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Golden Apple Snail

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 4 months ago

 Golden Apple Snail



Description and Rationale


The Pomacea Canaliculata is a small and golden snail. It is called “Golden Apple Snail”, and it is also known as “Golden Kuhol”. In the Philippines, it was introduced between 1982 and 1984. Golden apple snails become a serious problem for farmers because it eats crops and plants in these days in the Philippines.
Where does it come from? What is the Golden apple snail’s impact on the local ecology? What is its position in a food chain? Is it predator of primary consumers? How is its presence affecting the people’s livelihoods that depend of the resources of the soil and crops? How does it come to the Philippines? Why does it become a huge population in the Philippines?
Might there be a way to reduce the number of Golden Apple Snail? Or might there be another way to use Golden Apple Snails? Researchers in the Philippines have said that Golden Apple Snails have a virus, which can make people have a pest. Since these snails have a virus, usually, in the farms of Philippines, farmers disregard these snails and try to remove them. If beneficial uses of the Golden Apple Snails are found, such as food, livestock feed, or other livelihood-enhancing ventures, what would be the best way to tell the beneficial ways to the people?
The major purpose of this project will be to research the biology and ecology of Golden Apple Snails through a search of Philippines agriculture websites which explains about Golden Apple Snails as well as interviews with people working in an infested farm with Golden Apple Snails. Also, Golden Apple Snail’s survivability and usefulness will be explored.
It is hoped that new uses of the dangerous Golden Apple Snail might help to improve the livelihood of the people who work in a field in the PhilippinesGolden Apple Snail.



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Common Names and Synonyms


Pomacea Canaliculata is also called the Golden Apple Snail, since its color is golden and the shell is as round as an apple. Other synonyms include Golden Miracle Snail, Argentine Snail.





Kingdom:                          Animalia (animal)
Phylum:                            Mollusca (have a soft body with a shell)
Class:                              Gastropoda (snails)
Order:                               Mesogastropada (middle snails)
Family:                             Ampullariidae (apple snails)
Genus:                             pomacea (large snails)

Species:                          Canaliculata (canal snails)

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Morphology and Physical Description





The Golden Apple Snail can grow to a minimum 10mm and a maximum 40mm. The Shell of a Golden Apple Snail is slightly brown; flesh is white to golden pink or orange. It has two feelers. It has eyes. But they hardly see the things but they can recognize whether it is light and dark.

The outer shall is like these pictures above this text. The color was gold but nowadays, it has changed a lot. Some of Golden Apple Snail has light-black shall. And the outer shall is as round as apple. .

It also has a respiratory system. It can breathe under water and on the ground. It uses a combination of a lung and a gill. Female golden apple snail gill is concave white it is convex in male



Getting Food


Golden apple snails eat on many ranges of plants such as algae, azolla, duck weed, water hyacinth, rice seedlings, and other plants, which have many leaves and succulent. They prefer young soft plant parts because it feeds by scraping plant surface with its rough tongue. They also feed on any dead animals. Surprisingly, they even eat other snail’s eggs. Their active time of feeding is usually during the night and at down in order to avoid people’s attention.

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In the Philippines, the sex ratio of Snails is 1:2.1(male:female). To lay the eggs, the adult female Canaliculata comes out of the water early in the morning or evening. It lays 25-500 bright pink eggs on rice sapling, rice field ground, or on the water surface. Usually, in the Philippines, Golden Apple Snails lay their eggs on the rice sapling. In the Philippines, within 10-15 days, they hatch the eggs.




Environmental Factors

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It usually lives in fresh water. It can even live in 50% salty water. It dies under 0 Celsius degrees.

It has a pest virus in their body. It is a well-known kind of snail that has a pest virus. Surprisingly, Golden apple snails are spread out of the whole Philippines right now. It is a great threatening to farmers.


Origin and Distribution


Many researchers said that Golden Apple Snails are from South America. Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay are the first place, which Golden Apple Snails have come from. And it was exported by South America countries to Asia. They thought that Golden Apple Snails were a great source of protein for farmers who only ate rice. So it was exported to Vietnam first, and transported to the Philippines.


Importance to People


In the Philippines, these snails are useless to people. No one loves them. Instead of giving advantages to human beings, they give human being a danger of Pest and threatening the rice field. Although they also have been introduced to several Asia countries, including Philippines, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, Golden Apple Snails are dangerous and useless in all of these countries.

However, it helps people in some ways. Actually, it is a great source of Protein. However, people can’t eat it safely because of Pest. People recognized that it is seriously dangerous to eat Golden Apple Snail because of pest disease. If people can cook Golden Apple Snails properly, it will be great food to the Philippines’ Farmers, who usually eat only Carbohydrates. It also can be used as a pet in an Aquarium. It has strong adaptation ability.


Survivability and Endangered Status


Golden Apple Snail’s life cycle is 60 days. Within 60 days, it grows and lays eggs and dies. Usually, it is a prey for red ants, ducks, rats and Human beings. In the Philippines, because of its survivability for various environment, and effect to environment, Golden Apple Snails are treated as an enemy of Farmers and people

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Potential Solutions


Golden apple snail is a kind of big problem in the Philippines. The numbers of Golden Apple snails are increasing and obviously it is still damaging the Philippines farmer’s life. It is pretty sure that Golden Apple snails are not necessary, but damaging the rice field. One of a farmer, named Tireso, said that especially, in rainy season, Golden apple snail (Kuhol in Tagalog) can be found in everywhere. If Golden Apple Snail attacks the rice field, the 2/3 in area will be destroyed. He said that the most terrible thing of Golden Apple snail’s attack is financial loss. Only 1/3 in 4m square will be remained and it is a kind of huge damage to normal farmer. Below are 2 possibilities to reduce or reuse the Golden Apple Snail with an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of for each


Possibility 1 Chemicals


From an interview with Tireso, there were many farmers using chemicals for removing Golden Apple Snails in the Philippines. Usually, they are using the chemicals named Pesticide. Pesticide is a great effective killer for Golden Apple Snails.



1. It is so effective for farmers to kill Golden Apple Snails, due to its strong poison to Snails. In one of Internet cite said that Pesticide can remove 90% of the Golden Apple Snails. Besides, because of the strong poison of Pesticide, farmers don’t need to wait the results of Pesticide. They can see the power of the Pesticide immediately. It affects to Golden Apple Snail so quickly.


2. In the Philippines, farmers are not actually educated well. Usually, men in the countryside area can’t even understand English. They even don’t know what viruses do the Golden Apple Snails. Farmers are just afraid of the Golden Apple Snails, but don’t know how to protect their crops and their body from the Golden Apple snails. However, using chemicals doesn’t need any pest knowledge or Golden Apple Snails. and also, using chemicals are so convenient. It is manufactured in the Philippines and farmers can purchase it easily.




1. Pesticide is a great poison even to Human-beings. Directly spraying this chemical is a really great danger to Human and other organisms in rice fields. Pesticide even kills the predators of Golden Apple Snails such as field rats, ducks, ants, and even Humans. After predator and competitor was removed, the re-growth of Golden Apple Snails would be increased again.


2. Farmers in the Philippines lived in quite poor situations. They are not actually rich and wealthy enough to afford the pesticides with their money.


3. Pesticide can even harm the soil and the crops. Pesticide can change the development of plants, soils and waters. Chemical can stop the growth of plants to encourage the plants as weeds.


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Possibility 2 Mallard duck


Recently, researchers found out that mallard ducks eat the Golden Apple Snails as a predator. Obviously, in a research, they found out that in a lake area where the mallard ducks were farmed, the number of Golden Apple Snail and other small organisms, which can damage the crops, was decreasing. Actually, except human, there had not been an exact predator of Golden Apple Snails. Because of this discovery, farmers in the Philippines found a hope to remove the Golden Apple Snails and protect their crops from them.




1. Actually, farmers in the Philippines have depended on Chemicals and hand-picking to remove the Golden Apple Snails. Of course, hand-picking way is not actually convenient. Using a chemical also is not quite good way because of the high price. However, mallard ducks are not so expensive for farmers and they are so useful and convenient to get rid of Golden Apple Snails.


2. For duck farmers, it is a wonderful way to supply food to their ducks. The snails are in short supply in duck farming. For rice farmers, the Golden Apple Snail is a useless and unworthy organism. However, for duck farmers or even for pig farmers, the snails, especially Golden Apple Snail, is a great source to feed their stocks. It is a win-win process between two or three different farmers.




1. According to the interview with Tireso, in the Philippines, the usage of ducks are occurred in a specific area only. He also knows that ducks are good at hunting the Golden Apple Snail. However, he said that even ducks can harm the crops. Usually, ducks eat the eggs of the Golden Apple Snails. When ducks eat the eggs on the soft leaves of rice plants, they can damage the stems or leaves, too.


2. Also, there is an unexpected situation for using ducks for managing the number of Golden Apple Snails. Actually, ducks are so wild animals. They are so hard to control by a human. Tireso said that to have enough guards for managing ducks is also huge worry for farmers. He said that due to lack of guards to keep ducks, the usage of ducks are occurred in a specific area only.


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Possibility 3 Interview with a farmer named Tireso about eating Golden Apple Snails.(My Action Step)


From many internet sites, it said that originally the Golden Apple Snails came to the Asia from the Southern America to provide the nutrient to farmers, who hardly took the proteins and fats. However, Golden Apple Snails were thrown by people because it was not delicious than local snails. As thrown snails adapted to the environment, the Golden Apple Snail have been a problem until now. When we think about the origin purpose of Golden Apple Snail, it is possible to re-use the Golden Apple Snails. I’ve been to a large rice field near the Teresa. Fortunately, I could meet a farmer who can speak English there. His name is Tireso, and maybe he is 50 years old. Actually, he was so kind to me to explain many other things, which Internet didn’t tell me.


   Actually, I started with talking about Golden Apple Snail’s damaging the rice field. He explained that in a square, which made 4m by each side, if Golden Apple Snail attacks the area, 2/3 of area will be destroyed. The financial problem made by Golden Apple Snails is so huge. Then, he led me into a shallow mud field. He accompanied with some Children and those kids caught some Golden Apple Snail to me. Within 20 minutes, 20 Golden Apple Snails were caught. It was kind of shock to me. Snails were crawling all over the mud. Even I could catch the crawling snails.                                                     

   I asked him how the Golden Apple Snail attacks the crops. He said that in rainy time in the Philippines (May~August), Golden Apple Snail are all around the field and attacks the newly planted crops, which has green leaves. They are eating the soft branches of the plants.

   Then, I changed the topic to about eating Golden Apple Snails. I asked him whether people eat the Golden Apple Snail or not. He said that they are eating, and even he eats the snails. I asked him the recipe of the snails. He actually didn’t have any specific recipe of Golden Apple Snails. He said that people put the snails into the boiled water and use the toothpaste to eat this snail. I told him that it is kind of dangerous way to eat the Golden Apple Snails. If we don’t remove the undigested food in the Golden Apple Snail, it is going to be a big problem. I asked him that is there anyone who suffered a disease after eating the Golden Apple Snail. He said that not in these days, but a few years ago, some of people suffered the disease. Fortunately, they were recovered soon. was curious the way of absorbing proteins of Philippines farmers. I asked him how often he obtains the meat or proteins. He said that he hardly obtain meat. Then, he said that he usually eats fish for the Proteins. He showed me some fishes. 

   For the last question to him, I asked him how he feels about the Golden Apple Snails damaging. He continually said that not good, not good… I could feel what he felt to the Golden Apple Snails damaging the rice field.



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Dr John Stanisic PaDIL padil.gov 19/10/2006



Dr M. Halwart The golden apple snail in the rice fields in Asia fao April 30 1998



International Rice Research Institute Rice Production knowledgebank.irri April 5 2007



Lynne Malcolm. Earthbeat-4/30 abc.net oct 27 2006



Marcos A. Avila. Golden Apple Snail aquahobby April 23 2007



Nalini Mohan “Invasion Biology introduced species summery project” Columbia.edu May 2 2007



Stijin Shesquire. Apple snail pest alert website applesnail May 2 2007



Tireso, personal interview May 5 2007



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