BioStudies Exotic Species Identification Guide
, and others)
Island applesnail (
) introduced into Texas waters (above)have been genetically shown to be distinct from true channeled applesnail(
) and several other species with channeled shells.Applesnails (Ampullariidae) include species from South and CentralAmerica, the Caribbean Islands, Africa, and southern Asia, with a singlenative species in Florida. There are two major chapters in the applesnailhistory in the invasive species arena…first via the aquarium trade and thenculture for human consumption. Related mysterysnails (Viviparidae) wereonce popular in aquarium culture, but Chinese mysterysnail (
) and related species had limited tolerance to high temperaturesand produced vast amounts of fecal matter. In the 1950s and 1960s, thesewere largely replaced by South American applesnails, but the term mysterysnail was retained by pet stores. Ultimately, spiketop applesnail (
, then called
) became the primary snail species sold in thepet trade because it ate algae, but not aquarium plants.In 1979, channeled applesnail (
), and perhaps relatedspecies, were taken from Argentina to Taiwan, the Philippines, andelsewhere in Southeast Asia to be reared for human consumption under thename golden apple snail. When no Asian escargot industry, these snailsescaped or were released. Unfortunately, they then became major threats torice and taro crops in the region. Other introductions occurred in Hawaii,Central America, and other countries. Additionally, as the aquarium hobbyturned to silk and plastic aquarium plants, plant-eating applesnail speciesthat were unacceptable earlier, now began to appear again in pet stores.Escapes and releases occurred at sites throughout the U.S. and around theworld. Some of these same snails were also found to host parasitic wormsthat could infect humans. Applesnails have now become ecological,agricultural, and public health concerns in many countries.
Robert G. Howells – BioStudies
160 Bearskin Trail,Kerrville, Texas firstname.lastname@example.orgMay 2009
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PARASITES: Rat lungworm (
) can becarried by some applesnail species and can infect humans in addition torats and other animals. This parasite is present in tropical regions,some sites in the Caribbean, and in applesnails in Louisiana. Recentexaminations failed to find it in island applesnails in Texas, but not allpopulations have been studied to date.LEGAL RESTRICTIONS: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department andUSDA both prohibit all genera and species of applesnails exceptspiketop applesnail.
are thelargest snails infresh water inNorth America(left). Shown rightis a channeledapplesnail fromHawaii with theoperculum.Applesnails of the genus
lay eggs onsolid objects and emergent plants above thewater-line in masses that resemble bunches of small grapes. Many are colored (pink, red,green). These egg clusters dry into brittlecalcareous masses that become more pale overtime and turn white after hatching. Presenceof egg masses is often a good clue to thepresence of applesnails. Giant rams-horns laygelatinous eggs under water. Shown right areeggs of island applesnail on a twig.