Impact of invasive apple snails on the functioning and services of natural andmanaged wetlands

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Acta Oecologica, 2014, 54 pp. 90 - 100
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At least 14 species of apple snail (Ampullariidae) have been released to water bodies outside their native ranges; however, less than half of these species have become widespread or caused appreciable impacts. We review evidence for the impact of apple snails on natural and managed wetlands focusing on those studies that have elucidated impact mechanisms. Significant changes in wetland ecosystems have been noted in regions where the snails are established: Two species in particular (Pomacea canaliculata and Pomacea maculata) have become major pests of aquatic crops, including rice, and caused enormous increases in molluscicide use. Invasive apple snails have also altered macrophyte community structure innatural and managed wetlands through selective herbivory and certain apple snail species can potentially shift the balance of freshwater ecosystems from clear water (macrophyte dominated) to turbid (plankton dominated) states by depleting densities of native aquatic plants. Furthermore, the introductions of some apple snail species have altered benthic community structure either directly, through predation, or indirectly, through exploitation competition or as a result of management actions. To date much of the evidence for these impacts has been based on correlations, with few manipulative field or mesocosm experiments. Greater attention to impact monitoring is required, and, for Asia in particular, a landscape approach to impact management that includes both natural and managed-rice wetlands is recommended. © 2012 Elsevier Masson SAS.
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