Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR)

Achatina fulica
(Achatinidae)

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Species description or overview Taxonomy & nomenclature Impacts Host/vector of these species Control methods Human health issues
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HEAR CLOSING      HEAR CLOSING      HEAR CLOSING

A message from Dr. David Duffy, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit (PCSU), University of Hawaii (posted 05 November 2012):

Because of a lack of funds, HEAR (www.hear.org) may close as soon as December 15, although there may be enough funds to extend it until February 15. This will mean several things. The web site will be placed on a new server although it is not clear who will pay for the server or for transitioning the site. HEAR data will not be updated. The Pacific Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) (http://www.hear.org/pier/abtproj.htm) site will also become frozen, as will numerous books, reports and papers (http://www.hear.org/). As software evolves we will likely lose the ability to access the data. The various list servers will need new owners, otherwise moderated lists will cease to function altogether, while other lists will not be able to add or delete members. The photo collection (http://www.hear.org/starr/images/?o=plants) will remain accessible, but only through a third party site that will charge for access.

I should point out that we have already lost the original homes of both the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) and Pacific Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) although they have found temporary refuges. Together with HEAR, they represent the corporate memory both here in Hawaii and across the Pacific of efforts to sustain our natural ecosystems and agriculture against problems caused by species alien to the islands. HEAR also serves as the glue that holds the community together, providing information and facilitating communication. I just hope hindsight is kind to this decision.

PLEASE SEND YOUR COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS TO webmaster@hear.org

Let us know if you have suggestions for additional references to add to this page.

Achatina fulica is native to East Africa. 

Species description or overview

Giant African snail species profile (USDA)
Extensive links for the giant African snail (Achatina fulica), video, and citation database, are provided by the National Invasive Species Information Center.

Achatina fulica description and ecology from GISD (ISSG)
A species description and information about the ecology of Achatina fulica as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


Taxonomy & nomenclature

Achatina fulica information from ITIS
The Integrated Taxonomic Information System ITIS provides authoritative taxonomic information on Achatina fulica, as well as other plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.


Impacts

Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy (2000) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The status of invasive plants, vertebrates, arthropods, molluscs, and crustaceans, and options for a regional invasive species strategy for the South Pacific are presented in this series of articles from the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, 2000.

Giant African snails can carry Angiostrongylus cantonensis parasite
The Center for Disease Control provides information about the Giant African snails carrying the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis.

Giant African snail species profile (USDA)
Extensive links for the giant African snail (Achatina fulica), video, and citation database, are provided by the National Invasive Species Information Center.

Achatina fulica impact information from GISD (ISSG)
Impact information regarding Achatina fulica as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


Host/vector of these species

Changing epidemiology of Angiostrongyliasis cantonensis in Okinawa prefecture, Japan View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format  new posting 
Okinawa Prefecture experienced an outbreak of angiostrongyliasis in January of2000 (I). The origin ofthe infection's outbreak could not be identified. We examined the past records of Angiostrongylus eantonensis (Ae) infection outbreaks and investigated the current distribution of Ae's intermediate and paratenic hosts with infective third-stage larvae in Okinawa. In order to find the infective larvae of Ae in the giant African snail, Achatina fulica, the pallial organ (lung) of the snail was compressed between two glass plates and examined under a microscope (2) (Figs. lA, IB). In other host animals, the whole body was digested in artificial gastric juice (l% pepsin/l% Hel), and the digested material was allowed to sediment; the sediment thus formed was then examined microscopically. In particular, albino rats were given larvae from Platydemus manokwari and Parmarion martensi orally with the specimen, and identification was made based on the morphology of the adult Ae recovered at 59 days post-inoculation.


Control methods

Achatina fulica management information from GISD (ISSG)
Management information for Achatina fulica as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


Human health issues

Distribution of Parmarion cf. martensi (Pulmonata: Helicarionidae), a new semi-slug pest on Hawaii Island, and its potential as a vector for human angiostrongyliasis View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format  new posting 
The semi-slug Parmarion cf. martensi Simroth, 1893, was first discovered on Oahu, Hawaii, in 1996 and then on the island of Hawaii in 2004. This species, which is probably native to Southeast Asia, is abundant in eastern Hawaii Island, reportedly displacing the Cuban slug, Veronicella cubensis (Pfeiffer, 1840), in some areas. A survey in July-August 2005 found P. cf. martensi primarily in the lower Puna area of Hawaii Island, with an isolated population in Kailua-Kona (western Hawaii Island). It is now established in commercial papaya plantations, and survey participants reported it as a pest of lettuce and papaya in home gardens. Survey respondents considered P. cf. martensi a pest also because of its tendency to climb on structures where it deposits its feces and because of its potential to transmit disease. Individuals of this species were found to carry large numbers of infective third-stage larvae of the nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis (Chen, 1935), the causative agent of human angiostrongyliasis and the most common cause of human eosinophilic meningoencephalitis. Using a newly developed polymerase chain reaction test, 77.5% of P. cf. martensi collected at survey sites were found infected with A. cantonensis, compared with 24.3% of V. cubensis sampled from the same areas. The transmission potential of this species may be higher than that for other slugs and snails in Hawaii because of the high prevalence of infection, worm burdens, and its greater association with human habitations, increasing the possibility of human-mollusk interactions.

Best on-farm food safety practices: Reducing risks associated with rat lungworm infection and human eosinophilic meningitis View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format  new posting 
Recent cases of eosinophilic meningitis have drawn attention to a foodborne parasitic infection that occurs in Hawaii, the Pacific Islands, southern and eastern Asia, and elsewhere. In late 2008, the Hawaii Department of Health reported that four people on the island of Hawaii were diagnosed with eosinophilic meningitis, secondary to rat lungworm infection. They may have been infected after eating fresh produce grown in the region that was contaminated with snails or slugs infected with the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis. Hawaii also experienced a cluster of five infections by this pathogen from November 2004 to January 2005 (Hochberg et al. 2007). According to the Hawaii Department of Health, reports of severe infections are uncommon. However, anecdotal evidence from a group of workshop attendees in the Puna district on Hawaii in January 2009 put the incidence rate much higher. Although reporting appears to lag behind actual disease incidence rate, the threat to residents and visitors is low. Due to the possible severity of the symptoms, it is important to practice preventive measures in your home garden or commercial farm, as well as in your kitchen.

Changing epidemiology of Angiostrongyliasis cantonensis in Okinawa prefecture, Japan View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format  new posting 
Okinawa Prefecture experienced an outbreak of angiostrongyliasis in January of2000 (I). The origin ofthe infection's outbreak could not be identified. We examined the past records of Angiostrongylus eantonensis (Ae) infection outbreaks and investigated the current distribution of Ae's intermediate and paratenic hosts with infective third-stage larvae in Okinawa. In order to find the infective larvae of Ae in the giant African snail, Achatina fulica, the pallial organ (lung) of the snail was compressed between two glass plates and examined under a microscope (2) (Figs. lA, IB). In other host animals, the whole body was digested in artificial gastric juice (l% pepsin/l% Hel), and the digested material was allowed to sediment; the sediment thus formed was then examined microscopically. In particular, albino rats were given larvae from Platydemus manokwari and Parmarion martensi orally with the specimen, and identification was made based on the morphology of the adult Ae recovered at 59 days post-inoculation.


Images

Images of the giant African snail (Achatina fulica)
Links to several ecosystem management programs in the islands.


Distribution

Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy (2000) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The status of invasive plants, vertebrates, arthropods, molluscs, and crustaceans, and options for a regional invasive species strategy for the South Pacific are presented in this series of articles from the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, 2000.

Giant African snail species profile (USDA)
Extensive links for the giant African snail (Achatina fulica), video, and citation database, are provided by the National Invasive Species Information Center.

Achatina fulica worldwide distribution from GISD (ISSG)
Worldwide distribution information about Achatina fulica is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


Books

Turning the tide: The eradication of invasive species (proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives)
Veitch, C.R. and M.N. Clout (eds.) . 2002. Turning the tide: The eradication of invasive species (proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives). IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. vii + 414pp. ISBN: 2-8317-0682-3.


Full-text articles

An outbreak of eosinophilic meningitis caused by Angiostrongylus cantonensis in travelers returning from the Caribbean  new posting 
A rat lungworm disease outbreak among 12 travelers was associated with consumption of Caesar salad in Jamaica (New England J. Medicine, 2/28/2002).

Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy
South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP). Sherley, Greg (ed.) . 2000. Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy. Apia, Samoa: South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. ISBN: 982-04-0214-X.

Turning the tide: The eradication of invasive species (proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives)
Veitch, C.R. and M.N. Clout (eds.) . 2002. Turning the tide: The eradication of invasive species (proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives). IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. vii + 414pp. ISBN: 2-8317-0682-3.

Changing epidemiology of Angiostrongyliasis cantonensis in Okinawa prefecture, Japan View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format  new posting 
Okinawa Prefecture experienced an outbreak of angiostrongyliasis in January of2000 (I). The origin ofthe infection's outbreak could not be identified. We examined the past records of Angiostrongylus eantonensis (Ae) infection outbreaks and investigated the current distribution of Ae's intermediate and paratenic hosts with infective third-stage larvae in Okinawa. In order to find the infective larvae of Ae in the giant African snail, Achatina fulica, the pallial organ (lung) of the snail was compressed between two glass plates and examined under a microscope (2) (Figs. lA, IB). In other host animals, the whole body was digested in artificial gastric juice (l% pepsin/l% Hel), and the digested material was allowed to sediment; the sediment thus formed was then examined microscopically. In particular, albino rats were given larvae from Platydemus manokwari and Parmarion martensi orally with the specimen, and identification was made based on the morphology of the adult Ae recovered at 59 days post-inoculation.


Experts

Achatina fulica contacts from GISD (ISSG)
Contact information for experts on Achatina fulica as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


Other resources

USDA African snails page
USDA provides information about African snails.

USDA importation info regarding snails and slugs
AntWeb

Achatina fulica references from GISD (ISSG)
References regarding Achatina fulica as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


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The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR) is currently funded by grants from the Hau'oli Mau Loa Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service with support from PCSU (UH Manoa). Historically, HEAR has also received funding and/or support from the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), PIERC (USGS), the USFWS, HCSU (UH Hilo), and HALE (NPS).

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