This week’s article looks at the Faucet Snail – a freshwater species native to Europe.
The species was first recorded outside of its native habitat, in the Great Lakes, in the 1870’s. It was first found in Lake Michigan, and by 1892 had spread to Lake Ontario and the Hudson River. Its range in now extends to areas of Pennsylvania, New York, Wisconsin and Quebec.
It is thought to have been transported to the region by ships travelling from Europe – though interestingly not in ballast water, but rather in ballast timber which was commonly used up until the use of steel-hulled ships overtook the production of wooden-hulled ships around 120 years ago, facilitating the use of ballast water.
Faucet snails are problematic for biodiversity as they out-compete native species, therefore having a knock on effect on the rest of the food pyramid. They are also carriers of various parasites, which can be fatal for ducks and coots.
(Picture courtesy of northcountrypublicradio.org)