Invasive Apple Snail Removal at Red Mountain Lake
The Arizona Game and Fish Department (Department) conducted an invasive Apple Snail removal at Red Mountain Lake on November 15, 2016. Apple Snails were first confirmed in Red Mountain Lake in 2015. How did they get there? The most likely scenario is someone illegally dumped their aquarium full of Apple Snails into the lake. Apple Snails are native to Rio Parana and Argentina in South America. They can quickly infest a lake because they reproduce very rapidly. One Apple Snail female can produce up to 15,000 offspring per year. Not to mention, they also present a major risk to native wetland ecosystems by altering native freshwater habitats significantly through competition for food and space as well as affecting nutrient fluxes. Humans should be cautious when handling Apple Snails. These snails are an intermediate host for the rat lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis), a nematode that can cause meningitis in humans.
This is the Departments fifth Apple Snail removal effort at Red Mountain Lake. During the survey, 3 canoes were used to look for Apple Snails focusing around aquatic vegetation. Any adults found were removed most often using nets to scoop them up off the bottom. Biologists also knocked any Apple Snail egg mass that were on vegetation into the water. Apple Snails lay egg masses on vegetation above the water because egg masses need to remain dry until hatching. The effort took 3 hours and resulted in the removal of over 200 adult Apple Snails and destroyed approximately 100 egg masses.
Please help us in our effort to stop the spread of invasive species by not dumping any aquatic species in our lakes and streams. Learn more about Apple Snails and aquatic invasive species that are in Arizona. Learn how you can stop the spread of aquatic invasive species!