An investigation into the behavioural ecology and management of the common garden snail (Cornu aspersum) and its role in the transmission of canine lung worm (Angiostrongylus vasorum)
Rogers, Adam Danny Philip
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
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Gastropods are both agricultural pests and vectors of the parasitic canine lung worm Angiostrongylus vasorum (Morgan et al. 2005; Amiri-Besheli 2009). While attempts are made to manage their numbers with molluscicides, there is a risk of damage to non-target species (Amiri-Besheli 2009). Despite human intervention gastropods are highly abundant. In this thesis I investigate the adaptations that may fuel the success of the common garden snail (Cornu aspersum). I investigate the use of a physical exclusion device in limiting gastropod damage and investigate the prevalence and impact of A. vasorum infection on defensive behaviour. I further investigate the use of conspecific trails as a form of information sharing and the metabolic impact of following these trails. I found the physical exclusion device significantly reduced gastropod number and crop damage. No conclusions could be drawn on the behavioural impact of A. vasorum infection as no infected individuals were found.. C. aspersum were found to use trails to glean information on the foraging success of conspecifics and used this information to guide their own behaviour. Unfed individuals were significantly more likely to follow trails left by fed individuals, while fed individuals showed no preference .Travelling on mucus indirectly increased locomotor efficiency as travelling on slime allowed individuals to travel faster for no added metabolic effort.
MbyRes in Biological Sciences