Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water: Here Come the Mud Snails


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New Zealand Mud Snail Wash Station by Sam Beebe, Ecotrust

Invasive Mud Snails: Stop The Spread

There are ways to stop the spread of these snails.

  • Clean boats and allow them to dry completely (for 48 hours) before taking them to another waterway.
  • Freeze boots and gear for several hours.
  • Wash dogs can be washed thoroughly, or keep them out of the water.

Check out the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife web site for more decontamination options.

In Washington State, New Zealand mud snails are listed as a “prohibited species”—it’s illegal to have one in your possession. But, there’s no way to police these things. Voluntary compliance with suggested cleaning is the best officials can hope for.

Invasive Species: Damaging to the Local Ecosystems

It’s hard to predict just how much damage New Zealand mud snails will do to local ecologies and economies—there hasn’t been much research done yet. But, with increasing global trade and climate change, scientists and officials expect more invasive species to show up in the future. Government agencies and scientists are working on protocols to stop the spread of mud snails that could also stop the spread of other aquatic invasive species, while they watch, wait, and seek, hoping not to find.


Vanderhoof, J. King County Invader: New Zealand Mud Snail. (2013). King County Department of Natural Resources. Accessed March 5, 2013.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Potamopyrgus antipodarum. (New Zealand mud snail). (2013). Accessed March 4, 2013.

Washington Invasive Species Council. New Zealand Mud Snail Fact Sheet. (2013). Accessed March 5, 2013.

Hoddle, M. New Zealand Mud Snail. (2013). Center for Invasive Species Research University of California Riverside. Accessed March 5, 2013.

Alonso, A. and P. Castro-Díez.  The exotic aquatic mud snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Hydrobiidae, Mollusca): state of the art of a worldwide invasion. (2012). Aquat. Sci. 74: 375-383. Accessed March 5, 2013. 

Benson, A. J. New Zealand mudsnail sightings distribution(2011). United States Geological Survey. Accessed March 5, 2013.

National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG). Potamopyrgus antipodarum (mollusc). (2011). Global Invasive Species Database. Accessed March 5, 2013.

New Zealand Mudsnail Management and Control Plan Working Group. National Management and Control Plan for the New Zealand Mudsnail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum). (2007). Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. Accessed March 5, 2013.

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