Invasive snails found in Hot Springs Village Lakes
Hot Springs, Arkansas — According to a news release, in April, a report of invasive snails in Lake Granada and Lake Estrella was made, and on May 25, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have confirmed invasive snail species.
“We collected more than 260 snails from Lake Granada and Lake Estrella within a few hours for pathology testing,” said Matt Horton, AGFC aquatic nuisance species coordinator. “A preliminary inspection of Lake Maria and Lake Sophia did not turn up any evidence of mystery snails, but that does not eliminate the possibility that they have spread to those lakes.”
According to the news release, there are three species of mystery snails, banded, Chinese, and Japanese. Invasive species compete with native species for food and other sources. Invasive species can also carry parasites that can infect native fish, mussels, and people.
“We know they are either Chinese or Japanese mystery snails, however, to reliably identify the species requires genetic testing, because physical characteristics are so similar,” Horton said. “We have preserved samples and are following up with a different laboratory to determine if we only have one of those species present or both. We don’t know exactly what effects these snails will have on some of our native mussel species, some of which are endangered or threatened and live within the Saline River system, which is downstream of these lakes.”
According to the news release, the snails will be tested at Auburn University Fish Disease Lab for analysis.
To avoid transferring invasive species, residents should clean any vegetation or debris on their boat, motor and trailer, pull drain plugs and drain the water before leaving the boat ramp, and allow their boat to dry before moving to a new waterbody, according to the news release.
“An aquarium release is likely where this infestation began,” said Matt Horton, AGFC aquatic nuisance species coordinator. “It may seem harmless to release a couple of aquarium pets into the wild, but without their native predators and environmental conditions to keep them in check, some species can quickly overtake new systems where they are introduced.”