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The New Zealand mud snail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum): autecology and management of a global invader

Abstract

The New Zealand mud snail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum; NZMS) is among the most globally widespread aquatic invaders, occurring in 39 countries and 5 continents. Herein we provide a systematic review of 245 articles, focusing on the ecological impacts, spatial distribution, population dynamics, vectors of spread, and management of invasive NZMS. Most NZMS introductions originate from already-established invasive populations, which represent a small number of clonal lineages. The invasion success of NZMS stems from opportunistic traits, and while their tolerance of broad ranges of environmental conditions facilitates spread, optimal conditions for successful NZMS establishment are evident: stable hydrology, slow water velocity, high specific conductivity, and moderate salinity. NZMS can become exceptionally abundant, driving the greatest secondary-production rates reported for any stream invertebrate. However, NZMS populations fluctuate seasonally and over longer time scales, with marked declines observed after population booms. Minimal genetic variation within and among invasive populations and minimal incidences of predation/parasitism suggest that environmental factors constrain populations. As detritivore-herbivores, NZMS impact multiple compartments of aquatic ecosystems and their functioning. NZMS alter invertebrate and algal communities and can resist digestion by many fish species, reducing fish condition. This lack of digestion combined with expanding NZMS populations suggest that snail-eating fish are unlikely to regulate NZMS populations and may aid in local range expansion. Management programs and technologies have recently emerged to assist resource managers, including advances in environmental DNA detection methods and effective chemical decontamination treatments. The objective of this review is to contribute to a more robust understanding of the global NZMS invasion, such that undesired impacts can be minimized or averted.

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Acknowledgements

This review was supported by a U.S. EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative award to JG and an award to ST through the State of Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program. We thank Martin Haase  and an anonymous reviewer for their  review of the manuscript. We thank the handling editor for providing comments and suggestions for improving the manuscript, and we thank Seth Herbst and Lucas Nathan of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for comments on an earlier draft. Lastly, we thank Cathy Starnes and Jan Bills at Oakland University, and Danielle Typinski and Nichol DeMol at Trout Unlimited for administrative support.

Funding

This study was funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative under Grant Agreement No [00E02213-2] to JG, and by the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program under Grant Award No [IS16-6005] to ST.

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Conceptualization of original idea: JA Geist, SD Tiegs, DL Strayer; Literature search, summarizing and synthesizing results: JA Geist, JL Mancuso, MM Morin, KP Bommarito, EN Bovee; Writing of manuscript: JA Geist, SD Tiegs; Revising, formatting, and editing of manuscript: all authors.

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Correspondence to Jeremy A. Geist.

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Geist, J.A., Mancuso, J.L., Morin, M.M. et al. The New Zealand mud snail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum): autecology and management of a global invader. Biol Invasions 24, 905–938 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-021-02681-7

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Keywords

  • Potamopyrgus antipodarum
  • New Zealand mud snail
  • Invasive species
  • Impacts
  • Distribution
  • Management