Critter of the Month: Mystery Snail Watch

Mystery Snail Watch

Chinese, Japanese and Banded Mystery Snails

Chinese (Cipangopaludina chinensis), Japanese (C.japonica), and banded mystery snails (Viviparus georgianus) can form dense populations and outcompete native species for food and habitat in lakes and streams. They are intermediate hosts for parasitic worms and can transmit trematodes that kill waterfowl. Banded mystery snails (BMS) prey on fish embryos. Shells often litter shorelines and clog screens of water intakes.

Native to Asia, Chinese (CMS) and Japanese mystery snails (JMS) were shipped to California in the late 1800s for Asian seafood markets. CMS were likely released from aquaria into the Niagara River in the 1930;s JMS were stocked in Lake Erie as food for channel catfish in the 1940’s BMS were released into the Hudson River in 1867. Historically, they spread due to release by aquarists and consumers who purchased them from live food markets. Some speculate, without evidence, that young may spread by bait buckets and boat bilges. They can survive without water for days by closing their shells. Eradicating mystery snails is nearly impossible. Your action and your help in reporting new infestations are vital for preventing thrie spread.


What you can do to help:

*Learn to recognize Mystery Snail Watch.

* Inspect and remove visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud from boat, motors and trailers before transport.

* Drain lake or river water from bilge, livewell and motor before leaving access.

* Dispose of unwanted live bait, worms and fish parts in the trash.

* Never dump live fish or live bait into another body of water. If it didn’t start in there it doesn’t belong in there, take it back with you.

* Rinse boat and equipment with high pressure, hot water, AND/OR

* Dry everything for a minimum of five days or more before reuse.

* Report suspected new sightings – not exact location; wrap a plant/animal/mussel fragment in a wet paper towel, place in a sealed plastic bag; and call the Minnesota Sea Grant Program in Duluth, (210-726-8712; or a Minnesota DNR Invasive Species Specialist (see, 1-888-MINNDNR or (651) 259-5100.

Reminder: Know the rules!

Specimens are needed to confirm sightings, but some jurisdictions prohibit possession and transport of invasive aquatic plants and animals. Unauthorized introduction of plants, fish, or invertebrates into the wild is illegal. Protect your property and our waters.


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