Originally from South America, the apple snail was introduced to parts of southeast Asia as a source of food for human consumption. The market for the snail meat never fully developed, however, and the snails escaped cultivation, multiplied, and became a serious rice crop pest. Here in the United States, these large aquatic freshwater snails were imported by the aquarium industry for sale as pets. Unfortunately, many people dump the contents of their aquarium in local lakes or streams when they are no longer wanted. This has led to the introduction of many invasive species, and the apple snail is no exception. Its presence was reported in Florida and Texas as early as 2000, and in 2006 the snail was found in a drainage canal near Gretna, LA. Since then, other sightings have been reported from Plaquemines and Terrebonne Parishes.
Common Name(s): Apple Snail, Island Apple Snail, Giant Peruvian Apple Snail, South American Apple Snail, Mystery Snail
Date of Introduction to the United States: 2000
Place of Origin: Central and South America
Method of Introduction: Accidental through aquaria releases
Problem(s): Voracious eaters of soft vegetation, causing devastating effects on crops such as rice.
CurrentRange: Texas, California, Florida, North Carolina, and Louisiana
Control Methods: Physical removal of adult snails and bright pink egg clusters is currently the only dependable control.
Source: Center for Bioenvironmental Research at Tulane