Following the discovery of New Zealand mudsnails, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, in the Silver Creek watershed in Idaho, we investigated the distribution and dynamics of the snail populations over two years in field surveys. Despite extensive fishing and recreational activities in the watershed, the infestations appeared limited in extent. As with other published studies, densities of P. antipodarum were highest during summer months, but the distribution in Silver Creek was patchy. We found that near-to-below freezing winter water temperatures in localized reaches of the watershed were related to reduced populations or lack of detection. Distributions observed in winter were associated with regions of groundwater releases, or downstream of impoundments that dampened the temperature extremes observed in locations elsewhere in the watershed. We speculate that the population has remained restricted because thermal conditions are not conducive to year-round survival and growth. However, these relationships could be altered with watershed alterations or global climate change.
Additional publication details
Dynamics of Potamopyrgus antipodarum infestations and seasonal water temperatures in a heavily used recreational watershed in intermountain North America