Common white snail
Common white snail, a pest of grain crops in particular, was detected in grain silos on several farms in Tasmania in 2007. The pest was introduced through feed barley imported from South Australia.
What does it look like?
Typically, the common white snail has a white shell, often with brown, spiralled bands. It can grow to 20 mm in diameter, but the snails found so far in Tasmania have been more the size of a 5 cent piece.
Why is it a biosecurity risk?
It is a pest of cereal crops and pasture. It can contaminate pasture, fodder and grain. Livestock reject feed that is heavily infested with these snails. The Common white snail is, therefore, a significant biosecurity risk for both the livestock and the grain industries.
Where does this snail occur?
In temperate climates on the mainland. South Australia is the worst affected, but the snail has also established in parts of Victoria, NSW and WA.
How do they spread?
They are harvested with grain.
Could they establish in Tasmania?
Current evidence indicates that, in broad terms, Tasmania's climate is too cool and our soils are too acid for this pest to survive in numbers sufficient to establish a viable population.
What can farmers do to help?
As a precaution, DPIPWE recommends that farmers feeding grain to their livestock do so in discrete locations and keep a record of where these are on the property. This would help greatly in following up any new reports of the snail and in any follow-up treatment and eradication. If farmers adopt this as a normal biosecurity practice, it could help in any similar weed or pest situation in the future.
For more information
Check out our fact sheet
on the Common white snail.