Pomacea canaliculata (Lamarck, 1822)
Golden apple snail
A comparatively large freshwater snail, up to 100 mm in length. In shape, golden apple snails are generally globose, but the size and appearance of the shell is highly variable. Shell colour varies from yellow and green to brown with or without dark bands. The egg colour is bright orange. The golden apple snail is conchologically almost indistinguishable from the Island apple snail.
Other Similar Species
Golden apple snails are moderately amphibious animals, they live submerged but also leave the water in search for fresh plants. The fecundity of the Golden apple snail is extremely high, the eggs are laid in clutches on emergent structures. Longevity of the golden apple snail is largely temperature-dependent and can reach 5 years.
The golden apple snail is native from South America. It has spread to North America and Southeast-Asia and can now be found in China, Indonesia and Thailand. It is the most widespread introduced species of apple snails in Asia.
The golden apple snail inhabits slow-moving or stagnant waters in tropical and subtropical areas and lives in the water irrigation system of rice fields. It is able to colonize small water bodies and feeds on a large range of submerged and emerged aquatic plants.
Crops at Risk
The golden apple snail eats almost all types of plants. Impacts are mainly on rice and taro agriculture worldwide.
The golden apple snail destroys the young stems and leaves of rice plants.
Impact and Severity
In its natural range the golden apple snail is considered as harmless, where it has been introduced, it is a serious agricultural pest of wetland crops. The snail densities may reach up to 150 m2, one animal could consume more than 20 rice seedlings per day.
Prevention and Control
Cultural techniques like water depth management and the use of older seedlings as well as handpicking of eggs and snails of the golden apple snail are common practices.
Golden apple snails are eaten by a large number of predators, e.g., aquatic insects and crustaceans but also vertebrates like birds, turtles and fishes.