Why is it a problem?
Golden apple snails are listed among the world’s 100 worst invasive species (Lowe et al, 2000). This is because of the devastating effect they have on biodiversity in affected areas, as well as the impact it has on rice crops and therefore the livelihoods of those who depend on rice crops for food and income.
It is also noted that the invasive snail is an important vector for various parasites, such as the nematode Angiostrongyulus cantonensis, which has been linked to the cause of human eosinophilic meningitis (Lv et al, 2011; Yang et al, 2013). This brings to light a serious human health risk in infested areas.
- Devastates rice crops
- Vector for parasites that are linked to meningitis
- Reduces native biodiversity
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
What’s the solution?
Eradication of invasive snails is generally extremely difficult (Cowie, 2011) and therefore emphasis is put on prevention of spread. Quarantine restrictions have been adopted and officials often end up mistaking native snails for golden apple snail.
Snails can be manually removed as an eradication method, although this is rarely effective. Therefore smallholder farmers in infested areas have adopted methods such as burning or planting other non-rice crops in the off seasons to try and reduce the number of snails.