Large to very large globose smooth shells, sutures channelled (Pomacea canaliculata) or with the top of the whorl shouldered and flat at the suture (Pomacea diffusa). Shells umbilicate with unthickened lip. Uniform yellow to olive green with darker spiral bands. Interior of aperture orange to yellow. Operculate, with concentric operculum.
Pomacea Perry, 1810
Type species: Pomacea maculata Perry, 1810
Original reference: Perry, G. 1810-1811. Arcana; or the Museum of Natural History, 84 pls., unnumbered with associated text. Issued in monthly parts, pls.[1-48] in 1810, [49-84] in 1811. Stratford, London.
Type locality: Rio Parana, Argentina.
Amphibious, on sediment and weeds etc. Lays pink coloured egg masses on plants etc. above the waterline.
Native to North and South America but some species have been introduced around the world through the aquarium trade (Pomacea diffusa) and as a food source (Pomacea canaliculata). Pomacea diffusa has been reported from the Ross River in Townsville in NE Queensland, and from freshwater waterbodies in the greater Brisbane area, Ipswich and Urangan near Maryborough in SE Queensland.
This genus is widely known in the aquarium trade through the so-called mystery snail, Pomacea diffusa. In countries such as the Philippines, Hawaii and parts of SE Asia, the species Pomacea canaliculata (Lamarck) is a serious pest of rice crops. Introduction of this species to the wild could result in a serious pest problem. Any sightings of this species in the wild should be reported to the Biosecurity authority or to the Australian Museum Malacology Section.
The genus Pila differs from Pomacea in the following respects:
The shells of Pila tend to have less elevated and less pointed (blunt) spires compared to Pomacea.
Pila species both have rounded whorl shoulders with slightly indented sutures. The whorl shoulders of Pomacea diffusa are flat topped while the whorl shoulders of P. canaliculata are rounded with deeply indented sutures.
The siphon (breathing tube) of Pila is shorter than that of Pomacea.
The eggs of Pila are white and calcareous and laid above the water line on banks and mudflats in shallow depressions, while Pomacea eggs are soft and pink and laid on plants and upright surfaces just above the waterline.
Pila originate from south Asia and Africa while Pomacea comes from the Americas.
Pila are an important food source in South Asia while Pomacea are generally not eaten.
Cowie, R. H. (2002). Apple Snails (Ampullariidae) as Agricultural Pests: their Biology, Impacts and Management. Pp. 145-192 in G. M. Barker. Molluscs as Crop Pests. Wallingford, UK, CAB International.
Cowie, R. H. (2005). The Golden Apple Snail: Pomacea species including Pomacea canaliculata (Lamarck, 1822) (Gastropoda: Ampullariidae). Diagnostic standard. Report to Plant Health Australia. 38 p. http://www.planthealthaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Golden-apple-snail-DP-2005.pdf
Cowie, R. H. & Thiengo, S. C. (2003). The Apple Snails of the Americas (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Ampullariidae: Asolene, Felipponea, Marisa, Pomacea, Pomella): A nomenclatural and type catalogue. Malacologia 45: 41-100.
Mochida, O. (1991). Spread of freshwater Pomacea snails (Pilidae, Mollusca) from Argentina to Asia. Micronesica Supplement 3: 51-62.
Ng, T.H., Tan, S.K., Wong, W.H., Meier, R., Chan, S-Y., Tan, H.H. and Yeo, D.C.J. 2016. Molluscs for Sale: Assessment of Freshwater Gastropods and Bivalves in the Ornamental Pet Trade. PLOS One. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0161130.
Perera, G. & Walls, J. G. (1996). Apple snails in the aquarium. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey.
Simone, L. R. L., 2004. Comparative morphology and phylogeny of representatives of the superfamilies of architaenioglossans and the Annulariidae (Mollusca, Caenogastropoda). Arquivos do Museu National 62: 387-504.
The Apple Snail website: http://www.applesnail.net