ECHO PARK — The pink lotus blossoms at Echo Park Lake have pretty much faded from view. But there’s another bright pink sight that can be found all over the lake: apple snail egg sacks.
The bubble-gum colored blobs have multiplied in recent weeks, attaching themselves to the lake’s concrete retaining walls, rocks and aquatic plants.
The blobs first showed up in mass in 2013 shortly after the lake was refilled following a two-year-long renovation and cleanup project. While the egg sacks have been spotted since then, they seem to have returned in force this summer.
The apple snail, which is native to freshwater in tropical regions, lay its eggs in what are called “clutches” above the water line to protect them from fish, according to Apple.Snail.Net While apple snails are popular aquarium pets, they are considered unwanted, invasive species in some areas. In fact, the Apple Snail has threatened the rice crop in California and Texas.
In a story in Louisiana Sportsman, state biologist Bobby Reed says the snails usually climb out of the water at night to lay their eggs on a high, dry surface:“I’ve seen egg cases deposited as high as 4 feet above the water,” Reed said. “Most egg cases have a pink cast. If it’s bright pink, it usually means it’s freshly deposited. As time goes on and the young develop inside, it becomes more of an opaque-looking pink, and once they’re all hatched and gone and discarded, the cases are kind of an off-white or gray color.”
Getting rid of the invasive snails and their egg sacks is not easy. While simply smashing the egg sacks or scraping them into the water will kill the larvae, the clutches are known to carry parasites, so Reed and other biologists advise against touching or handling the sacks with your hands.
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Jesús Sanchez, Publisher
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