The impact of Moringa oleifera on the composition and diversity of invertebrate species, with a focus on ants as an indicator group

C.V. Mashamaite, P.N. Mothapo, P.J. Pieterse, E.E. Phiri
Moringa has been widely utilised in many parts of the world as a cultivated crop due to its high nutritive content and great economic attributes. Subsequently, this makes its production a potential cash earning opportunity that can enhance the livelihood of marginal communities and smallholder farmers. In South African legislature, moringa is listed on the Species Under Surveillance for Possible Eradication or Containment Targets (SUSPECT) list since it is a non-native species. However, little is known about moringa's biodiversity impact on the environment to warrant its target for urgent control. We compared abundance and composition of above-ground and flying insects in moringa and natural sites using pitfall- and coloured pan traps. No differences were observed in the numbers of flying insects caught in the pan traps in moringa versus natural stands. Ants, being an indicator group for ecosystem health, and being abundant in moringa stands, suggests that the soil ecology is suitable for them to survive. Our results suggest that moringa has no negative impacts on arthropod richness, and thus may not have a negative ecological impact on the environment.
Mashamaite, C.V., Mothapo, P.N., Pieterse, P.J. and Phiri, E.E. (2021). The impact of Moringa oleifera on the composition and diversity of invertebrate species, with a focus on ants as an indicator group. Acta Hortic. 1306, 107-114
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1306.13
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1306.13
ants, bioindicators, moringa, species abundance, species diversity, SUSPECT
English
1306_13
107-114

Acta Horticulturae