The apple snail (Pomacea insularum) is a freshwater gasterópode that is considered one of the 100 most damaging invasive species in the world.
This month of July the presence of apple snail on the lake of Saint-Esprit in the French town of Frejuli, belonging to the province of Provence-Alps-Cote d’Azur, has been detected in the department of Var. In Europe, the apple snail is already present in the Delta del Ebro where it is a serious environmental problem and for the cultivation of rice. Until now, the presence of the apple snail has not been detected elsewhere in Europe.
Specifically, the apple snail was detected during inspections carried out last July, where a series of egg laying were removed around the lake. In these inspections, no adult specimen (which can reach 15 cm) could be detected, either because they were hidden in the vegetation or to find a depth that made it impossible to visualize them.
In this situation, vigilance has intensified throughout the area.
The apple snail is ripe for breeding between 2 and 4 months of age, and can put around 9,000 eggs / season that they deposit outside the water.
The European NEURICE project (New commercial European RICE) is developing strategies for the productivity, stability and quality of rice production (Oryza sativa), by obtaining new commercial varieties of rice from the incorporation of salinity tolerance alleles to protect the sector against the effects of climate change and the apple snail on the Ebro Delta (Spain). Both the results and the experience acquired in the fight against the apple snail in the Delta del Ebro should be used to eradicate them in areas where the new pest can appear.
The apple snail is an invasive species that, if you do not apply efficient measures, it extends quickly. The French situation is very worrying since it shows that there are possibilities that it appears in other places and because its extension to the basins and humid zones of Europe can have serious consequences for present biodiversity as well as for the rice production sector, if it ends up reaching them, as it has been the case in the Delta del Ebro.