Aquatic Nuisance Species

An aquatic nuisance species disrupts ecological processes because it is not indigenous to the ecosystem. Invasive organisms have become a major cause of species extinction, with the highest extinction rates occurring in freshwater environments. In Yellowstone, three of these nonnative species are having a significant detrimental effect:

  • Lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), illegally introduced in Yellowstone Lake where they feed on the native Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
  • Myxobolus cerebralis, a parasite that causes whirling disease in cutthroat trout and other species.
  • New Zealand mud snails (Potamopyrgus antipodarum), which form dense colonies and compete with native species.

In addition, the small imported snail known as red-rimmed melania (Melanoides tuberculatus) was discovered in the warm swimming area at the confluence of the Boiling River with the Gardner River in 2009.

Updated 6/29/12