Predation on snails by an indigenous fish, Sargochromis codringtonii, in ponds in Zimbabwe

  • MJ Chimbari Blair Research Laboratory, Josiah Tongogara Avenue/Mazowe Street, PO Box CY 573, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe Current address: University of Zimbabwe, Lake Kariba Research Station, Kariba, Zimbabwe
  • H Madsen Danish Bilharziasis Laboratory, Jaegersborg Allé 1D, DK-2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark


The extent to which Sargochromis codringtonii (a known predator of snails) can control snail numbers was investigated in cement-lined ponds in order furtherto evaluate the fish's potential as an agent for the biological control of fresh water snails, especially Bulinus globosus which is the intermediate host for Schistosoma haematobium in Zimbabwe. Bulinus tropicus of all sizes were vulnerable to predation by fish, but both Melanoides tuberculata and Bulinus globosus with shell heights greater than 10mm seemed to be less so. Surprisingly, the density of B. globosus was lower in ponds without fish than in ponds with fish, while the density of B. tropicus was very high in ponds without fish. It was not possible to conclude whether B. globosus benefited by the presence of fish, or was less palatable to the fish than B. tropicus, or whether the high density of B. tropicus in ponds without fishexerted competitive effects on B. globosus. Consequently, further experiments are required to determine whether S. codringtonii can reduce populations of B. globosus in the absence of B. tropicus.

Keywords:Bulinus globosus; Bulinus tropicuschlid fish; competition; biological control

(Afr J Aqua Sci: 2003 28(2): 187-190)

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9364
print ISSN: 1608-5914