MANCHAC -- State officials are taking notice of the spread of apple snails in the Manchac area and asking the public to keep an eye out for them. 

Apple snail eggs carry a toxin that can cause serious health issues, according to researchers with the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (DWF).

The apple snail, or Ampullariidae, is a family of large freshwater snails, according to the U.S. Aquatics Nuisance Task Force.

It has both a gill and a lung, with the mantle cavity being divided in order to separate the two respiratory structures. This adaptation allows these snails to be amphibious.

The snail can reach 5 inches in diameter and its shell color ranges from black to yellow and gray, the task force said.

The apple snail first appeared in Louisiana in 2006 near Gretna and has spread to the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary, according to the DWF.

Its eggs are coated in a slime-like substance and carry a harmful parasite called rat lungworm, DWF said.

These bright pink egg cases – with 200 to 600 eggs – contain a powerful neurotoxin, researchers say, so don’t touch them.

It is against the law to collect live apple snails, according to a DFW news release, but the public can kill them.

Crush the shells and eggs and knock them into the water, the release said.

Outdoorsmen should check their boats and trailers for any eggs so they are not transferred to other waterways.

If someone finds apple snails or their egg cases, note the location and report to Bobby Reed, DWF aquatic nuisance species coordinator, at (225) 765-3977 or breed@wlf.la.gov.

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