, common name
the banded mystery
, is a species
and an operculum
, an aquatic gastropod
in the family Viviparidae
This snail is native to North America
specific epithet georgianus is a reference to the southern
State of Georgia, where the type
locality is situated.
was originally discovered and
described (under the name Paludina georgiana
) by Isaac Lea
Lea's original text (the type
) reads as follows:
has a relatively globose, dextral
, with 4–5 whorls
separated by distinct sutures
. The outer lip of the shell is
quite thin and the overall coloration is yellow-green. There are
abundant rows of hairs with distinctly hooked ends and ridges on
. The umbilicus
is narrow or not apparent, and
is round to
oval, with concentric circular markings that radiate from an
off-centre origin located towards the top left.
There are always 4 darkly pigmented bands that wrap around the
shell spirally, but these are sometimes only visible from the
inside of the shell.
One-year old snails are 12–17 mm high; at 2 years, 17–21 mm high;
and at 3 years, 21–30 mm high. The maximum height is 45 mm.
This snail is found in lakes and slow-moving rivers with mud
bottoms. The species thrives in eutrophic
lentic environments such as lakes,
ponds and some low-flow streams. It is usually absent from larger, faster
flowing rivers; however, it is able to survive conditions of high
water velocity in the St. Lawrence River, and in the United States it may even be better adapted than the introduced
tentaculata to such habitats.
Individuals are generally found in a range of habitats, including:
regions with silt and mud substrate; communities dominated by
and filamentous algae
(not blue-green algae); shallow waters with sand
or gravel substrate; soft and hard water; water with pH
between 6.3 and 8.5; freshwater habitats only; river
reaches more than meanders.
breeds and lives in shallow waters,
often amongst macrophytes, in spring to fall, then moves out to
deeper areas in the fall in order to overwinter away from shore. In
more open waters, fall migration begins earlier than in smaller
lakes and ponds. Most growth generally occurs when waters become
warmer in spring and summer, although reduced growth continues in
It is dioecious
(it has two distinct
than once in a lifetime) and ovoviviparous
, laying eggs singly in
albumen-filled capsules. Females generally brood eggs for 9–10
months. Fecundity is generally between 4 and 81 young per female,
but on average is closer to 11 young/female. Females can brood more
than one batch of young at a time, and the number of young in one
brood is positively related to the size of the female. Reproductive
females are usually larger than 16 mm. Female banded mystery snails
live 28 – 48 and males live 18 – 36 months.
is known to be a facultative or even
obligate filter-feeding detritivore
. Because of this, it can be used as
of sediment contamination
by oil and fertilizer, because
its growth, survival and histology are significantly affected by
the ingestion of contaminated sediments.
This species grazes on diatom
on silt and mud substrates, but it may also require the ingestion
of some grit, in order to be able to break down algae.
The banded mystery snail often lives at high densities, sometimes
up to around 864/m².
This snail is host to many parasites in its native habitat,
, ciliated protozoans
mystery snail is native to North America, generally found from the
northeastern United States to Florida and the
Mexico primarily in south central Florida, Georgia, Alabama and north,
mainly in the Mississippi River system, to Illinois and
Massachusetts, Indiana and Connecticut are probably some of the states marking the
northern limit of this species’ native range.
A recent study found that Viviparus georgianus
is in fact
not one species, but a species
in North America. It was determined that Viviparus limi is native to the Ochlockonee
River and southwestern Georgia, while Viviparus goodrichi lives in the
Florida panhandle and southwestern Georgia, and Viviparus
georgianus defined sensu stricto is found in eastern
and southern Florida as well as the Altamaha River in
Other populations in the Altamaha, Mississippi and St. Lawrence
River basins have not been studied yet with respect to their
specific genetic make-up, and so they are simply named as being
part of the Viviparus georgianus
species has invaded the northern part of the United States:
Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New
England, as well as Quebec and Ontario in
In the Mid-Atlantic Region it is found in the Niagara River, Erie
Canal, Hudson River drainage in New York, and possibly Lake
Champlain. It is established in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. (Ruiz
In the Great Lakes Region: The first record of this introduced
species in the Great Lakes basin is from the Hudson River
drainage, connected to the
and Mohawk River
, in 1867. It was later reported
from the Lake
Michigan watershed by
1906 and Lake
Erie by 1914. Other records are from 1931 near Buffalo, Lake Erie and the Niagara River. The New York State Museum has records from the 1950s and 1960s from 11
counties Mackie et al. (1980) list this species as recorded from
Huron, but they do not give the date of establishment, or
- Jokinen, E. 1992. The Freshwater Snails (Mollusca:
Gastropoda) of New York State. The University of the State of
New York, The State Education Department, The New York State
Museum, Albany, New York 12230. 112 pp.
- Mackie, G. L., D. S. White and T. W. Zdeba. 1980. A guide
to freshwater mollusks of the Laurentian Great Lakes with special
emphasis on the genus Pisidium. Environmental Research
Laboratory, Office of Research and Development, U. S. Environmental
Protection Agency, Duluth, Minnesota 55804. 144 pp.
- Jokinen, E. H. 1984. Periostracal morphology of viviparid
snail shells. Transactions of the American Microscopical
- Lee, L. E. J., J. Stassen, A. McDonald, C. Culshaw, A. D.
Venosa and K. Lee. 2002. Bioremediation Journal 6(4):373-386.
- Vincent, B. 1979. Étude du benthos d’eau douce dans le
haut-estuaire du Saint-Laurent (Québec). Canadian Journal of
- Duch, T. M. 1976. Aspects of the feeding habits of
Viviparus georgianus. The Nautilus 90(1):7-10.
- Pace, G. L. and E. J. Szuch. 1985. An exceptional stream
population of the banded apple snail Viviparus georgianus in
Michigan, USA. Nautilus 99(2-3):48-53.
- Wade, J. Q. and C. E. Vasey. 1976. A study of the
gastropods of Conesus Lake, Livingston County, New York.
Proceedings of the Rochester Academy of Science 13(1):17-22.
- Jokinen, E. H., J. Guerette and R. W. Kortmann. 1982. The
natural history of an ovoviviparous snail Viviparus georgianus in a
soft water eutrophic lake. Freshwater Invertebrate Biology
- Wade, J. Q. 1985a. Studies of the gastropods of Conesus
Lake, Livingston County, New York, USA II. Identification,
occurrence and ecology of species. Proceedings of the
Rochester Academy of Science 15(3):206-212.
- Browne, R. A. 1978. Growth, mortality, fecundity, biomass
and productivity of four lake populations of the prosobranch snail,
Viviparus georgianus. Ecology 59(4):742-750.
- Rivest, B. R. and R. Vanderpool. 1986. Variation in capsule
albumen in the freshwater snail Viviparus georgianus. American
- Vail. V. A. 1978. Seasonal reproductive patterns in 3
viviparid gastropods. Malacologia 17(1):7-98.
- Vail, V. A. 1977. Observations on brood production in three
viviparid gastropods. Bulletin of the American Malacological
Union, Inc. 43:90.
- Buckley, D. E. 1986. Bioenergetics of age-related vs.
size-related reproductive tactics in female Viviparus
georgianus. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
- Wade, J. Q. 1985b. Studies of the gastropods of Conesus
Lake, Livingston County, New York, USA III. Endozoic and parasitic
organisms obtained from gastropods. Proceedings of the
Rochester Academy of Science 15(3):213-215.
- Burch, J. B. and J. L. Tottenham. 1980. Species list,
ranges and illustrations. Pages 82-215. In North American
freshwater snails. The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
- Jokinen, E. H. and J. Pondick. 1981. Rare and endangered
species: freshwater gastropods of southern New England. The
Bulletin of the American Malacological Union, Inc. 50:52-53.
- Mills, E. L., J. H. Leach, J. T. Carlton and C. L. Secor. 1993.
Exotic species in the Great Lakes: a history of biotic crises
and anthropogenic introductions. Journal of Great Lakes
- Katoh, M. and D. W. Foltz. 1994. Genetic subdivision and
morphological variation in a freshwater snail species complex
formerly referred to as Viviparus georgianus (Lea). Biological
Journal of the Linnean Society 53(1):73-90.
- Viviparus georgianus at NatureServe
Explorer, accessed 19 October 2008.
This article incorporates public domain text from:
- Rebekah M. Kipp & Amy Benson. 2008. Viviparus
georgianus. USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic
Species Database, Gainesville, FL.