Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Negative impacts of invasive predators used as biological control agents against the pest snail Lissachatina fulica: the snail Euglandina 'rosea' and the flatworm Platydemus manokwari.

Abstract

Since 1955 snails of the Euglandina rosea species complex and Platydemus manokwari flatworms were widely introduced in attempted biological control of giant African snails (Lissachatina fulica) but have been implicated in the mass extinction of Pacific island snails. We review the histories of the 60 introductions and their impacts on L. fulica and native snails. Since 1993 there have been unofficial releases of Euglandina within island groups. Only three official P. manokwari releases took place, but new populations are being recorded at an increasing rate, probably because of accidental introduction. Claims that these predators controlled L. fulica cannot be substantiated; in some cases pest snail declines coincided with predator arrival but concomitant declines occurred elsewhere in the absence of the predator and the declines in some cases were only temporary. In the Hawaiian Islands, although there had been some earlier declines of native snails, the Euglandina impacts on native snails are clear with rapid decline of many endemic Hawaiian Achatinellinae following predator arrival. In the Society Islands, Partulidae tree snail populations remained stable until Euglandina introduction, when declines were extremely rapid with an exact correspondence between predator arrival and tree snail decline. Platydemus manokwari invasion coincides with native snail declines on some islands, notably the Ogasawara Islands of Japan, and its invasion of Florida has led to mass mortality of Liguus spp. tree snails. We conclude that Euglandina and P. manokwari are not effective biocontrol agents, but do have major negative effects on native snail faunas. These predatory snails and flatworms are generalist predators and as such are not suitable for biological control.