Modeling behavior control of golden apple snails at different temperatures.
The golden apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata) is a detrimental invasive pest of rice in Asia. Temperature is a critical factor to determine their invasiveness including the behavior and distribution of snails. In this study, the behavioral responses of golden apple snails acclimated to different water temperatures (15°C, 20°C, 25°C, and 30°C) were examined based on Markov chain analysis, Shannon entropy, and Random forest modeling. Markov chains revealed that most snails maintained their previous behavior at low temperatures, while behavior transition tended to be higher at high temperature. Shannon entropy was also dependent on temperature (low at low temperature and high at high temperature), indicating that snails maintained their previous behavior for a long time at low temperature regardless having motion and motionless behavior, whereas they changed continuously their behavioral types at high temperature. The Random forest model showed that Shannon entropy at low temperature was influenced by crawling at the bottom or at side of the aquarium (motion behavior), while clinging to the side of the aquarium or clinging to the side of the aquarium with stretching out antennae were important behaviors determining Shannon entropy at high temperature. Our results showed that snails controlled their behavior to reduce their thermal stress and maintain a stable internal state in harsh environment. With this mechanism, they are able to overwinter in the open fields with low temperature in Korea, resulting in the increase of potential damage in agricultural ecosystems. Therefore, further study on the development of adequate management system is required to avoid their invasiveness to open water systems and ecological impacts. Finally, Shannon entropy, Markov chain, and Random forest model are useful computation methods to quantify the effects of temperature changes on the behavior of golden apple snails.