Sunday, August 29, 2010

Have You Seen This Creature in Your Lake?

By Andrea LaMoreaux
NH Lakes Education Director
Reprinted with permission from the NH Lakes Association

If you've seen this exotic creature in one of New Hampshire's lakes, pond, rivers, or streams, NH Lakes wants to know!

What is it?
The Chinese mystery snail is a large freshwater snail that is an exotic species (meaning that it did not evolve here naturally) which has made its home in some of New Hampshire's waterbodies. Thankfully, it hasn't become a problematic, widespread invasive species in our state, at least not yet. But, we thought you might like to know about it so that you can help prevent it from becoming an unwanted pest in our lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams.

What Does It Look Like?
The Chinese mystery snail can grow up to a couple of inches in length, as measured from the lip of its shell to the tip of its whorl - roughly the size of a chicken egg. The shell is usually a uniform light to dark colored olive-green, smooth and strong, and may have up to six or seven whorls. It is often referred to as the "trapdoor snail" due to its hinged, fingernail-like plate that it uses to seal itself up to protect it from harm - including predators, drought, and unfavorable water quality conditions. It reproduces sexually and gives birth to live young, with females living up to five years and males typically living three to four years.

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