Pomacea canaliculata(Lamarck)

A snail commonly found in the aquarium trade threatens North American rice crops

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Name: Pomacea canaliculata (Lamarck)
Taxonomic Position:
Animalia: Mollusca: Gastropoda: Mesogastropoda: Ampullariidae
Common Names: Channeled applesnail; golden applesnail*

Considered to be the most serious pest of rice in the Philippines, the channeled applesnail population exploded throughout Asia after escaping cultivation for human consumption in the 1980's. This pest has now invaded North America, apparently as a result of release from aquaria. Recently, applesnails were found in Texas rice fields. It is believed that they were washed into these fields by Tropical Storm Allsion from waterways containing established populations. First crop damages may become apparent in spring 2002

Issues of Concern: The channeled applesnail, Pomacea canaliculata, has become established in the U.S.A. in Hawaii, California, Florida and Texas. This pest is commonly available in the aquarium trade as a "mystery snail". Sold in pet stores, mystery snails are composed of a variety of applesnails, and identification of P. canaliculata in this complex is problematic. In the U.S., most states permit possession and trade of the channeled applesnail, but prohibit release into the environment.

In addition to its presence in the aquarium trade, a perceived value for snail farming and weed control may contributed to the absence of quarantines, thereby facilitating the rapid spread of this species in Asia and North America.

There are significant rice industries in Florida, Texas and California which may become severely impacted by the applesnail.
This snail may also serve as a vector of human diseases and parasites, such as Angiostrongylus cantonensis.

Hosts: Azolla spp.; Chara spp.; Colocasia esculenta (taro); Cyperus monophyllus (sedge); Eichornia spp. (water hyacinth); Ipomoea aquatica (swamp morning-glory); Juncus decipiens (rush); Lemna spp. (duckweed); Nelumbo spp. (lotus); Oenanthe stolonifera (water dropwort); Oryza sativa (rice); Pistia spp. (water lettuce); Trapa bicornis; Vallisneria spp.; Zizania latifolia (Manchurian wildrice)

Native: South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay
Introduced: Asia (China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam); U.S.A. (California, Florida, Hawaii, Texas); Caribbean (The Dominican Republic)

Quarantines: There are apparently no North American quarantines in place. Malaysia issued a quarantine act prohibiting transport and culture of the snail subsequent to the Philippines infestation.

Detection Strategies
The channeled applesnail is large (to approximately 4" shell height), and lays distinctive clusters of pink to red eggs on solid objects above the water. Observation of egg masses may be the easiest way to detect if applesnails are present. Egg masses which are not fresh may bleach in the sun and lose their pink coloration.

The use of crayfish traps for survey and control has been evaluated using vegetative material as bait, resulting in reports of >90% male trapping success. Regarding this method, we will post more precise details and references as they become available.

*Considered not to be a valid common name by many workers.

Useful Links:
Southern Mississippi Univ Factsheet
Texas Parks and Wildlife Alert
CSIRO Media Release
Applesnail site (comprehensive and very good)
Several great pictures

Related Documents:
Data Sheet with References (Adobe)    Molamppc598.pdf

Warning: The information in this archived item was not confirmed with the appropriate National Plant Protection Organization and is provided solely for informational purposes. Please use this information with caution.