Details of this species in Brazil
Source: Thiengo et al. 2007
Arrival Date: 1980s
Species Notes for this Location:
The introduction of A. fulica to Brazil occurred in 1988 where specimens, probably brought from Indonesia, were sold at an agricultural fair in the state of Parana, southern Brazil (Teles & Fontes 2002, in Thiengo et al. 2007). The potential profits to be generated by cultivation of the species were announced widely in the media. However, according to Brazilian law, introduction of alien species for cultivation must be done only with the approval of the relevant environmental agency, which at that time was the Instituto Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento Florestal (IBDF) (now the Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renova´ veis, IBAMA, the Brazilian Environment Institute). This approval was apparently not obtained (Thiengo et al. 2007) and yet this land snail was illegally introduced into Brazil as a substitute species for the European escargot (edible snail) (de Paiva Barcante et al. 2005). Brazilians do not habitually eat escargot and even those who are accustomed to eating the European escargot (Helix pomatia Linnaeus, 1758) would not pay high prices for a substitute of uncertain origin (Thiengo et al. 2007). The result was that thousands of people ended up with millions of snails in backyard facilities requiring enormous upkeep; inevitably, most of them disposed of them by putting them in the garbage, discarding them on waste land and the edges of highways or throwing them into rivers (Thiengo et al. 2007). The disastrous result was widespread infestation of urban areas and large areas surrounding cities; garbage dumps became entirely infested (Thiengo et al. 2007). It invades gardens in residential areas and is also found in trees, on mulch and around the landfills (de Vasconcellos et al. 2001).
The introduction of A. fulica in Brazil is described as explosive (Graeff-Teixeira 2007). The first occurrence of A. fulica in Brazil was described in the state of São Paulo in April 1996, next to a rural school (Teles et al., 1997, in Albuquerque et al. 2008). Later, Paiva (2001) noted that A. fulica was widely distributed in Brazil and has been found at the states of Amazonas, Bahia, Espirito Santo, Goiás, Maranhão, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraíba, Paraná, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio de Janeiro, Rondônia, Santa Catarina and São Paulo. The snail is reportedly widespread in at least 23 out of 26 Brazilian states and Brasília, including the Amazonian region and natural reserves (Thiengo et al. 2008).
Using Maxent software to model the potential distribution of A. fulica Borrero and colleagues (2009) concluded that several areas in western Brazil and southeastern Peru are at risk of establishment by A. fulica. Also French Guiana, Surinam and to some extent Guyana are vulnerable to colonisation and establishment (Borrero et al. 2009).
Management Notes for this Location:
Because of its now wide distribution and the great size of Brazil, it is impossible to eradicate A. fulica. However, local control remains possible, although it will entail great financial and labor costs (Thiengo et al. 2007). The cost of the eradication of A. fulica can be very expensive. In the USA, the elimination of this pest varied from USD 60 000 to USD 700 000 (Muniappan 1987, Smith & Fowler 2003, in Albuquerque et al. 2008). According to Lauro de Freitas City Hall, lot clearance cost is around USD 3 300 per month (Albuquerque et al. 2008). Albuquerque and colleagues (2008) believe that scrub clearance may represent a good and inexpensive solution to eradicate this pest on a small scale in Brazil. José de Pontes developed a soluble natural non-biocide that is able to attract and exterminate A. fulica that are within a 30 meter distance from the application area.
In 2001 the Sociedade Brasileiro de Malacologia (Brasilian Malacological Society) presented recommendations for the control of A. fulica to the Ministerio da Agricultura e do Abastecimento (MAPA). In 2003, IBAMA (the Brazilian Environment Institute) and MAPA published documents in which cultivation and marketing of A. fulica was considered inadvisable. In 2003 the municipality of Atibaia, Sao Paulo state, enacted a law that forbids rearing, purchase or selling of A. fulica. A similar law was passed in 2004 applying to the entire state of Sao Paulo. In 2005 IBAMA issued Instrucao Normativa no. 73, which forbids rearing of and commerce in A. fulica in Brazil. In 2005 the Ministerio do Meio Ambiente organized in Brasilia the “First
National Symposium on Exotic and Invasive Species”, during which the situation regarding A. fulica in Brazil was discussed (Thiengo et al. 2006).
A national plan for management and control of A. fulica was created by IBAMA and actions under this plan have been implemented since the beginning of 2004. The control method adopted is physical control: collection and destruction of snails and eggs from infested sites, through organised campaigns involving technical staff from local IBAMA and health service offices, local people, students, and teachers. After collection, the snails are crushed using road rolling machinery, put into 2 m ditches, covered with kaolin, and then covered with earth. In Parnamirim, state of Rio Grande do Norte, after five months of efforts, approximately 4000 kg of snails were collected and destroyed, resulting in a significant reduction in the numbers of snails found in the urban part of the municipality (Faraco, unpublished). In addition similar programs have been implemented in Manaus, state of Amazonas, six municipalities in the state of Sao Paulo, two in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and two in the state of Mato Grosso (Thiengo et al. 2007).
Agricultural: Achatina fulica occurs in dense populations in urban areas where it is a pest in ornamental gardens, vegetable gardens and small-scale agriculture. In rural regions A. fulica is present especially in vegetable gardens, small-scale plantations, or in abandoned agricultural areas, where the snails attack many crops to differing degrees (Thiengo et al. 2007). Those crop families most seriously affected in Brazil are the following: Acanthacea (Hemigraphis colorata, hera-roxa; Jacobinia coccinea), Araceae (Xanthosoma maffafa, boa), Asteraceae (Chicorium intybus, wild chicory; Lactuca sativa, lettuce), Cactaceae (Carica papaya, papaya), Compositae (Spilanthes acmella), Commelinaceae (Ipomoea batatas, sweet potato), Cruciferae (Brassica oleracea var. acephala, collard greens), (Brassica oleracea var. italica, broccoli; Brassica oleracea var. capitata, cabbage), Raphanus sativus, radish), Cucurbitacea (Cucurbita spp., pumpkin; Dioscorea bulbifera, yams), Euphorbiaceae (Lycopersicum esculentum, tomato; Manihot esculenta, cassava), Lamiaceae (Malpighia spp.), Malpighiaceae (Hybiscus spp.), Moraceae (Musa spp., banana), Musaceae (Ipomopsis spp.), Orchidacea (Arachis hipogaea peanut), Papilionaceae (Phaseolus vulgaris, bean), Rutaceae (Paulinia cupana, guarana), Sapotaceae (Capsicum annuum, bell pepper) and Umbelliferae (Boehmeria nivea) (Thiengo et al. 2007). Albuquerque and colleagues (2008) found A. fulica feeding on bull feces.
Competition: Of concern is the damage caused to the environment, and potential competition with native terrestrial molluscs (Thiengo et al. 2007). Brasil has many large native snail species (eg: Megalobulimulus spp., Orthalicus spp., Thaumastus spp.) that superficially resemble A. fulica. These species may be vulnerable to competition with A. fulica, especially because they lay clutches of few eggs (Jurberg et al. 1988; Salgado Unpub., in Thiengo et al. 2007), whereas A. fulica lays clutches of up to 400 eggs (Raut and Barker 2002).
Ecosystem change: Achatina fulica threatens wetland ecosystems in Pantanal. At some locations (chapadas and planaltos) A. fulica is a problem, but another invasive mollusc, Limnoperna fortunei (Bivalvia, Mytilidae) introduced from Asia is considered an even bigger problem in the wetland areas (C. Callil, pers. comm.).
Human health: Many infections are spread by fresh water and terrestrial snails (Teles et al. 1997, Carvalho et al. 2003, in Albuquerque et al. 2008). Albuquerque and colleagues believe that A. fulica could represent a threat to human health and for this reason must be controlled or eradicated. The occurrence of A. fulica in new areas is particularly important to public health since it is one of the intermediate hosts of Angiostrongylus spp., a nematode that parasitises domestic animals and man causing an important emerging zoonosis (de Paiva Barcante et al. 2005). Thiengoa and colleagues (2008) provide the first report in Brazil of the development of A. abstrusus infective larvae in A. fulica evidencing the veterinary importance of this mollusc in the transmission of A. abstrusus to domestic cats. The mollusc is an important host for Angiostrongylus cantonensis, which occurs in Asia and the Pacific Islands and is a causative agent for eosinophilic meningoencephalitis (Graeff-Teixeira 2007). In the Americas there is another metastrongylid worm, A. costaricensis, that causes abdominal disease and may also be transmitted by A. fulica (Graeff-Teixeira 2007). Although both infections may occur in focal outbreaks and with low morbidity, very severe complicated clinical courses pose a challenge for diagnosis and treatment (Graeff-Teixeira 2007). However, data presented by Neuhauss and colleagues (2007) do not support a significant concern about the possibility of Angiostrongylus spp. transmission: parasitic burden and recovery rate of inocula in A. fulica were extremely low.
Human nuisance: Populations of introduced Achatina fulica may reach enormous densities, to the extent that they crawl up the walls of houses in great numbers, make walking on sidewalks difficult without treading on them, and there have even been reports of cars skidding on massed crushed snails on roads (Mead 1961, in Thiengo et al. 2007).
Last Modified: 9/03/2010 3:53:01 p.m.