The biological control of Pomacea canaliculata population by rice-duck mutualism in paddy fields
Duck has been used as a non-chemical control method against Pomacea canaliculata Lamarck, but little is known about its principles that underlie the control of snail populations. An indoor experiment was initially used to observe the predation potential of ducks, followed by replicated field trials. In the indoor studies, ducks effectively preyed on juvenile snails, but had a weak predatory effect on large snails and egg clusters. In the field, application of a rice-duck mutualism system significantly reduced the numbers of snails (especially number of immature individuals), number of snail egg clusters and snail damage to rice plants. The controlling effect was longer and more stable than the chemical application, resulting in a better yield than with the pentachlorophenol sodium and tea seed powder treatment. Our experimental results also suggested that the snail age structure in the rice-duck mutualism plots was shifted towards older snails by ducks preying, indicating a trend towards population decline, and ducks caused snails to oviposit on sites not ideal for hatchling establishment. Throughout the studies, it is suggested that a rice-duck mutualism system could be used for controlling P. canaliculata in organic rice production.