Tracking the invasive mudsnail
Author: Office of Marketing and Communications
Posted: November 15, 2005

Researchers in PSU's Center for Lakes and Reservoirs have a couple of serving suggestions for the New Zealand mudsnail: frozen, dried, or marinated in a toxic bath of Formula 409—anything to help prevent the spread of this miniature menace from Down Under.

Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, PSU researchers distributed “wanted” cards with information about the mudsnail, and have since found occurrences of the creature in the lower Deschutes River near the Oregon fly-fishing hotspot of Maupin, the first sighting in that area.

The New Zealand mudsnail, though averaging only one-eighth inch in length, can quickly propagate to densities of 50,000 per square foot, literally blanketing riverbeds, crowding out existing species and wreaking havoc on native plant and fish populations. With a “hatchdoor” known as an operculum, the New Zealand mudsnail can seal itself inside a shell—allowing survival out of water or through a predator's digestive tract. Early detection of the species, which first appeared in the West in the 1980s, is critical to controlling its spread.

The Center for Lakes and Reservoirs at PSU provides technical assistance, education, and research on management of lakes and reservoirs with an emphasis on management of aquatic invasive species.