March 24, 2023

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Florida is once again asking for citizens’ cooperation in eradicating giant African snails

The giant African land snail is a species that breeds very easily and causes encephalitis in humans (Crosby).

Florida Secretary of Agriculture Nikki Fried on Thursday asked citizens to cooperate in eradicating it. Giant African land snails It was discovered last month in parts of the state It poses a risk to human health and crops.

Fried gave a press conference in which he indicated that two years had passed without his presence Invasive species, of which nearly 1,000 specimens have already been collectedTo officially announce its abolition.

“It is in the hands of the people to help destroy, and everyone should be aware of the danger” The giant African snail, or Lissachatina fulica, goes by its scientific name, Fried said.

Following this there was alarm among the local authorities It was announced last week Discovery in New Port RicheyWest FloridaA specimen of the giant African land snail, an invasive species that reproduces very easily Can cause encephalitis in humans.

A giant snail of the genus Lysasatina fulica (Crosby).
A giant snail of the genus Lysasatina fulica (Crosby).

This is the third documented occurrence of Lissachatina fulica specimens in a southeastern US state.

The giant African land snail has been exterminated twice in Florida. First discovered in 1969, it was eradicated in 1975. The most recent eradication of the pest was in 2021, since the slugs were discovered in Miami-Dade County in 2011.

According to data from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), before the latest detection, the last living snail in Florida was collected in December 2017 in Miami-Dade County.

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The agency announced a quarantine in the New Port Richey area last month, and A Insecticide treatment.

“This pest can be successfully eradicated by working closely with affected communities, local agencies and the media,” Fried emphasized after warning the public. It is illegal to import or possess these African snails without a permit.

“It is one of the most harmful snails in the world consuming 500 different species of plants, which is why they are a threat to our agricultural and natural areas”The official pointed out, however, that the situation was under control.

Fried stressed that agriculture is one of the most important sectors of the Florida economy, and therefore protecting it from this invasive species is vital. These snails pose a serious threat to human health by carrying rat lungworm, which causes encephalitis.

The giant African land snail has been exterminated twice in Florida
The giant African land snail has been exterminated twice in Florida

The officer emphasized how dangerous these snails are, and that’s why He asked citizens not to try to fight their existence, eat less of them.

“We have a great plan to eradicate these snails across the country and we are confident that we are going to achieve it once again,” he assured.

The University of Florida and FDACS are working with Florida officials to eradicate the species.

Officers from the Detection Dog Research Program were also with Fried It has dogs capable of finding these snails and they have already been used successfully since the second plague.

The quarantine order attempts to prevent residents from contacting and moving these molluscs in nature, some of which are specimens They can reach 8 inches (20 centimeters) in length.

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(with information from EFE)

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