Invasive snails foundNov 1st, 2010 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: news
Plaquemines Parish authorities say they have found an exotic type of aquatic snail in parish waters and are urging residents to help eliminate the invasive species.
“We should not tolerate another invasive species which can damage our ecosystem. It is important that we, as a community, act quickly,” said Parish President Billy Nungesser.
Authorities are urging anyone who sees an apple snail to place it in a plastic bag and throw it in the garbage. The snails can be identified by their large golden-yellow to dark-brown shells. They range from two to four inches across, and the largest ones can reach six inches in diameter.
The apple snails, which are native to South America, have been found in canals and ditches along Barriere Road in Belle Chasse and as far south as Jesuit Bend.
According to officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, apple snails first appeared in Louisiana in 2006 in Gretna and have since been found in Plaquemines Parish and the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary.
State officials have speculated that the snails were likely released into the wild by aquarium owners.
Like most other invasive species, the apple snails pose a threat to local ecosystems because of their size and ability to out compete native species for food. The potential lack of plant material—consumed by the apple snails—could damage the ecosystem of fish and other aquatic life, LDWF officials say.
A telltale sign of the snail is the bright pink cluster of eggs it leaves behind. Apple snails lay their eggs above the water line. The clusters of 200-600 eggs should be smashed, then scraped off the foundation into the body of water.
Anyone with questions regarding apple snails or if anyone has seen them beyond the Belle Chasse area in Plaquemines Parish, please call the Plaquemines Parish Health Department at 504.394.3510.