The South American armoured catfish family Loricariidae includes more than 700 nominal species. Some are popular aquarium fishes in the global pet trade. Releases by aquarists and escape from fish farms have resulted in several armoured catfish invasions in Central and North America, Asia and now, Africa.
Plants and pollinators have co-evolved physical characteristics that make them more likely to interact successfully. For example, long-proboscid flies, whose tongues are twice the length of their bodies, are able to reach the nectar resources stored deep inside flowers with long straw-like stems. In turn, this interaction is beneficial to the plant because while accessing the nectar, these specialised pollinators pick up pollen and move it to other flowers of the same species.
Can the colors or shapes of invasive plants tell us how they interact with native plants? Tackling the question, C·I·B student, Michelle Gibson and supervisors, Dave Richardson and Anton Pauw, used the problematic invasive Australian Acacia saligna to determine whether floral traits (characteristics) can be used to predict the impact of this invasive on co-occurring native plants in the Cape Floristic Region.