Effects of Tetrodotoxin on New Zealand Mud Snails (Potamopyrgus antipodarum)
Authors:Nicholas Huron, Anders Reimer, Alis Sokolova
- Lee Kats, Vice Provost for Research and Strategic Initiatives, Pepperdine University
- Gary Bucciarelli, Mentor, UCLA
Studies have shown that invasive species are known to have detrimental effects on native freshwater species. In southern California, populations of the native newt (Taricha torosa) have steadily declined over the last 20 years, partially due to the impact of invasive species. The New Zealand mud snail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) is a nonnative snail species that has spread to parts of North America and become invasive. Recently they have invaded the Santa Monica Mountains of southern California. The purpose of this study is to determine the behavioral effects of tetrodotoxin (TTX), a defensive toxin given off by the native California newt, on the invasive New Zealand mud snails. In previous studies we have noted that TTX can influence the behavior of native invertebrates. Very little is known about how native species might impact the invasive mud snail, and this preliminary study was conducted in order to observe the interaction between the two. Our study suggests that P. antipodarum more readily disperse from water containing TTX as compared to water that does not contain TTX. Although conducted under laboratory conditions, this study has broader implications in understanding how invasive species disperse and interact with native species.