Food Utilisation in a Laboratory Colony of the Giant African Land Snail, Archachatina marginata (Swainson) (Pulmonata: Achatinidae)


Abstract: This study investigates food consumption by juveniles and adults of the edible giant land snail Archachatina marginata under laboratory conditions. In one experiment, the snails were fed weekly from hatching for 13 months with weighed amounts of lettuce (Lactuca sativa), carrot (Daucus carota), potato (Solanum tuberosum), apple (Malus pumila), and calcium. Another group of 2-month-old A. marginata ovum was fed singly for 3 days on each of the test food items. The results show that, when given a choice, A. marginata can select from the 4 types of food and calcium. When given no choice, lettuce provided high digestibility and usability for the juvenile A. marginata but potato gave the best growth. The monthly consumption of calcium increased as the shell length was increasing rapidly until month 5, thereafter declining gradually, until from month 8 onwards the snails consumed very little calcium per month.

Keywords: Food utilisation, growth, laboratory colony, land snail, Archachatina marginata

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