New Zealand mud snails found in three Colorado streams

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The snail breeds asexually and rapidly, crowding out native species. The species was first found in Boulder Creek in 2005, according the state Web site. The discovery was unexpected because the nearest known population was the Green River in northeast Utah. Since then, there have been confirmed reports of the snails in the South Platte River below Eleven Mile Reservoir and the Little Snake River near Dinosaur National Monument, said Jerry Neal, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Although signs have been posted along streams in the Arkansas River basin, mud snails have not been found in this area…

Just as boaters have been asked to keep their equipment clean, drained and dry while moving it from lake to lake to prevent the spread of zebra and quagga mussels, fishermen are being reminded to do the same with their gear. “The snails can be transmitted on waders and other fishing equipment, so it’s important to let fisherman know that they need to keep their equipment clean,” Neal said. Like the mussels, the snails travel from one stream to another through human activity. The snails can stow away on boats, boots, waders, nets and other fishing gear, according to the Web site. The snails are only 0.25 inches long, and nearly impossible to contain once they’ve entered an area. They survive in a wide range of temperatures and can live several days out of water. The snails pass unscathed through the digestive tracts of fish. The snails are naturally controlled by a parasite in New Zealand, but they breed out of control in the American West. One snail can produce 20-120 live offspring every three months during warmer seasons, and densities of up to 500,000 per square meter have been found in the rivers of Yellowstone National Park.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

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