Mudsnails

Local Streams

This tiny mollusk is considered a serious threat to aquatic life in Capitol Lake and to the region because the snails multiply quickly, crowding out native species and severely disrupting the aquatic food web and the long-term health of affected areas.

Mudsnails Still a Problem for Capitol Lake

The invasion of Capitol Lake by New Zealand Mudsnails has caused the shoreline and waters of the lake to be closed. Fishing, wading and boating are all off limits. This tiny mollusk is considered a serious threat to aquatic life in Capitol Lake and to the region because the snails multiply quickly, crowding out native species and severely disrupting the aquatic food web and the long-term health of affected areas.

The mudsnail is small – about the size of a grain of rice when fully grown– and can live outside of water for several weeks. It is an ideal hitchhiker, attaching itself to boats, boots, and fishing tackle. The spread of these invaders has been aided by people who move between streams and lakes, hauling their gear with them.

Because of their small size, the snails can easily hide in a dog’s foot pad and get accidently transported to another lake or stream to begin a new infestation. More than 200 mudsnails were recently found under a dog’s paw print at Capitol Lake.

A recent survey confirmed that the pest has not yet spread to other parts of South Sound, but without the cooperation of the public, mudsnails could soon infest other Puget Sound water bodies.

Stream Team members can help protect our waters by helping others understand the significant threat this tiny snail poses to the entire Puget Sound region. Additional actions to control the invader are planned in the months ahead and may involve the community. Please stay tuned, as more information is available it will be sent out via the weekly Stream Team email.

Article written by Nathaniel Jones of Washington State General Administration.