Archive for January 6th, 2010


Fly Fishing Photography: Dusan Smetana, Czechoslovakia to Montana

Dusan Smetana Photography

Great shots by Smetana. Check out the cover shots for various outdoor mags. Beautiful scenery.


New Zealand Mud Snail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum)

Evolution, adaptation, migration, speciation, invasion, successful reproduction, adaptive radiation. How do you stop this natural process?

“Enter Potamopyrgus antipodarum, the New Zealand Mud Snail. These tiny, aquatic, freshwater mollusks are migrating out of New Zealand, not into it, but their impact on an ecosystem they had no previous place in could have similar repercussions for native species.

Carried by world-trotting humans, these critters made their North American debut in the 1980’s in the Snake River, and have been drifting west ever since. They are now present in Yellowstone National Park.

How do these diminutive invaders hop from river to river, lake to lake, establishing an almost unshakeable presence as they go? Humans again, I’m afraid. The New Zealand Mud Snail is prone to hitchhiking on boats and fishing gear. So a careless or messy angler on an extended fishing trip can spread the little devils far and wide. Mud Snails are quite hardy enough to make the trip as well. They’re so small ( 6mm long, maximum, and sometimes as small as a grain of rice), and they so much resemble tiny flecks of mud, that they often go undetected. They can survive out of water for several days, and can live in many kinds of freshwater environments. They’re even resilient enough to handle low temperatures (anything above freezing) and can pass unharmed through the digestive tract of most fish. Moreover, they reproduce asexually, and are “livebreeders“, meaning they produce a number of perfectly formed little clones, so even one can spawn a colony. New Zealand Mud Snail densities of more than 2 million snails per square yard have been found in Yellowstone Park.

With no natural predators to keep it in check there’s every possibility native snail species will be out-competed into extinction and native plant species overwhelmed. Such an unbalancing presence can decimate other species, such as trout, something that gives dedicated Wyoming, Montana, & Idaho fishing enthusiasts reason for pause.

Efforts are being made to curb the New Zealand Mud Snail invasion.”


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January 2010

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