The Golden Apple Snail (Pomacea canaliculata) is a freshwater South American snail. It is an aquatic gastropod mollusc (mollusk). It is also called the Channeled Apple Snail.
The Golden Apple Snail has a boneless foot with a brown globe-shaped shell, called a mantle. It has both external gills (like a fish) on the right-hand side of its body to enable it to breathe underwater, and an internal lung on the left-hand side of its body (like a frog) to enable it to breath on land. This means that the Golden Apple Snail lives in the water and on land – it is amphibious, like a frog or a toad. It also has an operculum, which is a little lid, that enables it to close the shell entrance to prevent it from drying out when it is buried in the mud during dry seasons.
It measures up to 8 centimetres (3 inches) long.
The Golden Apple Snail is native to countries in South America, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. It prefers tropical and sub-tropical freshwater.
It lives in ponds, swamps, streams, and rivers. It spends most of their time underwater. They will go out of the water to eat food nearby.
It feeds on aquatic vegetation, such as algae, as well as detritus (dead animal matter). Its predators include the Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis), which is similar to a hawk or eagle.
In captivity, in an aquarium, it is most active at night, therefore it is more nocturnal than diurnal (active during the day).
The Golden Apple Snail lays eggs. Unlike most snails, the Golden Apple Snail is not hermaphroditic (containing both male and female reproductive organs). It is gonochoristic, which means that it has separate genders.
Females lay eggs about 25 centimetres (10 inches) above the water-line in clutches. She does this to prevent fish from eating the eggs. The eggs are bright red to deep pink, to warn predators that the eggs taste awful. When the baby snails hatch out of the eggs, they fall into the water.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM