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Parmarion martensi Simroth, 1893. Family Ariophantidae

Parmarion martensi Simroth 1893 is
a long elongate semi-slug, with a
visceral hump whose mantle flaps
mostly conceal a small oval plate-
like shell. The tail has a distinct
pale cream line (keel) ending over
a short caudal horn at body poste-
rior. The shell is often covered by
the mantle tissue and therefore is
not always directly visible. The
species is variable in body colour
ranging from pale grey to very
dark brown occasionally with an
orange tinge. It is possible these
different colour morphs may be a
different species of the same ge-
Parmarion martensi is indigenous
to south-east Asia but now distrib-
uted in the Pacific territories of Fiji,
Samoa, and Hawaii. Not yet re-
corded as established in Australia,
New Zealand or mainland USA. Re-
corded from Fiji’s three largest
islands, Viti Levu, Vanua Levu
and Taveuni. Occurrence on
more isolated islands e.g. Ro-
tuma is currently unknown. Dis-
persal has been facilitated by
humans (Barker et al. 2005) and
this species is likely to be trans-
ported within the Fijian islands
with harvested crops, horticul-
tural produce and camping
Description & Distribution
Parmarion martensi is found both
on the ground (terrestrial) and in
trees (arboreal). In Fiji, P. martensi
is often found directly on crops or
in moist leaf litter or within loose
upper soil layers. It is obviously
adaptable and can be found in all
sheltered microhabitats, both in
disturbed areas (including human
infrastructure) and relatively
“undisturbed” high priority for-
est areas e.g. Taveuni Forest Re-
serve. Found at low, mid and
high (>800m) altitudes. The
shells of dead animals are often
found in soil used for agricultural
purposes particularly after land
clearing burns.
Special Points of
Parmarion martensi
is well
established in several areas of
Fiji and is currently considered
to be Fiji’s highest risk intro-
duced land snail species.
Parmarion martensi
is consid-
ered invasive in Fiji because it is
common in relatively undis-
turbed native forest and is very
likely to out compete native
Introduced land snails in Fiji are
known vectors for the rat lung
worm parasite which may cause
illness in humans.
Parmarion martensi
Current Risk Status in Fiji:
High (invasive)
Body Type:
Semi-slug: small plate-like shell
carried on mid-posterior dorsum
Live body length to 45 mm, shell
~ 8 mm length and 5 mm width
USP Introduced Land
Snails of the Fiji
Islands Fact Sheet
Series, No. 1
Source and location of photographs:
M. Matewai & G. Brodie (Viti Levu)
Direct funding from the Critical
Ecosystem Partnership Fund
(CEPF) and a USP FSTE Grant is
gratefully acknowledged.
Simroth, 1893 Ac-
cessed January 22, 2010.
Hollingsworth, R., Kaneta, R., Sullivan, J., Bishop, H.,
Qvarnstrom, Y., da Silva, A. & Robinson, D.
(2007). Distribution of Parmarion cf. martensi
(Pulmonata: Helicarionidae), a new semi-slug
pest on Hawai’i Island and its potential as a vec-
tor for human angiostrongyliasis. Pacific Science,
61: 457-467.
Paine, M., Davis, S. & Brown, G. (1994). Severe forms
of infection with Angiostrongylus cantonensis ac-
quired in Australia and Fiji. Australian & New
Zealand Journal of Medicine, 24: 415-416.
Herbivore and detritivore. Recorded to prefer a
diet of soft plant material particularly fresh let-
tuce, papaya, hibiscus flowers and decaying
vegetables. Parmarion martensi is hermaphro-
ditic meaning it can function as both a male and
a female. Extremely hardy, readily aestivates
(shuts down) and can withstand being sealed in
a small closed container for several weeks.
Excellent climber, very active, defecates read-
ily when handled. Found singularly or in
groups. Particularly active nocturnally, but has
no obvious aversion to light or humans.
For Further Information Contact:
Dr Gilianne Brodie, Biology Division, USP,
Suva, Fiji Islands. Phone: 679 3232876,
Further Reading
Biology & Behaviour
Barker, G.M., Price, R. & Briggs, C. (2005). Priorities
for additions to the Fijian protected natural ar-
eas network: an assessment based on comple-
mentarity in land snail assemblages. New Zea-
land Landcare Research contract report pre-
pared for Wildlife Conservation Society, Suva.
162 pp.
Brodie, G. & Barker, G.M. (2011). Introduced land
snails and slugs in the Fiji Islands: are there
risks involved? Pp 32-36. In: Veitch, C. R.; Clout,
M. N. & Towns, D. R. (eds.). Island Invasives:
Eradication and Management. IUCN, Switzerland.
Cowie, R.H. (2008). Samoan Snail Project. http://
Page 2 Parmarion martensi Simroth, 1893
Parmarion martensi has a high livestock and hu-
man health risk; it is a known vector for the
nematode parasite rat lung worm Angiostrongy-
lus cantonensis which may lead to human eosi-
nophilic meningoencephalitis. Risk is also
heightened by the ready connection of the spe-
cies to human food that is not normally cooked
e.g. lettuce and papaya. Smaller specimens are
likely to have a higher parasite load
(Hollingsworth et al. 2007). Thorough washing
of fruit and vegetable produce before consump-
tion is required to avoid related parasite inges-
tion in humans. This species is a potential quar-
antine risk to non-infected trading partners and
is also likely to reduce crop yields. The relative
importance of P. martensi as a health risk, crop
pest, or as a potential competitor to native land
snails in Fiji, has yet to be fully documented.
Similar Species
The introduced slug Deroceras laeve (Müller,
1774) is less common in Fiji but similar in size
and colour to Parmarion martensi. However, D.
laeve has a very much reduced visceral hump,
with the shell entirely internal, prefers only ar-
eas with cool temperatures, and does not gener-
ally display such a distinctly vigorous, active
climbing habit.
Threats & Similar Species
How to Cite:
Brodie, G. & Barker, G.M. 2012. Parmarion martensi Sim-
roth, 1893. Family Ariophantidae. 'USP Introduced Land
Snails of the Fiji Islands Fact Sheet Series’, No. 1.
... Lissachatina fulica is considered among the world's most damaging invasive pests, because it feeds on a wide variety of agricultural crops and native plants [28] and it represents a threat to human health by acting as an intermediate host of the nematode A. cantonensis which can cause the potentially fatal disease eosinophilic meningoencephalitis [29]. Parmarion martensi is a serious pest in Hawaii and other Pacific islands [30,31] and is also a known vector of A. cantonensis [17,30]. Xerolenta obvia has been reported as a pest of fodder crops and is a serious contaminant pest of fruits and vegetables in Europe. ...
Full-text available
Invasive slugs and snails are among the most damaging pests of agriculture in temperate and tropical regions of the world. Control options, however, are limited and there is a heavy reliance on chemical molluscicides of variable efficacy. There is an ongoing need to improve management methods. Here, we show that a simple fermenting bread dough formulation (flour, water, and yeast) was effective in attracting pest mollusk species in laboratory tests, and in multiple replicated field trials in Hawaii, Oregon, and Montana. The dough attracted substantially more terrestrial pest gastropods, including invasive species of major economic importance such as Cornu aspersum, Deroceras reticulatum, Ambigolimax valentianus, Xerolenta obvia, Lissachatina fulica, and Parmarion martensi, than water controls. The dough remained attractive for at least 8 days and was significantly more attractive than a widely used metaldehyde-based bait, Deadline® M-Ps™. Thus, fermenting bread dough represents a nontoxic, generic, and effective tool to aid in managing pest gastropod infestations, either using baited traps or in attract-and-kill approaches. Given its simplicity, low cost, and the ready availability of its ingredients, the dough also has potential to be used in developing countries where access to commercial molluscicide baits is limited by cost.
Full-text available
In May 2012 Rotuma Island, the main island of the remote Rotuma Group (Fiji), was surveyed to document the composition of the non-native land snail fauna and to investigate if populations of previously recorded native land snail species persist. From sampling at nine locations, twenty-one land snail species from eleven gastropod families were found. Of these, eight species are non-native and two of these Parmarion martensi Simroth, 1893 and Quantula striata (Gray, 1834) (Ariophantidae) are new records for the Rotuma Group. Ten of the 13 species of native land snails found - including the endemic partulid Partula leefi E. A. Smith, 1897 and the rhytidid Delos gardineri (E. A. Smith, 1897) - were detected only as empty shells. The native Ouagapia perryi (E. A. Smith, 1897) and the endemic Succinea rotumana E. A. Smith, 1897 and Sinployea rotumana (E. A. Smith, 1897) remain undetected on Rotuma Island since their first collection in 1897. The non-native, invasive predatory flatworm, Platydemus manokwari, was also found and represents a major threat to the island's land snail fauna. This non-native species appears to be absent in many other parts of the Fiji Island archipelago and thus a re-evaluation of existing quarantine measures is required to address its potential spread to non-invaded areas. Comparisons with earlier surveys indicate a shift in the structure of the Rotuman land snail fauna over a 115-year period, with declining native components and increasing prevalence of non-native species. Further sampling, focusing on residual native habitat in less accessible areas such as coastal cliffs and offshore islets, is urgently needed to establish the conservation status of Rotuman native land snails and determine the threat posed by both, non-native snails and P. manokwari.
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