BACKYARD CULTURE OF MYSTERY SNAIL (VIVIPARUS SPP.) FOR NUTRITIONAL SECURITY OF THE TRIBAL PEOPLE OF GOALPARA DISTRICT, ASSAM, INDIA

Bhaskar Pathak
Assistant Professor
             Department of Zoology, Dudhnoi College, Dudhnoi, Assam, India
&
 Dr.Tapan Chandra Kalita
Associate Professor
    Department of Zoology, Dudhnoi College, Dudhnoi, Assam, India
 
Abstract
The present experiment was carried out to study the assessment of ecology and breeding behavior of Mystery Snail in culture environment. The study indicates that the artificial culture of Mollusks especially Mystery Snail is environmentally feasible and economically viable in this region. The present work emphasizes the need of awareness for conservation through cultural practices of this edible and economically important species, which contributes to sustainable development of the area with self- employment generation at least to some extent. To development of a technology package for production of edible fresh water snail at the backyard of the landless and marginal farm families is the need of the day for their nutritional and food security.
 
Key words:    Heliciculture, Environmentally feasible, Economically viable, Mystery Snail

1.Introduction:

Mystery Snail or Bellamyia bengalensis (Lamarck) locally it is known as “Dhan Hamuk” or “Jati Shamuk” in Assamese, “Mai Khamuk” in Bodo in “Soka” in Garo language, commonly called Pond Snail which is included diet in most of the tribal peoples of Goalpara district. This species is abundantly found in beels, swamps, marshes, ditches, paddy fields, streams, ponds etc. where aquatic vegetation like echornia, Hydrilla, Vallisneria, Pistia, Salvania, some algae (spirogyra), Hygrozoa, Azolla, Nymphaea, Jussica, Tripa, Enhydra, lemna, scirpus, Arundo, lessrsia, ophiurous, oryza, phragmites, Vetiveria, Hymmachne etc. which gives shelter, protection and food. The villagers normally collect this snail species from the natural water bodies. Indiscriminate capture of snails has resulted into sharp decline of snail population status in the natural water bodies and thereby deteriorating the detritus food chain of aquatic eco-system. As the snail is the tertiary from of the detritus food chain (Tenore, 1988), decline in snail population is an alarming situation in terms of environment and biodiversity. There are very few studies on mollusks diversity, although they are an important component of the aquatic community in rice fields. Simpson et. al, (1994) have documented the dynamics of benthic Mollusks in rice fields in Philippine. Naylor (1996) has given a comprehensive account on the invasion of Golden Apple snail in rice field of Asia. Several freshwater snail species to family Viviparidae, Physidae, Thiaridae, Lymnidae and Psilidae are sold in market and retail price ranges from Rs. 150.00 to 200.00 per kg.

Continues gathering of snails from natural water bodies with added anthropogenic interference like intensification of agriculture, livestock rearing, gathering of fodder and fuel woods etc. shall result in farther deterioration of fresh water ecosystem besides decline in snail population. This is likely to change the biodiversity. The change in biodiversity has implication for the food security and livelihood of the population that depends on the natural water bodies (Baruah et al, 2003). Aylward (1991) stated biodiversity is an important component in the economic valuing of the wetlands. About eight species of snails are edible and sold in the market of Goalpara district. There are very few studies on mollusks diversity, although they are an important component of the aquatic community in rice fields. Although many tribes of this locality traditionally consume snails, no effort has yet been made for its commercial production. Preliminary studies on breeding of Mystery snails conducted by Krishi Viayan Kendra Goalpara reveals that it can be propagated by the farmers in the culture environment itself (KVK Goalpara, 2009).

It is realized that to cater the tribal population with their traditional food delicacy of snails, introduction of fresh water snail farming is imperative. Therefore, it is initiated to work out the development of a technology package for production of edible fresh water snail, particularly Mystery snail at the backyard of the landless and marginal farm families is the need of the day for their Nutritional and food security. To encounter with the situation the artificial propagation of the species is urgently emphasized. Therefore this study has been initiated to work out the natural habite of this species with an intention of its application for artificial propagation and conservation of the species.
2.Objectives

The present work is designed with the following objectives:
  1. To study the use of mystery snail as traditional food by the different tribes of Goalpara.
  2. To assess the ecology and Biology of the species.
  3. To develop a package of practices for culture of mystery snail at backyard.
  4. To conserve the species through awareness.
3.Materials and Methods
 
The Natural habitat of viviparous surveyed in various study sites. Concrete cistern has been constructed for snail culture trials to study the breeding behavior in controlled condition.

Experimental trials: Four sets of trial were conducted viz., Trial-I (T1): (a) 1m × 3m × 0.5m plastic lined earthen pit, (b) Trial-II (T): 1m × 1.5m × 0.5m plastic line earthen pit (c) Trial-III (T): 1m × 1m × 0.5m Traditional circular earthen pot and (d) Trial-IV (T) control (Natural Environment).

Sample collection : Water samples are collected fortnightly at random from the cultural trials tank of each study culture trials tank and recorded the monthly average value of different parameters from June, 2013 to May, 2014. Mercury glass thermometer and digital pH meter (Hanna instruments, Model No. S 358238) used to record temperature and pH of water respectively.

Dissolved Oxygen (DO) is determined by following modified Winkler (1998) method.

Free carbon dioxide (FCo2), Total Alkalinity (TA), Total hardness (TH), Calcium hardness, Magnesium hardness, Chloride and dissolved organic matter (DOM) concentration are determine by following the standard methods of APHA (2007).
Structured interview were conducted using questionnaire standardized through judges rating. Personal visit and semi structure interview were conducted during the study period. The Major rural and sub- urban market yards in the district have been surveyed for inflow and outflow of snail in different seasons.

All the experimental procedure carried out in the department of Industrial Fishery and Zoology Department of Dudhnoi College, Goalpara, Assam.

4.Result and discussion:

Study revealed that Mystery Snail (Viviparus Spp.) could be culture in the artificial environmental condition and breeding trials in concrete cistern were found satisfactory. Artificial culture of Mystery Snail has been successfully conducted in concrete cistern during the study period. Some selective aquatic vegetation were introduced in to the tank to create a congenial environment. They were vegetarians and feed an aquatic plants  like Echorina, Hydrilla, Vallisneria, Pistia, Salvania and certain algae ( like spirogyra). In general they prefer soft and digestible vegetation. Breeding session was start from March to July. Eggs were laid by the female in Masses in Moist earth near to water sources. In artificial condition a high land was made within the cistern where grasses were grown and the female laid their eggs in mosses. The Mean fecundity of the studied species has been recorded as 350 which was ranges from 200-600 during present investigation. The fecundity in both natural and artificial environments were to be almost similar (Table 1).

Table 1: Fecundity rate and unfertilized egg in various culture environment

Experiment  No.

Total No. of (fecundity) eggs

Fertilization in (%)

Total No. Survival good eggs

Total No. of damage or unfertilized egg

T1

316

50

152.2

164.1

T2

310

45

139.5

170.5

T3

350

54

189.0

161.0

T4

420

64

286.8

151.2

The agro-climatic condition of the district offers a congenial environment for snail culture. The present study clearly indicates that the artificial culture of Mollusks especially the Mystery snail is environmentally feasible and economically viable in this region as a whole and in the district in particular. The artificial culture of this non conventional non piscean fishery may provide the additional field of aquaculture in this region.
 
The physico-chemical parameters of water quality of both natural and control environment play a crucial role in culture systems. The range of parameters during experiments are: water temperature 18.0-33.0, pH in 6.0-8.9; Water transparency (in cm) 42.0-95.0; Dissolved Oxygen(mg L-1) 4.2-9.0; Free carbon dioxide (mg L-1) 1.0-6.4; Total alkalinity (mg L-1) 34.0-95.0; Total hardness (mg L-1) 25.0-140.0; Dissolved organic matter (mg L-1) 2.26-5.68; Calcium (mg L-1) 9.0-26.0 and Magnesium (mg L-1) 7.0-18.0. The water quality indicates the productive range of value and habitats of the studied organisms are found in normal productive range. There is no culture system exist in the district. The landing position of the Mystery Snail in the weekly markets throughout the year varies greatly. Market survey conducted in rural and semi urban markets in tribal areas of district revealed that nearly a quintal fresh water snail is sold in each market. About eight species of snails are edible and sold in market. The sellers elicited that they collect the snails mostly from Beels, Swamps, Paddy fields and other natural water bodies. Generally tribal women are engaged in this trade. Reviews of various studies on production economics reveal that it is a low input high returned enterprise (Barman et al 2009). Survey on existing literature revealed that no package of technology for snail farming is released so far. Even the landless farmer can operate heliciculture. In many parts of the globe snail farming has become is a remunerative enterprise. It is realized that to cater the tribal population with their traditional food delicacy of snails, introduction of fresh water snail farming is imperative. But, the primary inputs viz., seed and feed are not readily available. Breeding of Mystery Snails reveals it can be propagated by the farmers in the culture environment itself. For taking up snail farming as an rural enterprise, feed appears to be the critical inputs. Recommendation of an effective formulated feed and feeding method is the key factor for promotion of snail farming. Development of a technology package for production of edible fresh water snail at the backyard of the landless and marginal farm families is the need of the day for their nutritional and food security.


4.1 Policy Implication
From the present investigation, following suggestions may be forwarded for the conservations of the species.
  1. Cultural practice is the only way for conservation.
  2. The artificial culture has a great prospect for small farming and self  employment for the unemployment youth the region hence more attention should be given for awareness and motivation of the mass for its culture and conservation in the region
  3. Awareness should be campaigned for conservation of the species through the conservation of natural aquatic resources like wetlands, stream, dam, water loges etc. in the region and Goalpara district in particular.
  4. More attention should be given in the field of this study, artificial breeding and culture.
5.Conclusion

The market study revealed that there good market of these non- Piscean species in the district. Moreover the cultural practice during the project work it seems that all these species can easily be culture in concrete cistron.The agro climatic condition of the district offers a congenial environment for snail diversity. Analysis of water qualities of the natural habitats exhibits a normal range of productivity of the water bodies. The breeding practices also revealed positive response with a good fecundity. Therefore this projects work indicates that there is a good prospect for the culture of the Mystery snail in the region.
 
The artificial culture of this non –conventional non Piscean fishery may provide the additional field of aquaculture in this region. This may constitute for self employment and small scale farming as well as in the maintenance of health through producing protenious food. It also contributes to sustainable development of the area and national growth at least to some extent.
 
The present study  would also help in (a) the production of snail meat which in turn will reduce the pressure on the environment, (b) attaining the nutritional security through production of traditional food items, and (c) introduction of new rural enterprise which will generate income and employment especially for tribal people.

Acknowledgements

The Authors are grateful to Dr. Gopal phukan, Principal, Dudhnoi College for providing opportunity to work and support extended. Special thank to P. K. Sharma, HoD, Deptt. Of Zoology and industrial fish and fishery for providing the necessary laboratory facilities.

References
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  • I.C. Simpson, P.A. Roger, R. Official, and I.F. Grant, 1994). Effects of nitrogen fertilizer and pesticide management on floodwater ecology in a wetland rice field. III. Dynamics of benthic mollusks. Biol. Fertil. Soils. 18: 219-227. 
  • KVK Goalpara. “Annual Report of Krishi vigyan Kendra, National Research Centre on Pig”, Dudhnoi: Indian Council of  Agricultural Research, 2009-10.
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  • R. Tenore Kenneth (1988). Naitrogen in Benthic Food Chain Naitrogen Chcling in Costal Marine Environment. Ed. T.H. Blachkburn and J. Sorensen. 1988 Scope. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
  • G.T. Tonapi (1980). Fresh water animals of India (An ecological approach) Pennakes Robert W. 1953 Fresh water invertebrates.
  • U.K. Baruah, A.K. Bhabowati, R.K. Talukdar, and P.K. Saharia, (2000). Beel Fisheries of Assam: Community – based Co- management Imperative. Naga, The ICLARM Quarterly. 23 (2), pp. 37-41.
 

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