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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit » Research » Research Project #443298

Research Project: Apple Snail (Pomacea Maculata) Integrated Pest Management Tactics for Crawfish, Catfish, and Rice Crop Production

Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Project Number: 6066-31000-016-035-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Dec 1, 2022
End Date: Aug 31, 2026

The primary objective of this project is to develop strategies to manage and control the spread of invasive apple snails (Pomacea maculata) in agriculture production systems of the southeastern U.S. There are three overarching goals associated with this project. 1) A survey of the parasite composition of apple snails in the Southeast United States with an emphasis on those relevant to crayfish and catfish food production systems which incur a human health risk; 2) development of an integrated management approach for reducing the impact of apple snails in rice, crayfish, and catfish production; and 3) develop mitigation strategies to reduce the spread of the apple snail to new production areas and systems.

Transport of live apple snails is banned in multiple states, restricting available research opportunities outside the current range of the snail. With this in mind, the project aims to use molecular techniques and culled specimens from commercial production systems to identify parasites that have implications for animal production and human health. Molecular techniques will also be used to develop DNA primers specific to the apple snail. Using these primers, water samples from crayfish, rice, and catfish systems can be monitored for environmental DNA. Detection of apple snail DNA from environmental samples can help monitor the expanse and timing of newly invaded areas. Finally, field studies will be used to evaluate the efficacy of commercially available pesticides to control multiple life stages of apple snails, including eggs. These studies will also aim to evaluate the impacts of commercially available pesticides on non-target organisms.