New popular book on alien and invasive animals

Alien & Invasive animals front cover

A new book featuring the diversity and the impact of alien and invasive animals in South Africa, was recently launched by C·I·B researcher, Charles Griffiths and co-author, Mike Picker.

Invasive species are widely recognised as representing the second-most important human impact on ecological systems, exceeded only by direct habitat destruction. While the impacts of invasive plants have been well-studied and reported, those caused by alien animals have received less attention. Alien animals can act as vectors for the spread of disease, decimate crops, parasitize livestock and fish, and prey on, or compete with, indigenous species. Others have a positive role as economically-valued food sources, or as biocontrol agents used to regulate other invasive plants and animals.

The new book Alien & Invasive animals — a South African perspective is the first comprehensive synthesis of the diversity and impact of alien and invasive animals in South Africa. Indeed there are no comparable volumes for other parts of the world. Some three hundred of the most important invasive animals in South Africa are described in terms of their history of invasion, identification and biology, distribution, known ecological and economic impacts, and control measures. Each species is illustrated by one of more photographs, a global map showing its native and introduced ranges, and a detailed map of its distribution in South Africa. Alien animals from freshwater, terrestrial and marine habitats are all covered.

Over 20 experts have contributed chapters on particular group of organisms for which they have expert knowledge. A more comprehensive annotated listing of over 600 alien animals known from South Africa is also provided as an appendix. Production of the volume was supported by a grant from the C·I·B.

More about the authors:

Mike Picker is an Associate Professor in the Zoology Department, University of Cape Town. He has vast field experience in insect natural history, and publishes and undertakes consultation work on insect diversity and ecology. He is the first author of the best-selling Field Guide to Insects of South Africa.

Charles Griffiths is a Professor (and former Head) of the Zoology Department, University of Cape Town, and a team member of the C·I·B. He is author of over 150 scientific publications and four previous books, mostly on marine life. He is also a well-known natural history photographer with over 2000 published images.

For more information about the book, see the Struik website

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Alien & Invasive animals — a South African perspective
By Mike Picker and Charles Griffiths, Struik Nature, Sept 2011, 240pp
Retail price R 220