Control populations of wild invertebrates
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
Although invertebrates such as insects, gastropods and crustaceans are an important part of marsh and swamp ecosystems, they can become problematic where they are introduced and/or become overabundant. For example, invasive scale insects Nipponaclerda biwakoensis are causing die-back of natural reed stands in the Mississippi River Delta (Knight et al. 2018). The golden apple snail Pomacea canaliculata can greatly reduce vegetation abundance (Carlsson et al. 2004).
Reducing the local population of wild invertebrates could reduce their impacts and allow degraded marshes or swamps to recover. Specific techniques might be spraying with pesticides, setting traps, introducing reproductively sterile individuals, introducing a natural enemy of the problem species, or increased harvesting. It may be very difficult to completely eradicate animals that have refuges in nearby habitats.
Caution: Actions to control invertebrates could have negative side effects. Pesticides will kill many non-target invertebrates. Organisms introduced to control problematic invertebrates could themselves become problematic. Reducing invertebrate populations could have knock-on effects for the wider community: invertebrates can be an important food source for predators, pollinators for plants, and competitors that prevent other species from becoming overabundant and problematic.
Related interventions: Control populations of wild vertebrates (freshwater marshes – brackish/salt marshes – freshwater swamps – brackish/saline swamps); Exclude wild invertebrates using physical barriers.
Carlsson N.O.L., Brönmark C. & Hansson L.-A. (2004) Invading herbivory: the golden apple snail alters ecosystem functioning in Asian wetlands. Ecology, 85, 1575–1580.
Knight I.A., Wilson B.E., Gill M., Aviles L., Cronin J.T., Nyman J.A., Schneider S.A. & Diaz R. (2018) Invasion of Nipponaclerda biwakoensis (Hemiptera: Aclerdidae) and Phragmites australis die-back in southern Louisiana, USA. Biological Invasions, 20, 2739–2744.