Limicolaria aurora

Family

Achatinidae

Species

Limicolaria aurora (Jay, 1839)

Common Name

escargot Geant d'Afrique, Nigerian land snail

Description

This snail generally attains a height of 60 mm and a width of 28 mm, with 9-9.5 whorls at maturity. The shell is smooth, dull, oblong-ovate and displays a wide range of colors. The umbilicus (navel) is narrow.

Native Range

East Africa

Distribution

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

Caribbean: Martinique

Africa: West: Guinea to Nigeria, Cameroun and Gabon

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 are hermaphroditic and there the introduction of a single mature specimen, into a new habitat, can initiate a new population. 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 causes eosinophilic meningoencephalitis in humans. They can also be an unsightly public nuisance during periods of population explosion.

This species of Achatinid (Limicolaria aurora) has the potential to reproduce in much drier conditions than other species. The eggs are often laid in the soil and have an incubation period of approximately 30 days. This species has been reported to consume the following plants: oil palm, yam (Dioscorea alata), black pepper, Jerusalem artichoke, cucumber, okra, rose-mallow, sweet potato and legumes.

Synonyms

None

References

Abbott 1989; Barker 2002; Ebenso 2006; Cowie et al. 2009; Udoh et al. 1995

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