We explored the resilience of the invasive New Zealand mudsnail Potamopyrgus antipodarum to fluctuating winter freezing and near-freezing temperature cycles in laboratory tests. Our goal was to provide data to confirm field observations of mortality and presumed mortality in stream habitats with fluctuating freezing to near-freezing temperatures. We tested individuals from 2 locations with distinctly different thermal regimes and population densities. One location had low snail densities and water temperatures with strong diel and seasonal water variation. The other location had high snail densities and nearly constant water temperatures. Groups of individuals from both locations were tested in each of 3 laboratory-created diel thermal cycles around nominal temperatures of 0, 2, or 4°C. Mortality occurred in cycles around 0°C in both populations, and little to no mortality occurred at temperatures >0°C. Individuals from both sources held in diel 0°C cycles for 72 h showed 100% mortality. Our findings support observations from published field studies that survival was limited in infested habitats subject to freezing temperatures.
Additional publication details
Response of New zealand mudsnails Potamopyrgus antipodarum to freezing and near freezing fluctuating water temperatures