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giant African land snail

giant African land snail, any of several species of large terrestrial snails of tropical Africa that have become agricultural pests in other regions of the world. The species include the giant African snail ( Lissachatina fulica, formerly Achatina fulica ) of E Africa and the giant Ghana tiger snail ( A. achatina ), the banana rasp snail ( Archachatina marginata ), and the Nigerian land snail ( Limicolaria aurora ) of W Africa. Several of the species may reach 8 in. (20 cm) in length and have shells that are brownish with yellowish vertical stripes the smaller Nigerian land snail is only 2.5 in. (6 cm) long and has whitish stripes. The snails have become widespread in the Indo-Pacific region and are also found in parts of the Caribbean and Central and South America Florida has suffered several infestations. The giant African snail is an especially damaging pest to a wide range of plants, and also can damage plaster and stucco on buildings. The snails also may carry parasitic nematodes that can cause meningitis in humans. Giant African land snails are classified in the phylum Mollusca , class Gastropoda, family Achatinidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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