Photographer:Dylan Parker Source:www.flickr.com Copyright: CC BY-SA 2.0
The rosy wolfsnail has a light brown elongated shell and a light grey or brown body. Its lower tentacles are long and almost touch the ground. The shell is often 40 to 50 mm in maximum dimension but can sometimes be as large as 60 or even 70 mm. The immature snails have a shorter shell and can be almost appear yellow in color.
Predatory snails such as the rosy wolf snail, Euglandina rosea, will attack slugs, and may account, in part, for the relatively low slug densities in Florida and other states. Euglandina rosea prefers snails to slugs, but will attack and consume small slugs in the absence of snail prey. Smaller prey species can even be digested whole given the rosy wolfsnail the nickname “the cannibal snail”. Due to its voracious and predaceous appetite the rosy wolfsnail is a fierce invasive gastropod that can severely threaten native gastropods. For Hawaii it is thought that the rosy wolfsnail is responsible for causing the extinction of 1/3 of the native gastropods.
Euglandina rosea is a cross-fertilizing hermaphroditic. This means that even though each individual snail is both male and female they require a “partner” for fertilization. Rosy wolfsnail can lay approximately 25 - 40 eggs a year. The eggs hatch after 30 days and the individuals that emerge can live up to 2 years.
Euglandina rosea is native to some southeastern United States, and is quite common in woodlands and gardens in Florida. In Texas, it is thought to only be native within the Piney Woods ecoregion; however, its predatory appetite can cause issues making it invasive to habitats throughout the state and should be removed. It has been relocated to other parts of the world, including Hawaii (in 1955), in an attempt to control invasive snails such as giant African land snail, Achatina fulica. Unfortunately, that management strategy backfired because the Rosy Wolfsnail had a preference for native snail populations, so its use is discouraged outside its natural range.
Tropical North America and AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC and SC
U.S. Habitat: Euglandina rosea can be found in hardwood forests, roadsides and urban gardens.
U.S. Present (invasive): CA, HI and TX
According to the Global Invasive Species Database (issg.org), Euglandina rosea is considered one of the world's 100 worst invaders. The presence of Euglandina rosea has been strongly linked to the extinction and decline of numerous snail species in every area where it has been introduced. Conservationists are working to prevent the further spread of Euglandina rosea. “Exclosures” have been built in Hawaii and French Polynesia to prevent E. rosea from attacking native tree snails. These barriers are somewhat successful but require constant monitoring and maintenance.
While it is sometimes considered Native in eastern parts of Texas, it has harmful and invasive habits making it very important to limit their populations in your yard to protect other species. DO NOT KEEP AS A PET! A toxic bait using snails from the genus Pomacea is being tested in Hawaii; however, these snails should be susceptible to Organic slug bait. If you have domestic animals, it is important to have slug bait that is made with iron-phosphate based and NOT Metaldehyde because those are toxic to all animals. Even if you are using organic slug bait, please limit exposure to your pets.
Auffenberg, K. & Stange, L.A. 2001. Snail-eating snails of Florida, Gastropoda. University of Florida.
Barker G.M. 2004. Natural Enemies of Terrestrial Molluscs. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK. 644
Régnier C., Fontaine, B. & Bouchet, P. 2009. Not knowing, not recording, not listing: numerous unnoticed mollusk extinctions. Conservation Biology 23(5):1214–1221.