Biological Invasions

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 1769–1780 | Cite as

Rapid range expansion of an invasive predatory snail, Oxychilus alliarius (Miller 1822), and its impact on endemic Hawaiian land snails

  • Patrick A. Curry
  • Norine W. Yeung
  • Kenneth A. Hayes
  • Wallace M. MeyerIII
  • Andrew D. Taylor
  • Robert H. Cowie
Original Paper


The invasive predatory snail Oxychilus alliarius is established in many locations around the world including the Hawaiian Islands. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it negatively impacts indigenous snail species where it has been introduced, although such impacts have not been quantified. On the Hawaiian island of Oahu, we tested the hypothesis that indigenous snails, especially small ones (<3 mm in maximum dimension), would be less abundant where O. alliarius had established populations. Fifty-six sites at four locations were repeatedly surveyed for snails between July 2010 and April 2011. The composition of the snail fauna differed in relation to O. alliarius abundance, as well as location. Notably, the abundance of the native Succineidae was negatively related with that of O. alliarius. The abundance of the native Tornatellidinae was significantly related to O. alliarius abundance but this relationship differed among locations, negative at one site and positive at the other three; these snails do not appear to be negatively impacted by O. alliarius. We also monitored the rate of expansion of a newly introduced O. alliarius population along a transect through a bog on the summit of Oahu’s highest mountain, Mt. Kaala. The population’s range expanded linearly between 2008 and 2011 by approximately 300 m (mean c. 113 m/year). This is the first attempt to quantify the impacts of O. alliarius on threatened native island snail faunas. While the results are complex, its high abundance, rapid rate of population expansion and probable negative impacts on certain species caution vigilance in preventing its introduction and spread to as yet uninvaded islands and locations.


Oxychilus alliarius Hawaiian Islands Invasive Succineidae Predation Snails 



This study was funded in part by National Science Foundation Grant DEB-1120906 and a grant from the Oahu Army Natural Resources Program. We thank Jaynee Kim, Torsten Durkan, Dylan Ressler, Kelsey Coleman, David Sischo, Travis Skelton, Vincent Costello, and Stephanie Joe for help conducting field surveys, Chris Lepczyk for discussion, and the Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Natural Area Reserve System for permits.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pacific Biosciences Research CenterUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Bishop MuseumHonoluluUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiologyHoward UniversityWashingtonUSA
  5. 5.Bernard Field Station, Department of BiologyPomona CollegeClaremontUSA

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