16 May 2011

Mysterious snails for sale

Last weekend we visited a local pond store where there were many outdoor ponds with various aquatic plants in them. While photographing the lilies and the goslings and the other such things, I also searched eagerly for snails in and around the ponds. As I was about to give up the hope of seeing just one snail after more than an hour of looking, I found one large empty aquatic shell in a small pond and then noticed a few more floating in another pond.


I retrieved 3 of the shells. Here is one of them.


If I am not mistaken, the species is Bellamya japonica, otherwise known as the Japanese mystery snail, a native of Japan, Taiwan and Korea. They have been in the U.S. since the late 19th century and have since made their way apparently even into the smallest ponds. In this post I wrote about my discovery of them in the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. in 2007.

Initially I thought the snails had probably been brought unintentionally from elsewhere with pond material or plants. I was in for a surprise. A few minutes later while looking at the fish tanks behind the store, I came upon a large tank full of the same snails. For sale!

8 comments:

kwb5064 said...

New follower here... I was just thinking about where the inspiration for this blog originated?

Joey said...

I would gone crazy! I love them!

Adorably Dead said...

How neat, I wonder how they got thier name.

Fred Schueler said...

that's a higher blunter spire, and a proportionately bigger body whorl than I'm used to seeing in Ontario populations. Is this a typical shell shape in the Potomac area?

mrs sharma said...

imagine, this native of japan, taiwan is found everywhere - even in australian and kiwi gardens and in indian ones too.

Beth said...

That looks similar to the Chicago population of them. Yay for selling of invasives?

Rob Dillon said...

Yes, just to confirm your identification. That is indeed the widespread invasive Bellamya japonica, often sold to water-garden hobbyists as a "Japanese Mystery snail" or "Japanese Trap Door snail." More here:
http://www.fwgna.org/species/viviparidae/b_japonica.html

John Gorsuch said...

It's always great to see invasive species for sale... I cringe every time I see someone selling "Alabama Jumpers" as fish bait. I have seen mystery snails for sale before, and have seen them established in bodies of water here in SW Ohio.