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Preliminary studies on changes in distribution of aquatic macrophytes in the Lunuwila tank in 1991-1993, after introduction of Cyrtobagous salviniae to control Salvinia molesta

Preliminary studies on changes in distribution of aquatic macrophytes in the Lunuwila tank in 1991-1993, after introduction of Cyrtobagous salviniae to control Salvinia molesta

Journal of the National Science Council of Sri Lanka 24(2): 81-94

Monthly abundance (in terms of percentage frequency and percentage cover) of macrophytic species, from August, 1991 to September, 1993, were studied using 1 times 1 m-2 quadrats in the Lunuwila tank, into which Cyrtobagous salviniae, had been introduced to control Salvinia molesta. The results indicate that Salvinia molesta, Nelumbium sp. and Nymphaea lotus were the main competing species during the study period, and S. molesta was the main controlling species. Submerged species, Hydrilla verticillata, Vallisnaria spiralis and Utricularia flexuosa were found growing in the absence or poor growth of S. molesta. The tank dried completely during February to April 1991 and all species except Nelumbium sp. disappeared due to desiccation. All the species however, reappeared after the rain, with Salvinia molesta taking six months to reappear. During July and August 1992, leaves of Nelumbium sp. were attacked by a Lepidopteran caterpillar and a Dipteran larva (leaf miner). Nymphaea lotus was found subsequently. The results suggest that S. molesta threat has not been eliminated through biological control and also that the community change in macrophytes in the water body depend on the initial species composition, their abundance, rainfall pattern, and natural predatory activities on macrophytes.

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