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Mapping the Geographic Distribution of the Non-Native Red Rimmed Melania (Melanoides Tuberculatus) in Biscayne Bay National Park, Florida

Phillips, Emily C.1; Murray, James B.1; Wingard, G. Lynn 1; Schill, William B.1
1 EESPT, USGS, Reston, VA.

In 2004 a study was begun to map the distribution of Melanoides tuberculatus within Biscayne National Bark. Melanoides is a snail species native to the subtropical regions of Africa and Southeast Asia. It is a non-native species within Florida and a documented intermediate host to lung and liver flukes, resulting in some concern over the potential for human health issues and native species displacement.

In order to map the spatial spread, and thereby analyze and track the spread of the snails, 153 georeferenced records of location sites were collected from field visits over the period from October 2004 to July 2007. These points were mapped and classified according to the presence of live or debris snails. ESRI ArcView 9.2 software was used for all mapping and Adobe Illustrator was used for the final map layout and publication.

Mapping the snails has shown a definite expansion of territory since 2004. Live and debris Melanoides have been found in canal and near-shore areas all along Biscayne Bay with the highest population concentrations near Black Point. Additional mitochondrial DNA studies have suggested that the populations in this area and the source area, Black Creek Canal, stem from a single introduced snail. Examining the spread temporally highlights the rapidity with which this single colony has spread.

Because of the potential for human impact and the swiftness with which the snail reproduces it is important to monitor the location and spread of the snail. The information from this study, including public health and safety information, has been provided to the National Park Service.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009