The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Potamopyrgus antipodarum
Potamopyrgus antipodarum
(New Zealand mudsnail)

Copyright Info
Potamopyrgus antipodarum (J.E. Gray, 1853)

Common name: New Zealand mudsnail

Synonyms and Other Names: Potamopyrgus jenkinsi, Hydrobia jenkinsi

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Potamopyrgus antipodarum has a dextral (right-handed coiling), elongated shell with 7-8 whorls separated by deep grooves. The operculum is thin and corneus with an off-centre nucleus from which paucispiral markings (with few coils) radiate. The aperture is oval and its height is less than the height of the spire. Some morphs, including many from the Great Lakes, exhibit a keel in the middle of each whorl; others, excluding those from the Great Lakes, exhibit periostracal ornamentation such as spines for anti-predator defense (Holomuzki and Biggs 2006, Levri et al. 2007, Zaranko et al. 1997).  Shell colors vary from gray and dark brown to light brown.

Size: The snail is usually 4 to 6 mm in length in the Great Lakes, but grows to 12 mm in its native range (Levri et al. 2007, Zaranko et al. 1997).

Native Range: The freshwater streams and lakes of New Zealand and adjacent small islands; it is naturalized in Australia and Europe (Hall et al. 2003).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Potamopyrgus antipodarum are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AZ200220239Grand Canyon; Havasu-Mohave Lakes; Lower Colorado-Marble Canyon; Lower Lake Powell; Lower Little Colorado; Lower Salt; Lower Verde; Upper Salt; Upper Verde
CA2000202355Aliso-San Onofre; Antelope-Fremont Valleys; Battle Creek; Big Chico Creek-Sacramento River; Big-Navarro-Garcia; Calleguas; Central Coastal; Clear Creek-Sacramento River; Coyote; Crowley Lake; Gualala-Salmon; Honcut Headwaters-Lower Feather; Lake Tahoe; Lower American; Lower Eel; Lower Klamath; Lower Pit; Lower Sacramento; Lower San Joaquin River; Mad-Redwood; Middle San Joaquin-Lower Chowchilla; Mono Lake; Monterey Bay; Owens Lake; Pajaro; Paynes Creek-Sacramento River; Russian; Sacramento Headwaters; Salinas; San Francisco Bay; San Francisco Coastal South; San Gabriel; San Joaquin Delta; San Pablo Bay; Santa Ana; Santa Clara; Santa Monica Bay; Seal Beach; Shasta; Smith; South Fork American; Suisun Bay; Thomes Creek-Sacramento River; Tomales-Drake Bays; Truckee; Upper Bear; Upper Calaveras California; Upper Coon-Upper Auburn; Upper Klamath; Upper Merced; Upper Mokelumne; Upper Putah; Upper Stanislaus; Upper Yuba; Ventura
CO2003202315Arkansas Headwaters; Cache La Poudre; Colorado Headwaters-Plateau; Eagle; Fountain; Lower Gunnison; Middle South Platte-Cherry Creek; North Platte Headwaters; Piedra; Purgatoire; South Platte Headwaters; St. Vrain; Uncompahgre; Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir; Upper South Platte
ID1987202227American Falls; Big Wood; Blackfoot; Brownlee Reservoir; Bruneau; C.J. Strike Reservoir; Clearwater; Curlew Valley; Hells Canyon; Lake Walcott; Little Wood; Lower Bear-Malad; Lower Boise; Lower Snake-Asotin; Middle Bear; Middle Salmon-Panther; Middle Snake-Payette; Middle Snake-Succor; Pahsimeroi; Palisades; Portneuf; Priest; Raft; Salmon Falls; Upper Henrys; Upper Salmon; Upper Snake-Rock
IL200620212Lake Michigan; Little Calumet-Galien
MI201220236Au Sable; Boardman-Charlevoix; Lake Erie; Lake Michigan; Manistee; Pere Marquette-White
MN200520202Lake Superior; St. Louis
MT1995202111Beaverhead; Bitterroot; Gallatin; Lower Bighorn; Madison; Red Rock; Ruby; Upper Missouri; Upper Missouri-Dearborn; Upper Yellowstone; Yellowstone Headwaters
NV200120226Goose; Lake Mead; Long-Ruby Valleys; Salmon Falls; Truckee; Upper Humboldt
NJ201820211Middle Delaware-Musconetcong
NM201920191Upper San Juan
NY199120164Lake Erie; Lake Ontario; Oak Orchard-Twelvemile; Seneca
OH200620191Lake Erie
OR1997202327Alsea; Brownlee Reservoir; Bully; Chetco; Coos; Coquille; Crooked-Rattlesnake; Hells Canyon; Lower Columbia; Lower Columbia-Clatskanie; Lower Columbia-Sandy; Lower Crooked; Lower Deschutes; Lower Malheur; Lower Owyhee; Lower Rogue; Middle Fork Willamette; Middle Rogue; Middle Snake-Succor; Nehalem; Siletz-Yaquina; Siuslaw; Sixes; South Santiam; Umpqua; Upper Willamette; Wilson-Trusk-Nestuccu
PA2005202414Bald Eagle; Brandywine-Christina; Chautauqua-Conneaut; Conococheague-Opequon; Crosswicks-Neshaminy; Lake Erie; Lehigh; Lower Delaware; Lower Monongahela; Lower Susquehanna; Lower Susquehanna-Swatara; Middle Delaware-Musconetcong; Schuylkill; Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna
SD201920191Middle Cheyenne-Spring
UT2001202218Curlew Valley; East Fork Sevier; Fremont; Jordan; Little Bear-Logan; Lower Bear-Malad; Lower Green-Diamond; Lower Sevier; Lower Weber; Middle Bear; Northern Great Salt Lake Desert; Provo; Skull Valley; Spanish Fork; Strawberry; Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir; Upper Weber; Utah Lake
WA2000202317Deschutes; Duwamish; Grays Harbor; Lake Washington; Lower Chehalis; Lower Columbia; Lower Columbia-Clatskanie; Lower Cowlitz; Lower Snake-Asotin; Middle Columbia-Lake Wallula; Nisqually; Nooksack; Puget Sound; Snohomish; Strait of Georgia; Upper Columbia-Priest Rapids; Willapa Bay
WI200520226Lake Michigan; Lake Superior; Lower Wisconsin; Middle Rock; St. Louis; Sugar
WY1996202310Lower Wind; Madison; Middle North Platte-Casper; Salt; Shoshone; Snake Headwaters; Upper Bighorn; Upper Green-Slate; Upper Laramie; Yellowstone Headwaters

Table last updated 6/23/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Potamopyrgus antipodarum is a nocturnal grazer, feeding on plant and animal detritus, epiphytic and periphytic algae, sediments and diatoms (Broekhuizen et al. 2001, James et al. 2000, Kelly and Hawes 2005, Parkyn et al. 2005, Zaranko et al. 1997).

The snail tolerates siltation, thrives in disturbed watersheds, and benefits from high nutrient flows allowing for filamentous green algae growth. It occurs amongst macrophytes and prefers littoral zones in lakes or slow streams with silt and organic matter substrates, but tolerates high flow environments where it can burrow into the sediment (Collier et al. 1998, Death et al. 2003, Holomuzki and Biggs 1999, Holomuzki and Biggs 2000, Negovetic and Jokela 2000, Richards et al. 2001, Schreiber et al. 2003, Suren 2005, Weatherhead and James 2001, Zaranko et al. 1997).

Potamopyrgus antipodarum is ovoviviparous and parthenogenic. Native populations in New Zealand consist of diploid sexual and triploid parthenogenically cloned females, as well as sexually functional males (less than 5% of the total population). All introduced populations in North America are clonal, consisting of genetically identical females. The snail produces approximately 230 young per year. Reproduction occurs in spring and summer, and the life cycle is annual (Gerard et al. 2003, Hall et al. 2003, Lively and Jokela 2002, Schreiber et al. 1998, Zaranko et al. 1997). They are found in the Great Lakes at depths of 4-45 m on a silt and sand substrate (Levri et al. 2007, Zaranko et al. 1997)

This species is euryhaline, establishing populations in fresh and brackish water. The optimal salinity is probably near or below 5 ppt, but P. antipodarum is capable of feeding, growing, and reproducing at salinities of 0–15 ppt and can tolerate 30–35 ppt for short periods of time (Costil et al. 2001, Gerard et al. 2003, Jacobsen and Forbes 1997, Leppakoski and Olenin 2000, Zaranko et al. 1997). It tolerates temperatures of 0–34°C (Cox and Rutherford 2000, Zaranko et al. 1997). Vazquez et al. (2016) demonstrated with field surveys and laboratory studies that P. antipodarum reproduction may be limited in low conductivity and environmental calcium waters.

Potamopyrgus antipodarum can survive passage through the guts of fish and may be transported by these animals (Bruce 2006). It can also float by itself or on mats of Cladophora spp., and move 60 m upstream in 3 months through positive rheotactic behavior (Zaranko et al. 1997). It can respond to chemical stimuli in the water, including the odor of predatory fish, which causes it to migrate to the undersides of rocks to avoid predation (Levri 1998). Common parasites of this snail include trematodes of the genus Microphallus (Dybdahl and Krist 2004).

Means of Introduction: Potamopyrgus antipodarum was most likely introduced to the Great Lakes in ships from Europe, where there are nonindigenous populations (Leppäkoski & Olenin 2000, Levri et al. 2007, Zaranko et al. 1997) or in the water of live gamefish shipped from infested waters to western rivers in the United States (Dalton 2012). This snail is moved between streams and lakes by angler's or paddler's equipment (River Alliance of Wisconsin 2017; Richards et al. 2004). 

To prevent the spread of New Zealand mudsnails between adjacent waterbodies, it is recommended that gear be cleaned and disinfected after visiting a waterbody that may contain the snails, since accidental hitchhiking is one of the primary vectors for dispersal in the United States. Some effective ways of decontamination are outlined in detail by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (see them here) and include:

  • Freezing gear for a minimum of six hours
  • Soaking gear in hot (>120 Fahrenheit) for at least five minutes
  • Soaking gear in a 1:1 solution of Formula 409 Degreaser Disinfectant and water

Status: This species is established in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan and most likely in Lake Superior, and is expanding its range within the Great Lakes basin (Levri et al. 2007).  In the Great Lakes, the snail reaches densities as high as 5,600 per square meter. ( Levri et al. 2007, Zaranko et al. 1997). It is also established in all western states where it is found in the US.

Impact of Introduction:
Summary of species impacts derived from literature review. Click on an icon to find out more...


A) Realized: None known.

B) Potential: Likely to find all shallower waters (<50 m depth) as suitable habitat. High spread potential (USEPA 2008). Abundant populations of introduced P. antipodarum may outcompete other grazers and inhibit colonization by other macroinvertebrates (Kerans et al. 2005). In Europe, P. antipodarum causes declines in species richness and abundance of native snails in constructed ponds (Strzelec 2005). By contrast, in one Australian stream, increasing densities of P. antipodarum are positively correlated with density and species richness of native invertebrates, possibly due to coprophagy (ingestion of the snail's faeces) (Schreiber et al. 2002). In geothermal streams in the western U.S., P. antipodarum reaches densities of 300,000 snails m2 and alters nutrient (nitrogen and carbon) flows, consumes large amounts of GPP, accounts for most of the invertebrate production (Hall et al. 2003).  P. antipodarum has yet to colonize streams in the Great Lakes basin, but these are the habitats in which the snail is expected to exert significant impacts (Levri et al. 2007). 

Densities have reached over 300,000 individuals per square meter in the Madison River. A species as prolific as this has potential to be a biofouler at facilities drawing from infested waters. It also may compete for food and space occupied by native snails. There is some evidence in their native range that trout may avoid these snails as a prey.

It is suspected that they can alter primary production of streams and spread rapidly (USEPA 2008).

Remarks: Potamopyrgus antipodarum is synonymous with P. jenkinsi and Hydrobia jenkinsi.

Potamopyrgus antipodarum, in laboratory settings, has exhibited avoidance behaviors and the ability to detect and respond to novel piscine (fish) predators. This may be an important trait in the specie's invasion success (Levri et al. 2017). 

The public should be careful to decontaminate fishing and sporting equipment so as not to spread existing populations or start new ones.  Regulations on commercial shipping of this species are in effect. The species supports a number of parasites in its native range, but none have been found on North American populations examined.

In 2020, Potamopyrgus antipodarum were found in the Bluewater State Fish Hatchery in Montana, near Blues Creek, a tributary to the Clarks Fork Yellowstone River; decontamination of the facility occurred after discovery. In 2022, the snails were discovered again, and another decontamination procedure, including fish destruction, occurred, with an estimated cost of $225,000 UDS (NBC Montana Staff 2022)

References: (click for full references)

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Alonso, A., and P. Castro-Díez. 2008. What explains the invading success of the aquatic mudsnail Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Hydrobiidae, Mollusca)? Hydrobiologia 614: 107-116.

Anderson, M. – National Park Service, Arizona and Utah.

ANS Task Force.  2007.  National Management and Control Plan for the New Zealand Mudsnail.  Prepared for the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force by the New Zealand Mudsnail Management and Control Plan Working Group .

Arango, C.P., L.A. Riley, J.L. Tank, and R.O. Hall, Jr. 2009. Herbivory by an invasive snail increases nitrogen fixation in a nitrogen-limited stream. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 66: 1309-1317.

Bersine, K., V.E.F. Brenneis, R.C. Draheim, A. Michelle Wargo Rub, J.E. Zamon, R.K. Litton, S.A. Hinton, M.D Sytsma, J.R. Cordell, and J.W. Chapman. 2008. Distribution of the invasive New Zealand mudnsail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) in the Columbia River Estuary and its first recorded occurrence in the diet of juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Biological Invasions 10:1381-1388.

Brenneis, V.E.F., A. Sih, and C.E. de Rivera. 2010. Coexistence in the intertidal: interactions between the non-indigenous New Zealand mudsnail Potamopyrgus antipodarum and the native estuarine isopod Gnorimosphaeroma insulare. Oikos 119: 1755-1764.

Broekhuizen, N., S. Parkyn, and D. Miller. 2001. Fine sediment effects on feeding and growth in the invertebrate grazer Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Gastropoda, Hydrobiidae) and Deleatidium sp. (Ephemeroptera, Letpophlebiidae). Hydrobiologia 457(1–3):125–132.

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Costil, K., G.B.J. Dussart, and J. Daquzan. 2001. Biodiversity of aquatic gastropods in the Mont St–Michel basin (France) in relation to salinity and drying of habitats. Biodiversity and Conservation 10(1):1–18.

Cox, T.J., and J.C. Rutherford. 2000. Thermal tolerances of two stream invertebrates exposed to diurnally varying temperature. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 34(2):203–208.

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Gerard, C., A. Blanc, and K. Costil. 2003. Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Mollusca: Hydrobiidae) in continental aquatic gastropod communities: impact of salinity and trematode parasitism. Hydrobiologia 493(1–3):167–172.

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Gust, M., T. Buronfosse, L. Giamberini, M. Ramil, R. Mons, and J. Garric. 2009. Effects of fuoxetine on the reproduction of two prosobranch mollusks: Potamopyrgus antipodarum and Valvata piscinalis. Environmental Pollution 157: 423-429.

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Hall, R.O.Jr., M.F. Dybdahl, and M.C. Vanderloop. 2006. Extremely high secondary production of introduced snails in rivers. Ecological Applications 16(3):1121–1131.

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Author: Benson, A.J., R.M. Kipp, J. Larson, and A. Fusaro

Revision Date: 11/1/2022

Citation Information:
Benson, A.J., R.M. Kipp, J. Larson, and A. Fusaro, 2024, Potamopyrgus antipodarum (J.E. Gray, 1853): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=1008, Revision Date: 11/1/2022, Access Date: 6/23/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [6/23/2024].

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