. Consequently, further experiments are required to determine whether S. codringtonii can reduce populations of B. globosus in the absence of B. tropicus .

Keywords: BIOLOGICAL CONTROL; BULINUS GLOBOSUS; BULINUS TROPICUS; CICHLID FISH; COMPETITION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-08-01

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