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German wasp | Vespula germanica

German wasp

Vespula germanica

Coral bush | Ardisia crenata

Coral bush

Ardisia crenata

Purple loosestrife | Lythrum salicaria

Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

Pom pom weed | Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Pom pom weed

Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Canarybird bush | Crotalaria agatiflora

Canarybird bush

Crotalaria agatiflora

Peanut butter cassia | Senna didymobotrya

Peanut butter cassia

Senna didymobotrya

Rubber vine | Cryptostegia grandiflora

Rubber vine

Cryptostegia grandiflora

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Environmental Programmes

In order to tackle our country’s socio-economic challenges, the government adopted the Outcomes based approach to improve government performance and providing focus on service delivery. find out more

Shell worm

Boccardia proboscidea

Common name:

Shell worm

Scientific name:

Boccardia proboscidea

Alternative common names:

Abalone worm

The shell worm is an alien species from the Pacific Ocean around North America that has been introduced to the Atlantic Ocean on the West Coast of South Africa.  This is the main pest species on farmed abalone in South Africa.   Molecular studies have indicated that shell worm was moved between farms through the movement of infested abalone. 

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    Canada (British Columbia) to southern California.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA Category 1b.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Mostly along the West Coast of the Western Cape (St. Helena Bay to Haga Haga on on-shore abalone culture facilities, Saldanha Bay & Walker Bay in sediment in intertidal zone) and Northern Cape.

    How does it spread?

    Molecular studies indicate that it was moved between farms through the movement of infested abalone.

    Why is it a problem?

    It is the leading pest species on farmed abalone because it reduces the condition of cultured abalone and increase production costs. It also invades intertidal benthic rocky shores, and builds reefs formed by thousands of individuals.

    What does it look like?

    Description: A small tube-dwelling marine worm with a length of about 20mm. The body is yellow when alive with conspicuous red blood vessels. The tail has a rounded disc with a notch. Habitat: Inhabits sediment and calcareous substrates. Borer on cultured abalone. In extreme cases may form ‘mudpacks’ formed inside the shell where the abalone tries to isolate itself from the accumulated sediment. It usually houses many worms and often causes the shell to break along the respiratory pores. Breeding: Worms reproduce throughout the year, but increased numbers from the end of winter to early summer.

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General News Updates

2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasio…


This is your invitation to South Africa's 2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasions. The convention is hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB), University of Stellenbosch, and the Biolo... Read more

2019 Invasive Species Training


During the past five years (2014-2018), ISSA invasive species trainers have trained 4 000 in the identification of invasive species and laws pertaining to invasive species across South Africa.  ... Read more

Alien Grass Working Group


Who are we? The South African National Alien Grass Working Group was jointly initiated by the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Centre for Excellence in Invasion Biology (C·I·B) in... Read more

Permits for planting indigenous Cynodon?


On 16 February, 2018, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs issued amendments to the regulations and lists relating to the National List of Invasive Species.  Updates to the draft&n... Read more

Invasive species training 2018 dates released


Interested in invasive species?  How much do you know about NEMBA invasive species compliance for landowners and organs of state? The South African Green Industries Council (SAGIC) have released... Read more

Communications post for Africa advertised


The Nature Conservancy has advertised a brand new post:  Communications Manager, Africa Region. Knowledge of invasive species and water would be an asset in this post. See details below:    Job Titl... Read more