Composition, origins and distribution of the alien fauna of South Africa

Composition, origins and distribution of the alien fauna of South Africa
Michael PICKER1, Charles L. Griffiths2
1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, Cape Town, South Africa
2Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, Cape Town, South Africa

Study aims: To profile and compare the marine, freshwater and terrestrial alien fauna of South Africa, by providing a detailed breakdown of its species richness, taxonomic composition, patterns of geographical origins, modes or introduction,  geographic distributions, and impacts on local fauna.

Methods and data: The data used in the analysis are to be drawn from the 2011 book ‘Alien & Invasive animals’ (Picker and Griffiths). The detailed appendix is to be used as the primary database, as it is the most complete documentation of the freshwater, marine and terrestrial alien fauna of the region. For the 571 listed species, the appendix includes information on their origin, SA distribution and habitat. Using this database, with more detailed data in the text of the book, the following trends are analysed; hotspot analysis for alien species richness across SA, invaded habitat by taxon, relative importance of different taxa, species accumulation curves for increase in numbers of alien species since first introduction to 2011 for vertebrates and invertebrates, mode of introduction pathway (deliberate, accidental) for terrestrial, freshwater and marine introductions, and geographical source of introduction by taxon and habitat. For invertebrates the contribution of deliberate introductions for biocontrol purposes is included.

The scale and trends (invasion history, sources of alien fauna, profile of faunal species involved, habitats invaded) will provide a broad overview of the nature of the alien fauna of the region.