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Invasive mudsnails shut down Arizona fish hatchery

As the cliché says, “One bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch.” But what about one New Zealand mudsnail?

A single animal of that species forced the Arizona Game and Fish Department to close Canyon Creek fish hatchery in northeast Arizona.

Mudsnails are an aquatic invasive species which reproduce asexually, so it only takes one to bloom into a colony.

The recent discovery of these gastropods in lower Canyon Creek forced Game and Fish “to enact biosecurity protocols,” according to a release from the department, and shut down the hatchery to the public to sample a wider swathe of the stream.

The snails “compete with native invertebrates for food,” which could negatively affect “Arizona’s sportfish and native mollusk populations.”

The species were first found in the state in 2002.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.