Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Genetic evidence confirms the presence of the Japanese mystery snail, Cipangopaludina japonica (von Martens, 1861) (Caenogastropoda: Viviparidae) in northern New York.

Abstract

The viviparid snails, Cipangopaludina chinensis (Chinese mystery snail) and Cipangopaludina japonica (Japanese mystery snail) are considered high priority invasive species on the east coast of the United States. Both species are often lumped together with other related gastropods into the broad group known as the Asian "mystery snails". In New York, there has been conflicting reports on the presence of C. japonica with only a single population ever recorded in the southern region of the state in the early 1980s. This confusion has been attributed to the lack of distinguishing conchological features between both species. To address this issue, we employed molecular barcoding to determine whether C. japonica was indeed present in the state's waterways. Specimens were collected from multiple waterbodies in the Adirondack region of northern New York during the summers of 2016–2018. In addition, museum specimens from the type locality (Japan) and North Korea were acquired and initial conchological identifications were carried out prior to barcoding. Conchological comparisons found that both species were virtually indistinguishable from each other. Although C. japonica appeared to have a slightly more elongated spire than C. chinensis, this trait still appeared to be highly plastic even within C. japonica. Regardless, molecular barcoding using the cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) gene unequivocally confirmed the identity of C. japonica with both sequenced specimens showing a 100% identity match on the NCBI database, GenBank. Furthermore, both species clustered within separate and well supported clades with K2P interspecific genetic distances of 0.13–0.15 and intraspecific distances of 0.00–0.01. This study is the first to genetically confirm C. japonica from the Adirondack Park and to a broader extent New York and also re-emphasizes the utility of barcoding techniques for aquatic invasive species (AIS) detection.