Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘Mobile River’

The snails are coming! The snails are coming!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 19, 2012

A case in point for this state which also plaguing Florida with pythons and boa constrictors… non-native species that populate and because they have no natural predators, become problems.

Alabama State officials believe that a few of the Amazonian snails were likely dumped into the pond after they had grown too large for a home aquarium. Pet stores sold the snails for years, but that practice is now illegal.

Amazonian snails approaching Mobile-Tensaw Delta, may be here to stay

Published: Sunday, April 15, 2012, 8:03 AM
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2012, 10:44 AM
By Ben Raines, Press-Register

A clump of Amazonian apple snail eggs clings to a cattail stem at the edge of Three Mile Creek. The Telegraph Road bridge is in the background, which is slightly less than a mile from the mouth of the Mobile River. Despite three years of control efforts, the snails appear to be colonizing the lower reaches of Three Mile Creek, creeping ever closer to the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. (Press-Register/Ben Raines)

MOBILE, Alabama — The snails are winning.

The Amazonian apple snails first discovered in Mobile’s Langan Park in 2008 have steadily expanded their range downstream in Three Mile Creek, ever closer to the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Biologists contacted by the newspaper said the snails may be here to stay, with a breeding population already too well established to eradicate.

A Press-Register survey this week found the snail’s distinctive pink egg masses in reeds surrounding the U.S. 43 bridge on Telegraph Road, less than a mile from the Mobile River, and as close to the Delta as they’ve been found.
“The farthest I’ve seen them was the trestle at the I-165 bridge, so that’s a little farther down than normal,” said Dave Armstrong, a biologist with the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. “Obviously, they’ve migrated a little farther. That’s not good news.

Armstrong said the snails remain entrenched in the pond at Langan Park despite multiple applications of copper sulfate, which is lethal to snails but not fish and other aquatic creatures. The numbers in the pond are way down from the high point two years ago, he said, but the pond remains a breeding ground.

When wildlife officials realized that baseball-sized Amazonian snails had colonized the pond, their worst-case scenario involved the giant gastropods escaping into Three Mile Creek. Biologists fear the non-native snails because they have been shown to eat 95 percent of the aquatic vegetation in some natural systems, leaving behind murky, algae-filled water.

In the fall of 2009, dozens of snails could be seen clinging to rocks in the riffles below the pond’s dam at the edge of the park. Surveys of Three Mile Creek at the time revealed Read the rest of this entry »

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