Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract Full Text

Epidemic and parasitological study of African giant snails (Lissachatina fulica) in Misiones, Argentina.


The Giant African Snail, Lissachatina fulica, is included in the list of the 100 most harmful invasive alien species in the world. This species of snail, being hermaphroditic, grows and reproduces at high speed, presenting high resistance to environmental variables, adaptability to different regions, a polyphagous diet and the absence or ignorance of natural predators contribute to its dispersal, which can cause significant damage to agricultural crops. Horticultural and native ecosystems, as well as acting as a transmitter of parasites that may affect Public Health. In order to know and contribute to the current status of the African giant snail, L. fulica, it was proposed to evaluate the current epidemiological and parasitic situation of the African giant snail and its implications for public and environmental health in the province of Misiones, Argentina. The work was carried out between the months of December 2018 and December 2019, proceeding to the collection, morphological identification and collection of the shells of mollusks of the species L. fulica and their fecal matter, for their subsequent parasitological analysis. All the mollusks collected corresponded to the town of Puerto Iguazú, Misiones. Of a total of 201 mollusks, three groups were identified by genus and species: Group 1 (G1): L. fulica n=199; Group 2: Helix aspera n: 1 and Group 3: Bulimus sp. n: 1. All G1 individuals were classified according to size categories defined as: Class 1: newly hatched individuals (up to 10 mm) n=6; Class 2: juveniles (10 to 40 mm) n=149; Class 3: young adults (40 to 70 mm) n=35 and Class 4: adults (>70 mm) n=9. From the parasitological analysis carried out on the pools of fecal matter of L. fulica, parasitic taxa were found predominantly larvae of the order Strongylida and unspecified free-living larvae, as well as eggs of nematodes of the genus Ancylostoma sp. Protozoa corresponding to cysts of Amoeba sp; Giardia sp and oocysts of Cystoisospora sp. On the other hand, in the analysis of slime of 9 adult specimens of L. fulica, parasitic taxa of the order Strongylida and the order Ascaridea Family Toxocaridae were found compatible with the genus Toxocara sp, also observing calcium oxalate crystals in samples of slime. On the other hand, in 11 (eleven) border towns of the Misiones province, 92 surveys were carried out, in order to evaluate the degree of knowledge of the population, where a lack of knowledge of the problem was found in 67.4% of the surveyed cases. Considering that anthropic factors are the main cause of dispersal jumps in this species, it is essential to carry out health education work to raise awareness and prevent future invasions that lead to health damage, the ecosystem and agriculture. In this context, each respondent was given informative material and the recommendations provided by the National Service of Agrifood Health and Quality of Argentina.