bithynia tentaculata pictures

Colonization routes of the invasive aquatic snail Bithynia tentaculata L.

Since the introduction of the faucet snail Bithynia tentaculata into the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) in 2002, there have been yearly die-offs of 15 species of waterfowl. Bithynia hosts and transmits parasitic trematodes resulting in waterfowl deaths. As part of an effort to assist management of Bithynia in the UMR and US we need to understand the origin and colonization patterns of this snail. The objectives of this project are to determine origin and spread of invasive B. tentaculata populations in the U.S. 


We are sampling from the three disjunct watersheds in the US with invasive populations and are currently seeking to widen our sampling of B. tentaculata from its native range in Europe.


To examine population genetic structure, seventeen microsatellite loci (tandem base repeats) from B. tentaculata were characterized through a collaboration with the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. These loci are currently being genotyped on Bithynia from invasive populations.  This poster summarizes the progress so far and our results by August 2010.

This project is a collaboration with other faculty in the Rivers Studies Center at UWL: Roger Haro and Greg Sandland as well as investigators at USGS: Rebecca Coles and Jenny Sauer.