BALTIMORE — Maryland has confirmed the state’s first known sighting of an invasive mud snail.

The Baltimore Sun reported Thursday that the New Zealand mud snail has been found in the Gunpowder River.

The tiny snails can reproduce prolifically and cluster in high densities. They compete with native snails and other organisms for food and space, potentially disrupting food chains that are important to fish. The discovery also raises concerns for fly fishermen.

The snail first appeared in the United States in Idaho’s Snake River in 1987. It has since spread across the western U.S. and to the Great Lakes.

State officials in Maryland are urging boaters and anglers on the Gunpowder to clean equipment and gear before moving on to another body of water.

Information from: The Baltimore Sun,

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