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New Zealand Mud Snails


New Zealand Mud Snails

New zealand Mud Snails

It has been proven in Colorado and throughout the West that very small snails have invaded streams and rivers for the second time around, arousing concerns that the invertebrate, which is fast-spreading, could oust species which are native to the area and threaten the health of the region’s marine ecosystem in the long-run.

Potamopyrgus antipodarum or New Zealand Mud Snails, which are endemic to the Southern Hemisphere, were discovered recently in the Elevenmile Canyon of the South Platte River just below Elevenmile Reservoir Dam.


In the autumn of 2005 they were first found in Boulder Creek, on the Boulder’s northeast. The find was a bit unexpected, but not really surprising because the closest known mud snail population is in northeastern Utah’s Green River.

Biologists of the U.S. first came upon the snails approximately 20 years ago in the Snake River of Idaho. Apart from Colorado, they have disseminated into California, Montana, Oregon, Arizona, Wyoming, and Utah, even in Yellowstone National Park.

The population in Lake Ontario is the only other known one in the United States within Canada’s southeastern area and New York.


Biologists in Colorado had centered their attention in Colorado’s northwest because they were worried the snails might disseminate from Utah’s downstream. However, so far, there have been no supported accounts that the snails have disseminated into Colorado’s Green River.

Experts believe that the New Zealand mud snails might have been brought in to North America by ships of European origin sailing into the Great Lakes. The snails have infested rivers and streams all over Europe, and seem to be making their way across North America.


Although the mud snails can attach themselves to fowl and other wildlife, human deeds are some other possible way to spread these snails. Biologists suggest that these organisms can hide on boats and other crafts used for water, as well as on boots, nets, waders, and other fishing equipment.

New Zealand mud snails are almost impossible to control once they have encroached upon a marine ecosystem.

For example they are so tiny (only about six millimeters in length) that it is impossible to skim them from waters.

Very tough, the snails can live for many days out of water and can resist a wide scope of temperatures.

The miniscule invertebrates can even pass unharmed through a fish’s digestive tracts. Since they are self-multiplying and give birth to their progeny “live”, their off-springs come out as well-developed clones, and you only need one New Zealand mud snail to begin a new colony in a river or stream.

Mud Snails in New Zealand

These nonsexual capabilities of reproduction ensure their survival in the long-run.

The Wildlife division of Colorado is attempting to limit the dissemination of the snails to other Colorado streams, through efforts of outreach and through the guidelines discussed and planned out in a management plan for the New Zealand mud snail.

Astonishingly, mud snails that have infested the Western United States are all females and do not necessitate males to procreate. Put differently, they are a clonal and parthenogenic species.



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