Green Snail | Soil | Horticulture And Gardening


Green Snail

Exotic Plant Pest Alert

(Cantareus apertus – formerly Helix aperta)

Adult green snail (actual length about 55mm)

Green Snail
In the 1980s this introduced pest snail was found infesting over 350 hectares of market gardens, suburban gardens and neighbouring bush areas near Perth in Western Australia. The green snail originally came from Southern Europe and North Africa. It may have been introduced illegally by an overseas traveller. The distribution of the green snail in Western Australia is relatively restricted. In addition to Perth, snails have been recorded in rural locations approximately 200 km south and 120 km north of Perth. Consignments of green snail host materials and host plants need certification to be sent interstate from Western Australia. In September 2011 it was detected near Cobram in the north of Victoria for the first time. This is the first confirmed case of this pest snail outside of Western Australia. A restricted area has been declared around the infestation and restrictions will apply to the movement from this area of most plant materials, including pasture grasses, fodder (hay), vegetables, nursery stock and cut flowers. The aim of DPI Victoria is to contain green snail to a 2km radius pest quarantine area within this restricted area, while further surveys are conducted to determine the extent of the infestation. These surveys are suspended during summer (December-March), since the snails lie dormant underground during this period and neither surveillance nor control measures will be effective. Consignments of green snail host materials and host plants need certification to be sent interstate or elsewhere in Victoria from the green snail 25 km restricted area.

What plants are affected by these snails?
The green snail has a wide host range. It has caused damage to cabbages, cauliflowers, lettuces, peas, beans, wheat, lupins, pasture grasses and native plants. The damage caused by green snail is similar to that of common garden snail – feeding on surfaces of young leaves, often only penetrating shallowly and leaving a ‘windowpane effect’. Older snails eat holes in the leaves and may reduce them to veins only. During their underground summer dormancy, snails do not pose a risk to crops.

About Green Snails
Mature green snails have an olivegreen shell and white flesh. They are intermediate in size between the smaller vineyard snail and white Italian snail and the larger common garden snail, rarely exceeding 25mm in shell diameter. Green snail is similar to both the white Italian snail and the common garden snail in that it remains dormant through the summer in dry situations. However, unlike the other snails, it burrows into the soil before becoming dormant. Following autumn and winter rains the snail reactivates itself. The eggs are laid in the soil about May or June and the young snails appear in early winter. Green snails can breed very quickly, with up to 1000 young snails found per square metre.

Supported by:
QUEENSLAND Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation NEW SOUTH WALES Department of Primary Industries AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY Environment ACT VICTORIA Department of Primary Industries TASMANIA Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment SOUTH AUSTRALIA Primary Industries and Regions South Australia Biosecurity SA WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Juvenile green snail (top) and common garden snail.

How do Green Snails Spread?
Green snails spread through the movement of infested plant material, hay bales, nursery stock, harvested vegetables, and the movement of soils. Snails are proficient hitch - hikers and move between regions on transport. Avoid moving snails from infested to clean areas on farm machinery and vehicles.

Shells of the vineyard snail. (Shell diameter of about 20 mm)

Who should I contact if I suspect a problem with Green Snails?
If you suspect you have found green snail, please contact Biosecurity SA or call your Exotic Pest Hotline immediately on 1800 084 881.

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia NORTHERN TERRITORY Department of Resources – Primary Industry COMMONWEALTH

Shells of the white Italian snail. (Shell diameter of about 24 mm)

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

If you see anything unusual, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline

Disclaimer: The material in this publication was prepared from the most up-to-date information available at the time of publication. It is intended as a guide only and the publisher accepts no responsibility for errors.

Biosecurity SA January 2012

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