Invasive snail could threaten MI trout - WNEM TV 5

Invasive snail could threaten MI trout

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Source: DNR Source: DNR
MICHIGAN, (WNEM) -

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is warning of a tiny invader that is threatening prized trout streams in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula.

The New Zealand mudsnail is only 1/8-inch long and is barely distinguishable from a grain of sand.

But over time its invasive habitat can impact the quality and quantity of trout and other fish in the Au Sable, Pere Marquette and Boardman rivers where it has been found.

New Zealand mudsnails were first discovered in Idaho’s Snake River in 1987. Since then, it has spread throughout the western states and into areas of the Great Lakes.

They were found in the Pere Marquette River in August 2015, the first detection in a Michigan inland waterway.

Within the next year, they were confirmed in the Boardman and Au Sable rivers.

Click here to see the animated map illustrating the spread of the mudsnail.

The mudsnail reproduces by cloning, meaning the female develops complete embryos without fertilization and can produce more than 200 young in a year.

There are no natural predators or parasites in North America so with unchecked population growth, food for other stream invertebrate populations can become scarce.

That means fish that feed on native invertebrates may find it difficult to find enough food.

The mudsnail can be eaten by fish, but because of the thick shell they offer no nutritional value and can pass through fish alive.

Officials are working to identify how widespread the infestation is, and their impact on native wildlife.

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