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Impacts of repeated applications of Bacillus thuringiensis var israelensis de Barjac and Temephos, used in blackfly control, on macroinvertebrates in the middle Orange River, South Africa



Impacts of repeated applications of Bacillus thuringiensis var israelensis de Barjac and Temephos, used in blackfly control, on macroinvertebrates in the middle Orange River, South Africa



Southern African Journal of Aquatic Sciences 21(1-2): 35-55



The impacts of five consecutive treatments of blackfly larvicides on macroinvertebrates in the middle Orange River were assessed. The abundance of the midge Xenochironomus sp and the limpet Burnupia sp. was lower at sites treated with Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis (B.t.i.) compared to control sites (P lt 0.05). There was no medium-term impact on the abundance of two B.t.i.-sensitive taxa: Simulium spp. and the midge Rheotanytarsus fuscus. Repeated applications of the organophosphate temephos (Abate-R 200EC) significantly reduced the abundance of 25% of the invertebrate taxa in the stones-in-current biotope (P lt 0.1). The most affected taxa were R. fuscus, certain Baetis spp. mayflies and Coenagrionidae damselflies. Ordination of the species/sample matrix using detrended correspondence analysis showed that changes in invertebrate abundance and composition caused by either larvicide were well within the range of natural seasonal and spatial variation. However, the control programme may be detrimental to non-pest blackfly species, particularly the South African endemic Simulium gariepense, which may be endangered because of river regulation. It is concluded that the medium-term impacts of operational dosages of B.t.i. and temephos are safe provided that the recommended dosages of temephos are adhered to, and provided certain sections of river are left untreated as refugia for sensitive taxa.

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