Archachatina marginata

Family

Achatinidae

Species

Archachatina marginata (Swainson, 1821)

Common Name

This species has the potential to get up to 210 mm in length and 130 mm in diameter, with 6-7 whorls. The shell has a brownish yellow background with fairly uniformly arranged bands and zigzag lines or spots that are dark-brown or reddish brown in color. The columella, outer lip and inside the aperture (mouth) are white or pale blue. The apex of the shell is slightly flattened, bulbous and pale or pinkish in color. The body color of the animal is variable (albino or tan to ash grey).

Description

This species has the potential to get up to 210 mm in length and 130 mm in diameter, with 6-7 whorls. The shell has a brownish yellow background with fairly uniformly arranged bands and zigzag lines or spots that are dark-brown or reddish brown in color. The columella, outer lip and inside the aperture (mouth) are white or pale blue. The apex of the shell is slightly flattened, bulbous and pale or pinkish in color. The body color of the animal is variable (albino or tan to ash grey).

Native Range

West Africa

Distribution

North America: Currently not present, though it commonly is intercepted at U.S. ports.

Caribbean: Martinique

Africa: Dahomey to Congo, including Sao Thome, Ghana, Annobon

Ecology

Achatinids are generally nocturnal forest dwellers but have the potential to adapt to disturbed habitats. Concealed habitats are generally preferred; however, individuals may colonize more open habitats in the event of overcrowding. Achatinids often become more active during periods of high humidity (e.g., after rainfall); however, the occurrence of large numbers of individuals especially during daylight may indicate high population density.

Achatinids normally lay their calcareous eggs in the soil, but they may be deposited under leaf litter or rocks. They feed on both living and dead plant material. In addition to being agricultural pests, achatinids can be a threat to public health as they act as a reservoir host of the rat lung parasites (Angiostrongylus cantonensis and A. costaricensis), which cause eosinophilic meningoencephalitis in humans. They can also be an unsightly public nuisance during periods of population explosion.

Archachitina marginata has the ability to live up to 10 years, attaining sexual maturity at 9-10 months under laboratory conditions. Clutch size will vary but may be as large as 40 eggs. The eggs are yellowish in color and may have dark blotches. The eggs have an incubation period of approximately 40 days. They are usually laid below the soil surface; however, they may be found on the soil surface or in vegetation. Plants consumed by this species include banana, lettuce and papaya.

Synonyms

Abbott 1989; Barker 2002; Cowie et al. 2009

References

Abbott 1989; Barker 2002; Cowie et al. 2009

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