Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Florida Native Apple Snail (Pomacea paludosa)

The largest fresh water snail in North America found in wetlands throughout the State.

Florida native apple snail

Apple snails are herbivorous, preferring soft vegetation but will also feed on dead animals (dead fish, frogs, insects)

The Florida native apple snail is an important food source of the endangered Everglades kites, but they are also on the menu for other birds, raccoons, otters, turtles and ducks.

The native apple snail is considered beneficial, compared to three introduced apple snail species.

native apple snail laying her eggs

The invading apple snail species have no natural predators, reproducing unchecked. With their voracious appetite they are capable of altering entire ecosystems by devouring the aquatic plants. Algae takes over blocking sunlight and therefore killing remaining plant life.

a countable number of eggs

The different apple snail species can easily be identified by differences in the egg masses that they lay. the Native apple snail lays a small number of soft pink eggs, and they turn white as their outer shell dries.
While the invasive species lay up to 700 salmon colored or pastel green eggs (smaller than the native ones) per cluster.

Small cluster of large white eggs at the rim of our Lotus bowl:

almost all of them hatched

Hopefully I can keep a small population of the Florida native apple snail living happily here in Myrtle Glen.

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