- 14 Jun 2013
Two Asian Freshwater Snails Newly Introduced into South Africa and an Analysis of Alien Species Reported to Date
Two Asian freshwater gastropods, Radix rubiginosa (Michelin, 1831) (Lymnaeidae) and Gyraulus chinensis (Dunker, 1848) (Planorbidae) are reported from a facility supplying fish and plants to the aquarium trade in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Neither species has been found in South Africa...
A side-effect of the aquarium hobby which worries me. Tropical snails are traveling around the globe, together with aquarium plants or fish, and are finding new places to live. Potentially becoming invasive and competing with indigenous species. And potentially introducing harmful parasites. I assume the same thing happens with aquatic plants and, perhaps to a lesser extent, with aquarium fish.
Many of us hobbyists are aware of the consequences and prevent the spread of aquatic plants or snails by choosing not to dispose of plant material and tank water via the sewage system or local water bodies. But I believe there is always some degree of exposure of the local
ecosystem to “alien species”, partly caused ignorance, random chance, commercial considerations, and “things happen” ( accidents). The risk of a species becoming invasive is then probably correlated with the similarity of the local climate and habitat with the origin for the species concerned. Although some tropical species can apparently thrive outside even in temperate countries in Europe.
How to deal with these risks as a “wannabe responsible” aquarium hobbyist? I find it hard to accept that my fun and seemingly innocent hobby (disregarding costs 😅) could have such impacts. Especially as we, or at least many of us, admire nature in the representation of the aquarium habitat, this should not cause disruption to the aquatic ecosystem outside, in the real world.
Would love to hear your thoughts.