Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

A review of the non-indigenous Chinese mystery snail, Cipangopaludina chinensis (Viviparidae), in North America, with emphasis on occurrence in Canada and the potential impact on indigenous aquatic species.

Abstract

Evidence suggests that the Chinese mystery snail, Cipangopaludina chinensis, a freshwater, dioecious, snail of Asian origin has become invasive in North America, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Invasive species threaten indigenous biodiversity and have socioeconomic consequences where invasive. The aim of this review is to synthesize the relevant literature pertaining to C. chinensis in Canada. In doing so, we (i) describe C. chinensis ecosystem interactions in both indigenous (Asia) and non-indigenous habitats (North America and Europe), (ii) identify gaps in the literature, and (iii) determine where the species potential distribution in North America requires further exploration. We also briefly discuss potential management strategies for this species, as an aquatic invasive species (AIS), in Canada. Due to the much larger relative size of adult C. chinensis, multiple feeding mechanisms, and resistance to predation, C. chinensis can out-compete and displace indigenous freshwater gastropods and other molluscs. Furthermore, C. chinensis can affect food webs through bottom-up interactions with the bacterial and zooplankton communities by changing nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations. Also, the Chinese literature indicates the potential for C. chinensis to act as a biotransfer of contaminants between polluted ecosystems and consumers. In its indigenous range, C. chinensis was identified as a host for numerous parasites harmful to human and animal consumers alike. A comparison of the Canadian geographical distribution of reported occurrences with that for the United States indicates several potential gaps in Canadian reporting, which merits further investigation and consideration, especially in regard to federal and provincial non-indigenous monitoring and regulations. Southern Ontario had the highest number of reports that were mostly from web-based photo-supported sources. This suggests that interactive citizen science through popular apps backed by well-supported educational campaigns may be a highly effective means of tracking C. chinensis spread, which can be complementary to traditional methods using specimen-vouchered taxonomically verified natural-history collections overseen by professional curators.