Giant African Land Snails-A Potential Unwanted Invader
The Giant African Land Snail (GALS) continues to make news around the US. In an online article, the Independent describes the confiscation of almost 70 unwanted GALS at the Los Angeles International Airport in California:
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry (FDACS-DPI) and USDA-APHIS-PPQ officials continue to successfully eradicate GALS from Miami-Dade County, Florida, but all Florida suspect snail sightings should be reported to the FDACS-DPI toll-free helpline number: 1-888-397-1517. Eradication programs generally occur when a limited distribution, exotic pest threatens local and national agriculture or natural areas.
GALS has over 500 plant hosts, may transmit meningitis, and has caused damage to south Florida homes. As some of our native snails may resemble the younger or juvenile snails, it is important for the public to call the FDACS-DPI helpline if the snail is suspected. Florida agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry, and we don’t want GALS to stay. Protect your yard, food supply, and support Florida and US agriculture by reporting suspicious snails.
Check out FDACS-DPI’s post on July 10, 2014 related to GALS-
Yes, the story could resemble a 1950’s horror movie, but the threat is real. The University of Florida, IFAS Featured Creatures on the Giant African Land Snail is authored by John Capinera and Jodi White. http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/gastro/terrestrial_snails.htm
The University of Florida, IFAS is also in partnership with FDACS-DPI, USDA-APHIS-PPQ, Florida Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Program (CAPS), Protect U.S.-the Community Invasive Species Network, National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN), and Sentinel Plant Network in order to provide collaborative and enhanced First Detector Training for Florida. A Florida-focused scripted presentation (for educators) and e-learning module is available from the Florida First Detector website (http://flfirstdetector.org/ )