Macro-invertebrate predators of freshwater pulmonate snails in Africa, with particular reference to Appasus grassei (Heteroptera) and Procambarus clarkii (Decapoda)
A range of African and alien macro-invertebrates has been reported preying on freshwater pulmonate snails, including those that serve as intermediate hosts for bloodflukes of the genus Schistosoma. Predation by five molluscivorous taxa is reviewed here: indigenous leeches (Glossiphoniidae), marsh fly larvae (Sciomyzidae), waterbugs (Belostomatidae), crabs (Potamonautidae) and invasive crayfish (Astacidae). Common features are a lack of prey specificity but clear prey-size specificity. Attention is drawn to the ability of invasive snail species (Physidae and Lymnaeidae) to avoid predation by several of these taxa. Evidence suggests that only the alien invasive crayfish Procambarus clarkii has potential as a snail biocontrol agent, but that its use should not be encouraged.
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