August 8, 2008
Mud Snail is Altering Great Lakes Ecology
U.S. scientists say the New Zealand mud snail, long a problem in western states, has spread across four U.S. Great Lakes and is altering the lakes' ecology.
Pennsylvania State University scientists said the tiny snails out-compete native snails and insects but aren't good fish food replacements for the native species.
The snails can grow to about 1/4 of an inch, but are more commonly 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch in length, Levri said. In some Yellowstone National Park streams they reach population densities of 323 snails per square inch. But less dense populations are reported in the Great Lakes area.
The study that included undergraduates Warren Jacoby, Shane Lunen, Ashley Kelly and Thomas Ladson, was presented Wednesday by Levri during the Ecological Society of America's annual meeting in Milwaukee.