The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Pomacea canaliculata
Pomacea canaliculata
(channeled applesnail)

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Pomacea canaliculata (Lamarck, 1828)

Common name: channeled applesnail

Synonyms and Other Names: golden applesnail

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Pomacea canaliculata is a large-shelled freshwater snail (~100mm high) with an operculum, and typically 3-4 arched, elevated, round whorls terminating with a pointed spire (Thompson 1999; see diagram below). The sutures are deep, forming a “channel”, and the umbilicus is prominent (see Figure 1). Compared to Pomacea paludosa (the native Florida applesnail), the spire is far taller, and the sutures are deep, whereas the sutures of P. paludosa are flush with the whorls (Thompson 1999).


Size: Large, about ~100mm tall (Thompson 1999)

Native Range: Native to South America in the Lower Paraná and La Plata River basins of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay (Hayes et al. 2008, Hayes et al. 2012).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Pomacea canaliculata are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AZ200720203Lower Colorado; Lower Gila; Lower Salt
CA1997202210Los Angeles; Middle Kern-Upper Tehachapi-Grapevine; Middle San Joaquin-Lower Chowchilla; Salton Sea; San Diego; San Gabriel; San Joaquin Delta; Santa Barbara Coastal; Santa Margarita; Whitewater River
FL200520121Lower St. Johns
GA200520142Lower Savannah; Satilla
HI198920196Hawaii; Hawaii Region; Kauai; Lanai; Maui; Oahu
ID199120161Upper Snake-Rock
NC199219921Upper Dan

Table last updated 9/22/2023

† Populations may not be currently present.

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).

Means of Introduction: Many species of this genus are popular in the aquarium trade and are known by the common commercial name “golden applesnail”; this species is no exception and has been moved around and cultivated for aquarium use and as a food source (Halwart 1994). Once in a new area, downstream movement (floating) serves as a secondary spread pathway through baseflow and flood waters, as well as through irrigation (Seuffert and Martín 2012).

Status: This species is established in parts of the western United States, Hawaii, and a small population was genetically confirmed in northeast Florida, where Pomacea maculata is the predominant species of applesnail introduced in the state.

Impact of Introduction:
Summary of species impacts derived from literature review. Click on an icon to find out more...

EcologicalEconomicHuman Health

Pomacea canaliculata is a known rice crop pest (Halwart 1994, Wang et al. 2022), and is also known to carry the rat lungworm, which is transferrable to humans (Yang et al. 2013, Wang et al. 2022). Pomacea canaliculata is known to consume juvenile freshwater snails, including other globally-invasive species such as Melanoides tuberculata (Kwong et al. 2009).

Remarks: Pomacea canaliculata is considered one of the 100 worst invasive species in the world (Lowe et al 2000).

The chalky, white appearance of the hatched or old egg masses of P. canaliculata (Hayes et al. 2012) can be confused with those of the Pomacea paludosa in their overlapping ranges in the southeast, as P. paludosa egg clutches are salmon pink when laid, but quickly turn white, and then turn a light, pastel pink when hatched (Rawlings et al. 2007). See Rawlings et al. (2007) for a comprehensive guide on the morphological differences of Pomacea egg clutches.

At one time, P. canaliculata occurrences in the United States were combined with the species P. maculata (giant applesnail) (previously known as P. insularum, island applesnail). However, genetic studies showed that P. canaliculata exists in western parts of the U.S. and P. maculata (Hayes et al. 2012), has a more extensive non-native range in the U.S.

Pomacea canaliculata and P. maculata are known to hybridize in their non-native ranges where they co-occur in East and Southeast Asia (Matsukura et al. 2013).

References: (click for full references)

Burela, S., and P.R. Martín. 2011. Evolutionary and functional significance of lengthy copulations in a promiscuous apple snail, Pomacea canaliculata (Caenogastropoda: Ampullariidae). Journal of Molluscan Studies 77(1):54-64. https://doi.org/10.1093/mollus/eyq035.

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.

Halwart, M. 1994. The golden apple snail Pomacea canaliculata in Asian rice farming systems: present impact and future threat. International Journal of Pest Management 40(2):199-206.

Hayes, K.A., R.H. Cowie, S.C. Thiengo, and E.E. Strong. 2012. Comparing apples with apples: clarifying the identities of two highly invasive Neotropical Ampullaridae (Caenogastropoda). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 166(4):723-753.

Hayes, K.A., R.C. Joshi, S.C. Thiengo, and R.H. Cowie. 2008. Out of South America: multiple origins of non-native apple snails in Asia. Diversity and Distributions 14(4):701-712. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1472-4642.2008.00483.x/full.

Kwong, K., R.K.Y. Chan, and J. Qiu. 2009. The potential of the invasive snail Pomacea canaliculata as a predator of various life-stages of five species of freshwater snails. Malacologia 51(2):343-356.

Lowe, S., M. Browne, S. Boudjelas, and M. De Poorter. 2000. 100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species: A selection from the gobal invasive species database. The Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) a specialist group of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the World Conservation Union. www.issg.org/booklet.pdf.

Manara, E., V. Cambi, and P.R. Martín. 2022. Evaluating the combined use of feeding trials and a micrographic technique to study the natural diet of Pomacea canaliculata. Limnologica, p.126022.

Matsukura, K., M. Okuda, N.J. Cazzaniga, T. Wada. 2013. Genetic exchange between two freshwater apple snails, Pomacea canaliculata and Pomacea maculata invading East and Southeast Asia. Biological Invasions 15:2039-2048. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-013-0431-1.

Rawlings, T.A., K.A. Hayes, R.H. Cowie, and T.M. Collins. 2007. The identity, distribution, and impacts on non-native apple snails in the continental United States. BMC Evolutionary Biology 7:97. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/7/97.

Rodriguez, C., G.I. Prieto, I.A. Vega, and A. Castro-Vazquez. 2019. Functional and evolutionary perspectives on gill structures of an obligate air-breathing, aquatic snail. PeerJ 7(e7342):1-34. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.7342.

Seuffert, M.E., and P.R. Martín. 2012. A lentic dweller in lotic habitats: the behavior of the invasive South American apple snail Pomacea canaliculata in flowing water. Aquatic Ecology 46(1):129-142.

Thompson, F.G. 1999. An identification manual for the freshwater snails of Florida.https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/iz/resources/florida-snails/. Created on 07/08/2019. Accessed on 07/08/2019.

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.

Yang, Q., S. Liu, J. Li, D. Wang, and X. Yu. 2019. Microsatellite evidence for multiple paternity in non-native populations of Pomacea canaliculata (Caenogastropoda: Ampullariidae) in China. Aquatic Invasions 14(4):656-666. https://doi.org/10.3391/ai.2019.14.4.06.

Author: Morningstar, C.R., and A. Jordon

Revision Date: 9/15/2023

Peer Review Date: 9/15/2023

Citation Information:
Morningstar, C.R., and A. Jordon, 2023, Pomacea canaliculata (Lamarck, 1828): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=980, Revision Date: 9/15/2023, Peer Review Date: 9/15/2023, Access Date: 9/22/2023

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2023]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [9/22/2023].

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