Ecology of the invasive New Zealand mud snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Hydrobiidae), in a mediterranean-climate stream system
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The New Zealand mud snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, is a widely distributed non-native species of management concern on four continents. In a southern California stream, P. antipodarum abundance, which ranged from ca. <10 to nearly 150,000 snails m−2, was related to discharge and temperature patterns. Laboratory experiments indicated that P. antipodarum (1) survivorship decreased from 13 to 27°C, but its growth rate was higher at 13 and 20°C than 27°C; (2) grazing rates were similar to those of native algivores in short-term trials; (3) grazing impact was greater than that of a native hydrobiid snail in longer-term trials; (4) ingested different diatom sizes than some other grazers; (5) reduced the abundances of medium-sized and large diatoms, and several filamentous cyanobacteria and chlorophytes, while increasing the relative abundances of tough filamentous chlorophytes (e.g., Cladophora); (6) impact on other grazing invertebrates was species specific, ranging from competition to facilitation; (7) reduced the survivorship of Anaxyrus boreas tadpoles; and (8) was consumed by non-native Procambarus clarkii and naiads of Aeshna and Argia. Ecological effects of introduced P.antipodarum are subtle, occurring primarily at transitory high densities, but flow regulation may enhance their effects by eliminating high flows that reduce their population sizes.