Ducks Eat Sails in Taro Plants

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Cayuga ducks were imported to help control the proliferation of the golden apple snail which is devastating to taro crops in Hawaii. The snail lays eggs on the plant and feeds on the root <br />
of it causing it to wither and die. <br />
The apple snail was introduced to Hawaii in 1989 as a possible cash crop - the escargot of the tropics. It began invading taro patches in Hawaii--a traditional staple crop of native <br />
Hawaiians. <br />
The female crawls out of the water at night and lays eggs on the stalks of plants that look like a wad of pink bubblegum. A female can lay 4,000-8000 eggs that hatch--the density of <br />
snails in Hawaii has reaches 130 per square meter. <br />
Asian entrepreneurs brought the snail from Argentina or Paraguay into Taiwan and then Japan in the late '70s with hopes that it would become a culinary favorite. In the '80s it was <br />
hyped as the "miracle snail" in the Philippines and slipped into China, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and Hawaii. <br />
No one bothered to check, but the snail was not a culinary favorite among any culture. And in fact, it began creating problems for rice farmers and considered a pest--in the late '90s it <br />
cost Philippine farmers between 25-40 million dollars. <br />
There are always dangers in quick solutions when you use non-native species to battle non- native species. But the fear is that these introduced ducks from California may breed with <br />
the native ducks. Although these are allowed, no more can be imported.
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