Ecology: Pomacea canaliculata is a dioecious (separate sexed) aquatic snail species. It is in the family Ampullaridae, or applesnails, which have both gills and lungs and an operculum (Rodriguez et al. 2019). Although P. canaliculata possesses gills and is aquatic, it is an obligate air breather, relying on its lungs to help it survive in water with low oxygen conditions, for egg laying, and during times of dormancy, in which it burrows in substrate using a siphon-like lobe as a snorkel (Rodriguez et al. 2019). Another terrestrial characteristic of this aquatic snail is its cleidoic calcareous (enclosed, semi-hard, calcium-rich shell) egg clutches that are laid above the water line (Yang et al. 2019). Unlike many aquatic snails whose eggs are susceptible to desiccation, eggs of Pomacea require a dry environment and are vulnerable to damage when exposed to water (Burks et al. 2010). Eggs are bright pink, and clutches can number over 200. When eggs begin to hatch the juveniles become visible and the outer shell becomes clear and white. Once hatched, the egg casings turn white and chalky in appearance (Yang et al. 2019; Hayes et al 2012).
Females of this genus are known to store sperm, and P. canaliculata can store viable sperm for up to 140 days and are known to have multiple partners and exhibit multiple paternity in a single egg clutch in non-native populations (Yang et al. 2019; Burela and Martín 2011). Copulation time is lengthy (observed to range between 38 min-12.8 hr), and mating includes nuptial feeding, as males produce a secretion ingested by females (Burela and Martín 2011). Pomacea canaliculata, like other applesnails, feed primarily on macrophytes. However, they are omnivores and will opportunistically eat most organic matter, including other snails (Kwong et al. 2009, Manara et al. 2022).
References: (click for full references)
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Burks, R.L., C.H. Kyle, and M.K. Trawick. 2010. Pink eggs and snails: field oviposition patterns of an invasive snail, Pomacea insularum, indicate a preference for an invasive macrophyte. Hydrobiologia 646(1):243-251. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-010-0167-1.
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Wang, J., Y. Xing, Y. Dai, Y. Li, W. Xiang, J. Dai, and F. Xu. 2022. A novel gelatin-based sustained-release molluscicide for control of the invasive agricultural pest and disease vector Pomacea canaliculata. Molecules, 27(13), p.4268.
Yang, T., Wu, Z., and Lun, Z. 2013. The Apple Snail Pomacea canaliculata, a Novel Vector of the Rat Lungworm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis: its Introduction, Spread, and Control in China. Hawaii Journal of Medicine & Public Health 72(6):23-25.
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