The presence of the giant African snail (Achatina fulica), considered one of the most harmful invasive species on the planet, was confirmed in the town of Placetas, in the central Cuban province of Villa Clara, an expert said today.
This situation was announced to the press by Nerelys Dorta, biologist and master's degree in infectious diseases at the Municipal Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Santa Clara.
Doctor Dorta stated that Cuba's Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute (IPK) confirmed 'our medical report, starting from an investigation on reports by neighbors that were talking about the presence of a very big snail in flowerbeds and gardens.'
'There are about 18 hectares here infested by the invasion of slugs, according to field studies,' she added and argued that phytosanitary measures are already adopted for their control and elimination.
The giant African snail is listed as one of the 100 most harmful invasive species in the world, based on the list prepared by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
According to the scientific literature, its accelerated body growth, its polyphagous diet of more than 200 kinds of plants, including citrus, coconut, banana, rice, vegetables and ornamental, as well as decomposing organic matter, and its high reproductive potential, which empowers its high dispersion.
The first reports of the presence of this species in the country were made by the head office of the National Plant Health Center and the Laboratory of Malacology of the IPK in January 2014.