(Giant) African snail (Achatina fulica)




  Giant African land snail, Achatina (Lissachatina) fulica, is considered by some to be one of the most damaging snails in the world. It has been observed to feed on at least 500 different types of plants, many of them crops. It is thought to have originated in East Africa, but has since spread through many countries in Southeast Asia and islands in the Pacific Ocean, including the Hawaiian Islands. More recently, this mollusc gained access to South America (Brazil) and the Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Lucia, Barbados and Saint Martin/ Saint Maarten. In early September 2011, it was found in Miami-Dade County of southern Florida. This is not the first occurrence of giant African snail in Florida. In 1966, a Miami, FL, child smuggled three giant African snails into south Florida when he returned from a trip to Hawaii. His grandmother eventually released the snails into her garden. Seven years later, more than 18,000 snails had been found along with scores of eggs. It was eventually eradicated, but it took 10 years at a cost of $1 million to eliminate this invader. Florida is now once again faced with an invasion by this snail. 1


Papaya (Carica papaya): Giant African snail (Achatina fulica) Papaya (Carica papaya): Giant African snail (Achatina fulica)
Fig. 1 Fig. 2
Papaya (Carica papaya): Giant African snail (Achatina fulica)
Papaya (Carica papaya): Giant African snail (Achatina fulica) Africans snail (Achatina fulica) on papaya African snail (Achatina fulica) feeding injury to a papaya stem Africans snail (Achatina fulica) on papaya.
Fig.  3  Fig.  4 
Fig.  5 
Fig.  6 
African snail (Achatina fulica) feeding injury to a papaya fruit Early Stem Injury African snails (Achatina fulica) and their feeding injury to papaya fruits. The whitish mycelium is Phytophthora palmivora
Fig.  7 Fig.  8 
Fig.  9 
African snail (Achatina fulica) eggs at the base of a papaya stem African snail (Achatina fulica) feeding injury to a papaya stem Death of the plants
Fig.  10 Fig.  11 Fig.  12

Fig. 4. African snail on papaya
Fig. 5. African snail feeding injury to a papaya stem
Fig. 8. Early Stem Injury
Fig. 9. African snails (Achatina fulica) and their feeding injury to papaya fruits. The whitish mycelium is Phytophthora palmivora.
Fig. 10. African snail eggs at the base of a papaya stem
Fig. 11. African snail (Achatina fulica) feeding injury to a papaya stem
Fig. 12. Death of the plants

Giant African snails cause extensive damage on farms in Hawai'i and in natural ecosystems and pose certain risks to society. They affect papaya farming in the following ways: • loss of crop yield from feeding on papaya fruits; • death of papaya plants from snails feeding on the fruit-bearing, green portion of the stems; • increased fruit and stem blight caused by Phytophthora palmivora as the snail spreads the pathogen contact with its body; • increased farm costs (labor, materials, traps, molluscicides) associated with control of the snails; and • loss of the opportunity to grow papaya in certain locations due to the crop’s susceptibility to the giant African snail. 2

Giant African land snails often are large enough to be seen easily, so they can be collected by hand. It is advised to wear gloves, however, or to use an implement to pick up the snails because they can pose a serious health risk to humans. If you do collect snails, seal them in a plastic bag and then place the bag in a bucket or plastic container.
Contact FDACS at 888-397-1517 and a specialist will come to collect and properly dispose of them.


Further Reading
Giant African Snails: A Foreign Threat to U.S Agriculture from the United States Department of Agriculture pdf
Giant African Land Snail in Florida from the University of Florida pdf
Giant African Snails from UF/IFAS Extension Solutions for Your Life ext. link
Injuries Caused by the Giant African Snail to Papaya from the University of Hawaii at Manoa pdf 7 pages



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Bibliography

1 Capinera, John L. "Giant African Land Snail." edis.ifas.ufl.edu. This document is ENY-512 (IN904), one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Publication date Oct. 2011. Reviewed Aug. 2014. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
2 Nelson, Scot. "Injuries Caused by the Giant African Snail to Papaya." ctahr.hawaii.edu. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resouces, University of Hawai'i at Manoa. June 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.

Photographs

Fig. 1,2 Nelson, Scot C. Papaya (Carica papaya): Giant African snail (Achatina fulica). 2017. Pest and Disease Image Gallery. University of Hawaii. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-SA 2.0). Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
Fig. 3,4,6 Nelson, Scot C. Africans snail (Achatina fulica) on papaya. 2006. Pest and Disease Image Gallery. University of Hawaii. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-SA 2.0). Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
Fig. 5,7,8,11 Nelson, Scot C. African snail (Achatina fulica) feeding injury to a papaya stem. 2006. Pest and Disease Image Gallery. University of Hawaii. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-SA 2.0). Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
Fig. 9 Nelson, Scot C. African snails (Achatina fulica) and their feeding injury to papaya fruits. The whitish mycelium is Phytophthora palmivora. 2006. Pest and Disease Image Gallery. University of Hawaii. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-SA 2.0). Web. 21 Feb. 2017.
Fig. 10 Nelson, Scot C. African snail (Achatina fulica) eggs at the base of a papaya stem. 2006. Pest and Disease Image Gallery. University of Hawaii. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-SA 2.0). Web. 20 Feb. 2017.

Published 20 Feb. 2017 LR
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