December 3, 2009

Golden Apple Snails' Eggs?

I made some wild guesses these pink masses look like frogs eggs. And I have never seen them before so I was really doubtful upon more mind searching. And believe it or not I have actually never seen real frogs eggs in any stream. But I have seen some gluey and blackish frogs eggs in bottles brought in by students for the science lab. So I was more than interested yesterday as I went for my brisk walk just before it rained again.

A few phone calls to friends and some googling resulted in a new awareness. They are not frogs eggs. They are snails' eggs which must have been laid after all these days of non stopping monsoon rains.

The Gold Apple Snail is not new to Sarawak. And some people consider it a great pest especially to rice farming. Also known as "golden kuhol'' [Pomacea canaliculata Lamarck], it is one of the major pest problems in rice production. In 1989, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated that yield tosses owing to this pest ranged from 1% to 40% of the planted area in the Philippines, resulting in huge production loss.

To control this pest, many farmers resort to the massive use of synthetic molluscicides that are expensive and broad spectrum, affecting non-target organisms including human beings.

In addition here's an excerpt from

In early 1997, they reached Sarawak, first brought from Kalimantan by a Long Balai resident in Ba Kelalan, to be bred for food. From there, it was brought into Bario by migrant Indonesian workers. Since then, it has destroyed an estimated 239 hectares of padi at Ba Kelalan, Long Semadoh and Bario.

The total cost of this golden apple snail invasion is very high. While it does not feed on mature rice plants, it causes significant damage to very young rice seedlings. Apart from this direct loss in rice yield, additional costs include that of controlling the snail and replanting lost seedlings. The snail effects humans too. It harbours various parasitic worms that cause skin irritations, and is host to the lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis) which, normally parasitic on rats, can cause a fatal form of meningo-encephalitis in humans.

(These are my photos using Nikon Coolpix.)

and from the Star:

Saturday November 21, 2009
Farmers facing new threat from snails

ALOR SETAR: Although flood had subsided over the last couple of days, rice farmers here are facing a new threat from the golden apple snails, locally known as siput gondang emas.

The snails are breeding fast and the pinkish eggs can be seen in weeds in the padi fields.

Farmer Marzuki Saad, 56, said the pests were brought in by water overflowing from rivers.

I will be observing the development of these few capsules of eggs in the next few days. Would they become snails? Should we be alarmed?

Check them out yourself if you happen to be jogging along the Luak Bay Coastal Road.  These pink and extremely interesting but styrofoam like eggs are found on the walls of the concret drains.

 (Photo : Google Images)



Greenspot said...

hi Sarawakiana,

It has also reach Sibu. You can find the eggs also on concrete wall of drains in Sibu. Should be alarming considering it is a pest and harbour parasites harmful to human!! Wonder what the agric dept/govt is doing to do about it.

I guess it is not a piece of good news.


Ah Ngao said...

its not the French snail type? if im not wrong ,those French snail are delicasies and very-sought-after .so far,i never like to eat our local siput,younno the long2 one which you chop off the ends and then makes a *slurp..* sound when you suck out the meat from the snail.

Bengbeng said...

if it is edible, perhaps the only really effective way is to make it a comercial product. the numbers will go down soon enough

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks for dropping by. My goodness it is in Sibu! Hope the rice farmers are rearing enough ducks to combat this infestation. The UN FAO has made a great effort to help get rid of this pest.
People should be alarmed because these snails are very sexually active and very productive....thousands of eggs each snail!!
And if the farmers use pesticides they will have to spend a hefty sum besides polluting nature.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Escargots are expensive and perhaps nice to some people who eat them with a relish.

These golden apple snails can be eaten but they have to be cooked. I don't like the idea of eating snails which may give us viruses....

Be warned.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

No I think the proper methods of cooking them must be learned case of spread of some bad diseases.

Ducks are the best bio-control so far....

Hope the Agriculture Dept is doing something about it.

wenn said...

wow..hvn't seen that before..

Jay said...

Got a rambai tree picture already but i will post entry on mangosteen first. This afternoon i have great time snap photo in my Kampong.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Wenn

the Golden Apple Snails are quite disturbing to say the least...

Hope our farmers know what to do.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Jay
Oh nice to hear that you have a rambai tree photo...

Photography is always a very interesting and rewarding hobby. Wishing you the greatest of joy.

Have a nice day.

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Sarawakania, gosh, you sure into these garden stuff. Good for you. Coming here very educational, ha ha.
I used to see these eggs when young...frong eggs later becoming tadpoles.
I guess your kids must be experts at nature stuff too.
Have fun and watch out for snakes, ha ha, Lee.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks Uncle Lee

In an environment like ours we just cannot help but be knowledgeable. (Not expert). Thanks for your compliments.
Most of my kids tell me that I must not go "on and on and on" about these things... They like IT and photography. They like reading and cooking. I do not really know what they like sometimes because they are continuously changing and becoming their own persons!!

Thanks. I hate snakes from the time my Dad shot a 20 foot python which ate almost all our chickens. I don't know why Discovery Channels love reptiles....ouch.

Have a great weekend!

Ann said...

Gee, wait the ducks also get poisoned.

I think the best way is to get that Famous Chef Wan to prepare a Malaysian Escargot. Soon everyone will be eating this snail, and in no time they become extinct. LOL

Ann said...

Oh yes, they look like the NZ garden snail. I took some to school as the yr 2s were learning Living things. My colleagues accused me that I starved them because I neglected to feed them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this article. I have seen them in Ba kelalan too. Are they known as siput gendong emas?

Bob teoh.

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