May 2024 First Friday with Florida First Detector

Recap of May 2024 First Friday with Florida First Detector

In May, we covered the basics of invasive snails and slugs. Snails and slugs are a type of mollusk called a gastropod. Slugs are different than snails in that they typically lack a visible shell. For slug identification, we look at characteristics like the body length, body color/markings, pores, tail construction and keel construction. However, snails are often identified based on the characteristics of their shells like shape, width, height, number of whorls, and more.

Like other invasive species, invasive snails and slugs can cause many problems. Many species are pests of agricultural and horticultural plants. They can also disrupt local ecosystems by impacting the plant species or even predating on native snails and slugs. In addition, snails and slugs can harbor pathogens and parasites that can harm humans and animals. Over the years, we have had some invasive slugs and snails introduced to Florida.

One of the most worrisome introductions is the Giant African Land Snail, Lissachatina fulica. Florida has a long history with the Giant African Land Snail. This species poses a risk to our agriculture, horticulture, natural ecosystems and human and animal health.  It is one of the world’s most troublesome snails. Not to mention, it is also one of the world’s largest snails. It was introduced to Florida in the 1960’s and eradicated in the early 70’s costing nearly $1 million dollars for its removal over 10 years. In 2011, they found this snail again in South Florida, and it took a decade and $23 million to eradicate.

In mid 2022, Giant African Land Snail was found in Pasco County. Later that year, it was also found in Lee County and in 2023, it was detected in Broward County too. These detections quickly triggered intensive eradication programs. Currently, there are efforts to quarantine and eradicate this pest from Florida once again. If you suspect you have found Giant African Land Snail, you can call the FDACS Tollfree Hotline at 1-888-397-1517 or email a photo to Early detection is critical to swiftly removing this pest from Florida. If you see something suspicious, report it!

Resources on Gastropods and Identification

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What is the upcoming schedule?

We are meeting online via Zoom from 12:00PM-1:00PM on the First Friday of every month from Sept 2022-Aug 2024. Please visit this blog for registration information and the upcoming schedule for Sept 2023-2024.


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Posted: May 6, 2024

Category: AGRICULTURE, Crops, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Fruits & Vegetables, HOME LANDSCAPES, Horticulture, Invasive Species, Lawn, Natural Resources, Pests & Disease, Pests & Disease, Professional Development, Turf, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Research, UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: Biosecurity, Early Detection, FFD23-24, FloridaFirstDetector, Gals, Giant African Land Snail, Invasive Species, Slugs, Snails

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