Invasive apple snails in Malaysia.
South American apple snails, Pomacea spp., classified as quarantine pests in Malaysia, were first detected in Malaysia in 1991. However, it took almost 10 years before they developed into one of the major pests of rice in the country. Since then, they have spread to almost all the rice areas in Malaysia. Since their detection, continuous control, containment and eradication programmes and research activities have been conducted by various government agricultural agencies involved in rice production. The efforts have been successful in reducing crop damage by the snails but have failed to arrest their dispersal to new areas. Since 2002, the snails have infested almost 20,000 ha of rice growing areas (2008 data) and have threatened the livelihoods of farmers. In 2010, costs associated with apple snail damage were estimated as RM 82 million (US $28 million). Various management strategies involving the use of chemical, cultural, physical and biological control techniques have been developed and extended to the farmers. Success in controlling the snail infestation has been achieved but at higher crop production cost. This contribution discusses the impacts of apple snail infestation in Malaysia, the various actions that have been developed and undertaken to manage the infestations, and the future outlook for the impact on rice production.