Invasive snails attract visiting limpkins to Louisiana

Usually seen in Florida, limpkins have been seen in growing numbers in Louisiana, apparently attracted by invasive apple snails. Credit: Jack Rogers/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

A Florida bird is making inroads in Louisiana, possibly attracted by another outsider—the invasive apple snail. The first limpkin in Louisiana was spotted in 2017, reports Houma Today, and their population appears to be growing. This month, biologists at Nicholls State University are conducting the first-ever limpkin census in the state. The researchers are surveying 15 different sites across three Louisiana parishes.

Biologists believe the limpkins (Aramus guarauna) came in search of the apple snail (Pomacea maculata). An invasive species from South America, the snail likely arrived in Louisiana in 2006 after being dumped from aquariums, and it has been damaging farms and ecosystems ever since. Apple snails reproduce rapidly, though, so biologists don’t think the limpkins will make a dent in their numbers.

“There are just too many snails,” graduate student Casey Greufe said.

Read more from Houma Today.