Survival of the exotic Chinese mystery snail (Cipangopaludina chinensis malleata) during air exposure and implications for overland dispersal by boats


The exotic Chinese mystery snail (Cipangopaludina chinensis malleata) has invaded lakes and rivers across North America and is particularly widespread in northern Wisconsin. Although deliberate introductions and aquarium releases have likely been important, recreational boats may speed the spread of this snail into lakes. Prior research indicated boater access to be a significant predictor of invasion by C. chinensis and other invasive species in Wisconsin. To mimic the process of boater transport between lakes, I examined the tolerance of juvenile C. chinensis to air exposure in a series of field and laboratory experiments. Field experiments under mesic conditions indicated that this snail can survive exposure to air for at least 4 weeks. Larger juveniles were more resistant than smaller juveniles, an effect that was also observed in the laboratory during short-term (3–14 days) experiments. Tolerance of small juveniles to air exposure appeared to be unaffected by temperature, but was affected by humidity, with higher survival at 64% than 34% relative humidity (RH). Results from the current study suggest that C. chinensis is highly resistant to air exposure and could be readily transported by boats moving between lakes, particularly in cool mesic environments. Since juvenile C. chinensis are common around the roots of emergent macrophytes, hitchhiking with boats should be particularly common with boats or trailers infested with aquatic plants.



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Bellamya, Desiccation, dispersal, invasive species, recreational boats, tolerance to air exposure

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