On this morning’s nest box walk, we noticed a big patch of freshwater snails in the shallows off the boardwalk on the way to the observation tower, snails that we hadn’t seen even last week. I blasted the contrast in this image so that the snails are visible through the murky water.
Unfortunately, they appear to be Chinese Mystery Snails (Cipangopaludina chinensis), an invasive that is often introduced by aquarium dumping. This large snail species features an operculum, a trap door that the snail can close up to ward off drought and predators. Notice that there’s no snail sticking out of the shell in the image at the right.
Recent posts like this one from Brendan Fitzgerald suggest that this pesty algae-eating mollusk is a recent arrival in Virginia.
Some people consider the best way to deal with these intruders it to eat them.