An African land snail Limicolaria flammea has been discovered by researchers in six locations in Singapore, perhaps heralding a new invasion of alien land snails in Southeast Asia. Although snails may seem largely innocuous creatures, past invasions have resulted in agricultural and economic damage. The global invasion of the giant African land snail (Achatina fulica) has been called one of the world’s top 100 worst alien species. Writing in mongabay.com’s open access journal Tropical Conservation Science, researchers examine the issue and provide suggestions as to how Singapore authorities can quickly rid the nation of Limicolaria flammea.
“The spread of Limicolaria flammea is potentially damaging to the multi-billion dollar horticultural industry in Singapore, as well as a major threat to agricultural productivity in neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia,” the authors write.
Native to West Africa, Limicolaria flammea, has been found in Sinapore. Photo by: S.K. Tan.
First discovered in 2006, the researchers believe that the species hitchhiked its way into the country on commercial African plants. The species has managed to establish a foothold in parts.
“Individuals of this alien species were initially found in disturbed areas (e.g., wayside vegetation in industrial areas and plant nurseries), but they do not appear confined to such habitats—several individuals have actually been observed in secondary forests,” the authors explain
The researchers suggest that officials eradicate Limicolaria flammea by hand. In addition the authors suggest that authorities investigate what plant or plants the snails are hitchhiking on.
“If our suggested preventive and control measures are not implemented, the ecological and economic damages caused by Limicolaria flammea in tropical Asia could be costly, and eradication almost impossible,” the authors conclude.
CITATION: Tan, S. K. and Clements, R. G. 2011. Limicolaria flammea (Müller, 1774), another potentially invasive African land snail in tropical Asia. Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 4 (1):97-102.
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