, Volume 619, Issue 1, pp 181–194 | Cite as

Introduction, distribution, spread, and impacts of exotic freshwater gastropods in Texas

  • Alexander Y. Karatayev
  • Lyubov E. Burlakova
  • Vadim A. Karatayev
  • Dianna K. Padilla
Primary research paper


We examined the patterns of distribution, vectors of introduction, and potential ecological impacts of freshwater exotic species in Texas over the last 45 years. Currently, five species of exotic gastropods are established: channeled-type applesnail (Pomacea insularum), red-rim melania (Melanoides tuberculatus), quilted melania (Tarebia granifera), giant rams-horn snail (Marisa cornuarietis), and Chinese mysterysnail (Cipangopaludina chinensis). In contrast to the northern part of the US, where shipping appears to be the most important vector for the introduction of aquatic invasive species, aquarium and ornamental trade dominated among unintentional vectors of introduction of all freshwater exotics in Texas, resulting in different patterns of distribution, spread, and ecological impacts. The rate of spread of exotic gastropods in Texas varied from 39 waterbodies colonized over 18 years for P. insularum to only three waterbodies during last 45 years for C. chinensis. Four of five exotic gastropods were found in highly vulnerable aquifer-fed springs and rivers, which contain numerous endemic and endangered species. The fifth species, Pomacea insularum, is an agricultural pest. Potential negative ecological effects of exotic gastropods include impacts on wetlands and wetland restoration, competitive exclusion of native snails, and the introduction of exotic parasites, trematodes, which could infect fish and waterfowl, including federally protected species. Aquifer springs with stable temperature regimes are refuges for both cold and warm intolerant species.


Aquatic exotic species Aquifer springs Review Vectors of introduction Pomacea insularum Melanoides tuberculatus Tarebia granifera Marisa cornuarietis Cipangopaludinachinensis 



This study was supported by the State Wildlife Grants Program (US Fish and Wildlife Service and TPWD, grant # 434351). The survey of P. insularum was funded by US Fish and Wildlife Service, Galveston Bay Estuary Program (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), and US. Department of Agriculture (APHIS). The support during the manuscript preparation for LEB was provided by the Research Foundation of SUNY. We thank David N. Hollas and Leah D. Cartwright who conducted much of the field survey of P. insularum in 2005, and Kevin D. Nichol for the survey in 2006. We are grateful to Randy Gibson and Tom Brandt (The San Marcos National Fish Hatchery & Technology Center, US Fish and Wildlife Service) for the help with sampling and for providing data on the distribution of exotic gastropods. We thank Sergey E. Mastitsky (Great Lakes Center, Research Foundation of SUNY), Michael J. Cook (Stephen F. Austin State University) and Bobbi Cook for the help with sampling and literature search. We would like to express our gratitude to Gordon W. Linam and Marsha E. May (TPWD) for their assistance and support during this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Y. Karatayev
    • 1
  • Lyubov E. Burlakova
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vadim A. Karatayev
    • 3
  • Dianna K. Padilla
    • 4
  1. 1.Great Lakes Center, Buffalo State CollegeBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.The Research Foundation of The State University of New York, Buffalo State College, Office of Sponsored ProgramsBuffaloUSA
  3. 3.City Honors SchoolBuffaloUSA
  4. 4.Department of Ecology and EvolutionStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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