|Five views of a shell of Pomacea canaliculata, Shell diameter 8 cm|
informal group Architaenioglossa
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; Miramar Reservoir in San Diego County, California; and a pond near Yuma, Arizona. Established populations exist in California and Hawaii.
The species has been found in Chile since 2009 with a restricted distribution.
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. Pomacea canaliculata constitutes one of the three predominant freshwater snails found in Chinese markets. 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 Isan, Thailand these snails are collected and consumed. They are picked by hand or with a hand-net from canals, swamps, ponds, and flooded 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 pepper, lime juice, and fish sauce, and then eaten.
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- Robert H. Cowie & & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG). (Last Modified: Wednesday, 13 April 2005) Global Invasive Species Database, 2008. Pomacea canaliculata. Available from: http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=135&fr=1&sts=sss, accessed 27 October 2008.
- Levin. 2006. Statewide strategic control plan for apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata) in Hawaii
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