This species is an introduced species and is considered to be one of the worst invaders in recent time in the southeast Asian region. It has mostly been introduced in this region as a food item (Cowie 2002). It has been found in Taiwan since between 1979 and 1981 (Cowie 2002), in Japan since 1981 (Fujio et al. 1991), in the Philippines since either 1980 or 1982 (Mochida 1991, Anderson 1993, Halwart 1994), in southern China since 1981 (Cowie 2005, Shan et al. 2009), and has also been introduced to Korea (probably 1986), Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia (1987), the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra (1989), Thailand (1989), Viet Nam (1988 or 1989) and Laos (1992) (Cowie 2002), as well as Hong Kong (Laup 1991), Cambodia (Cowie 1995), Singapore (Ng et al. 1993), Guam (Smith 1992, Eldredge 1994), Papua New Guinea (Laup 1991, Eldredge 1994), and Sri Lanka (Cowie 2005). The species has subsequently become a serious rice pest in much of the region - in the Philippines it is considered the number one rice pest and has caused huge economic losses (Cowie 2005).The species has also been introduced to North America; into canals and ditches in southeast Florida (Thompson 1997, 1999), Texas, central Ohio (Ghesquiere 2001), North Carolina, Virginia (United States Geological Survey 2011), the Dominican Republic (Cowie 2005), Georgia (NatureServe 2009), Langan Park and Three Mile Creek in Mobile, Alabama (D. Shelton pers. comm. in United States Geological Survey 2011), a pond bordering the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta in Baldwin County, Alabama (United States Geological Survey 2011), Lake Miramar in San Diego County, California, a pond near Yuma, Arizona (United States Geological Survey 2011), and in Hawaii (Tran et al. 2008) first on Maui in 1989, followed by Lanai (Cowie 1996) and all of the main islands including Kaua'i, O'ahu, Molokai'i, Lana'i, Maui, Hawai'i (Cowie et al. 2007). In Hawaii the species has become widespread and is a major taro pest (Cowie 2005).
occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) This species is wide ranging in South America.
Often confused with another species that has been introduced outside of its native range, P. insularum. Also confused with a number of other closely related species including, P. lineata, P. figulina, and P. dolioides.
Habitat and Ecology
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Pomacea canaliculata is primarily macrophytophagous, but is also known to be a voracious consumer of variety of animals, including other snails. When kept in captivity they are known to consume nearly all plant matter kept in the aquarium and will even prey upon their own young.
In the invaded range they are major consumers of macrophytes often altering the ecosystem states and functions in invaded freshwater habitats.
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: > 300
Comments: It has been introduced into canals and ditches in southeast Florida (Thompson, 1997; 1999). Analysis of COI and ND6 mtDNA markers have confirmed the introduction of this species in Hawaii (Tran et al., 2008) first on Maui (1989) and subsequently on Lanai (Koele golf course) (Cowie, 1996) and latger all main islands including Kaua'i, O'ahu, Molokai'i, Lana'i, Maui, Hawai'i (Cowie et al., 2007).
Life History and Behavior
All ampullariids (apple snails) are dioecious (i.e. have separate sexes). Fertilization is internal with copulations lasting as long a 18 hours. During these copulations the male snail mounts the female's shell posteriorly and crawls up the body whorl (the largest part of the shell) until he reaches the edge of the shell. He then inserts the muscular penis sheath into the pallial cavity of the female. Once the male has inserted the sheath into the pallial cavity of the female, it then extrudes its thin, whip-like penis through the penis sheath canal and inserts it into the females genital opening. It has been reported that the male uses this sheath to secure himself to the female during lengthy copulations, during which the female may continue to move around and even feed. Additionally, the glands of the sheath may be involved in lubrication, adhesion and nuptial feeding.
Like many snails, female apple snails may store sperm for weeks to months, allowing them to produce fertilized eggs even in the absence of a male partner.
Mating is seasonal and triggered by rainfall and temperature. In its native range of Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay P. canaliculata breeds only in the warm summer months. However, outside of their native range, once released from such seasonal fluctuations, P. canaliculata may reproduce year round, particularly in artificial habitats like rice paddies and taro patches.
In Pomacea canaliculata, as in most of the species in the genus Pomacea, females deposit fertilized eggs above the water on emergent vegetation. The developing embryos are surrounded by bright pink/red perivitellins (the major component of the egg yolk) and are encased in a calcareoius shell. The perivitellins are thought to be primarily nutritive, but also serve a protective function, as the pigments block UV light. The calcareous casing prevents desiccation, but remains semi-permeable to allow oxygen penetration. In what seems somewhat odd for a freshwater snail, if the eggs are submerged in water for extended periods the embryos will die. Egg clutches may contain as many as 500 or more eggs. However, this is a small number when compared to the 1000's of eggs often deposited by P. insularum, a closely related species.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Pomacea canaliculata
There are 93 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank. Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species. See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pomacea canaliculata
Public Records: 93
Specimens with Barcodes: 100
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Within the invasive range for this species, measures may needed locally to control this species, as it is impacting other species within the range.
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Reasons: This species is wide ranging in South America.
Within the invasive range, measures may needed locally to control this species, as it is impacting other species within the range.
This species has a NatureServe Global Heritage ranking of G5 - Secure (NatureServe 2009) due to its wide distribution in both its native and introduced range.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Pomacea canaliculata, common name the channeled applesnail, is a species of large freshwater snail with gills and an operculum, an aquatic gastropod mollusk in the family Ampullariidae, the apple snails. South American in origin, this species is considered to be in the top 100 of the "World's Worst Invasive Alien Species".
The shells of these applesnails are globular in shape. Normal coloration typically includes bands of brown, black, and yellowish-tan; color patterns are extremely variable. Albino and gold color variations exist.
The size of the shell is up to 150 mm in length.
The native distribution of P. canaliculata is basically tropical and subtropical, including Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil. The southernmost record for the species is Paso de las Piedras reservoir, south of the Buenos Aires province, Argentina.
This species also occurs in the United States, where the initial introductions were probably from aquarium release, aka "aquarium dumping". The non-indigenous distribution includes: Lake Wawasee in Kosciusko County, Indiana; Langan Park and Three Mile Creek in Mobile, Alabama; a pond bordering the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta in Baldwin County, Alabama; Little Wekiva River, Orlando, Florida; a lake near Jacksonville, Florida; Lake Mirimar in San Diego County, California; and a pond near Yuma, Arizona. Established populations exist in California and Hawaii.
This species lives in freshwater habitats.
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Pomacea canaliculata is extremely polyphagous, feeding on vegetal (primarily macrophytophagous, feeding on floating or submersed higher plants), detrital, and animal matter. Diet may vary with age, with younger smaller individuals feeding on algae and detritus, and older, bigger (15mm and above) individuals later shifting to higher plants.
In temperate climates, the egg-laying period of this species extends from early spring to early fall. while in tropical areas reproduction is continuous. The duration of the reproductive period of P. canaliculata decreases with latitude, to a minimum of six months in the southern limit of its natural distribution.
This species is edible. In China and Southeast Asia, consumption of raw or undercooked snails of Pomacea canaliculata and other snails is the primary route of infection with Angiostrongylus cantonensis causing angiostrongyliasis.
In Northeast Thailand, these snails are collected and consumed. They are picked by hand or with a handnet from canals, swamps, ponds and flooded rice paddy fields during the rainy season. During the dry season when these snails are concealed under dried mud, collectors use a spade to scrape the mud in order to find them. The snails are usually collected by women and children. After collection, the snails are cleaned and parboiled. They are then taken out of their shells, cut, and cleaned in salted water. After rinsing with water, they are mixed with roasted rice, dried chili, lime juice, and fish sauce, and then eaten.
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