Statement on the identity of apple snails
Following a request by the European Commission, EFSA’s Panel on Plant Health was asked to deliver a statement to clarify the current scientific knowledge regarding the identity of the apple snails in the context of the evaluation of the pest risk analysis prepared by the Spanish Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs (EFSA Panel on Plant Health (PLH), 2012). The Panel concludes on the risk to plant health posed by Pomacea species in the ‘canaliculata complex’, that out of the around 50 species in the genus of Pomacea, four species P. canaliculata, P. insularum, P. lineata and P. maculata belong to the ‘canaliculata complex’, where P. insularum and P. maculata are recently considered to be synonyms. Current methods of identification imply high uncertainty if risk reduction options are applied at the Pomacea single species level. The Spanish pest risk analysis identifies important plant health risks connected to Pomacea species. The available scientific evidence indicates that other Pomacea species may pose similar risks to plant health as identified for P. insularum.
The Panel clarifies that risk reduction options should not be targeted to single species of the genus Pomacea considering: (i) the dynamical situation in the current study on the systematics of the Ampullariidae species and the genus Pomacea in particular; (ii) the uncertainties and the possible unexpected evolution of the invasive potential of species of Pomacea other than P. insularum and P. canaliculata; (iii) the poor knowledge on the trophic habits of many species of the genus Pomacea, with possible overlaps in the trophic niche (macrophytes); (iv) the high uncertainty on the identification of the different Pomacea species.