Sunday, 1 April 2012

Asian Mystery Snail

Found this on the beach by Carrolls Point a few weeks ago.

According to this link, it seems it is the Cipangopaludina chinensis, or Chinese Mystery Snail. It claims that it is found only in Lake Ontario. However one that it  appears to be is the Japanese Mystery Snail, even though the above link claims that it is found only in Lake Erie. Since neither of them is actually native (both are from Asia) I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility that they can appear in either Lake. The striations on the Japanese one make it look more like this one.


  1. That is the Chinese species, C. chinensis. You can tell by how rounded the shoulders are and how the spire (top whorls) is very broad and low. If you were to measure the angle of the spire, it would be pretty wide. The japanese species, C. japonica, produces a much sharper, taller spire and the shell in general appears narrower and taller. There are other differences, but I've found these to be the most consistent.

    Both species can be found across the country. Every range map that I have seen appears to be very out of date. For instance, C. japonica is widespread in the I-95 corridor, but is virtually absent from this area on most range maps despite appearing in absurd quantities. In the lower Potomac River, it washes up literally in piles. Meanwhile, the Chinese species appears to be far less prolific in my area, despite far more reports on the map. Thus, take the range maps with a grain of salt. Pretty much every invasive species is on the move and extending its range.

    Cool blog!

    - Robert

    1. Hey Robert,

      Thank you for the clarification. I had never seen or heard of these before finding it, so my knowledge of them is very limited. I don't know if it's the right term, but the striations/ridges on the one we found made me wonder. The pictures for the Chinese one seemed to be a little smoother. Not having one to compare made the identification a little tougher.

      Appreciate the input. And thank you for the kind words.