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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of Irradiation on the Reproductive Ability of Zonitoides Arboreus (Say), a Snail Pest of Orchid Roots

Authors
item Hollingsworth, Robert
item Follett, Peter
item Armstrong, John

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2002
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Citation: Hollingsworth, R.G., Follett, P.A., Armstrong, J.W. 2003. Effects of irradiation on the reproductive ability of zonitoides arboreus (say), a snail pest of orchid roots. Ann. Appl. Biol. 143: 395-399. 2003

Interpretive Summary: We investigated the effect of irradiation on the reproductive ability of the orchid snail, Zonitoides arboreus (Say), a serious pest of potted orchids in Hawaii. Weekly egg production averaged between 0.8 and 1.9 eggs/snail over a 9-week period for snails not exposed to irradiation, and egg hatch averaged 61%. In comparison to untreated controls, irradiation of snails at the lowest dose tested (34-37 GY) reduced egg production and egg hatch by 63 and 94%, respectively, over a nine-week period. None of the snails treated with levels of irradiation >69 Gy produced viable eggs. Although this is the first study measuring the effect of ionizing irradiation on a terrestrial snail or slug species using sterilizing doses, our results show that the reproductive ability of this snail species is affected by irradiation in a similar manner as for Biomphalaria glabrata (Say), an aquatic snail for which the effects of irradiation have been studied in detail.

Technical Abstract: Due to increased international trade, there has been an increase in the risk of invasion by alien pest species, including pest species of slugs and snails. Irradiation has proven useful as an quarantine treatment for control of insect pests infesting horticultural commodities, and this technology could potentially be used to control "hitch-hiking" snail and slug pests, either by killing them directly or sterilizing them. We investigated the effect of irradiation on the reproductive ability of the orchid snail, Zonitoides arboreus (Say), a serious pest of potted orchids in Hawaii. This is the first published study relating to the reproductive sensitivity of a terrestrial mollusk species to irradiation. In comparison to untreated controls, irradiation of snails at the lowest dose tested (34-37 Gy) reduced egg production and egg hatch by 63 and 94%, respectively, over a nine-week period. None of the snails treaed with levels of irradiation >69 Gy produced viable eggs. Levels of irradiation used commercially as a quarantine treatment for horticultural crops are generally much higher than those found to sterilize adult Z. arboreus. Therefore, our data suggests that irradiation has potential as a quarantine treatment for control of slug and snail pests.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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