Giant African Snail

Lissachatina fulica

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What is it?

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What is it? What does it do? Where is it?

Identification and Quarantine Information
Detailed Biological Information | Control and Impacts


What is it?

Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) on taro in Samoa. (Photo: J. Daniells)

A very large snail that eats numerous vegetable and ornamental species, and is a major quarantine threat to countries not yet infested. It is also the carrier of the rat lungworm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis.

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What does it do?

Taro and other edible aroids, for instance, Alocasia, the giant taro, do not appear to be a preferred food plant from experiences in Pacific Island countries. Damage is related to population level: when high, soon after introduction, plants may be severely defoliated. Often the leaves are “skeletonised”, with only the veins remaining. When initial populations decline, and there are other plants available, taro is rarely eaten. Brassica species are favoured foods.

There is a review of the snail on the Crop Protection Compendium (CAB International, 2006). APHIS USDA gives a description and notes on the distribution, life history and significance, and there are photographs on Ecoport. SPC has produced an extension leaflet SPC Pest Advisory Leaflet (1999).

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Where is it?

Lissachatina fulica has been recorded feeding on taro (Colocasia sp.) in:

Lissachatina fulica has been recorded feeding on other host plants in:

Distribution information has been taken directly from the Pacific Islands Pest List Database (www.spc.int:8088/pld/index.jsp) and other texts as cited. Updated: 13/04/2007.

A list of the countries where the snail has been reported is provided in the Crop Protection Compendium (CAB International, 2006).

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Fact Sheet written by: Sarlesh Kumar, edited by Dr. Grahame Jackson.