New Zealand Mud Snail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum)

 

 New Zealand mud snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Stylommatophora: Hydrobiidae) - 5430932

(Photo credit: Mike Gangloff, Bugwood.org)

Mike Gangloff

This species can be found in many types of aquatic habitats.They feed on dead and dying plant and animal material, algae, and bacteria. This snail was first discovered in Idaho in 1987. Being that a single snail can produce approximately 230 young per year, they have spread rapidly since.  Interestingly, all introduced populations in North America are clonal, meaning they are all genetically identical females. New Zealand mud snail can currently be found in New York State in Lake Ontario, and was likely introduced there by the ballast water of ships.

Impacts

Populations of introduced New Zealand mud snail out compete other native snail species, reducing biodiversity. Populations can persist at very high densities which alter nutrient flows and has the potential to befoul complex power and water facilities.

Identification

 Very small, aquatic snail, elongate shell consists of 5 to 6 right handed whorls. The shell is light to dark brown. The average length is usually 4-6 mm in introduced locations but may reach 12 mm in its native range.

For more information visit:

http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=1008

http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=449