A shipment of aluminum sheets from China had to be fumigated at the port of Baltimore this week after a snail species never seen locally before was spotted on the outside of a shipping container, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The Acusta sp. snail species could have posed "a significant agriculture threat because they cause damage by feeding on agricultural and horticultural crops as well as native plants, thereby lowering crop yields and crop quality," CBP officials said Wednesday.
It was spotted on Sept. 10 and collected for official identification by a malacologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The shipment was "safeguarded."
On Monday, confirmation of the species was received, and the shipment was fumigated and released, CBP said.
Nationally, CBP officials intercept 440 insect pests every day. In May, a moth species never before seen in the area was spotted in a shipment of Chinese soybeans at the port. In March, a slug species never before seen in the region was found in a shipment of Mexican mint at Washington Dulles International Airport that was bound for Elkridge.