Life » » Animals » » Molluscs » Snails » » Bithyniidae »

Bithynia tentaculata (Linnaeus 1758)

Brief Summary

Comprehensive Description

    Bithynia tentaculata
    provided by wikipedia

    Bithynia tentaculata, common names the mud bithynia or common bithynia, or faucet snail[3] is a relatively small species of freshwater snail with gills and an operculum, an aquatic prosobranch gastropod mollusk in the family Bithyniidae.


    Bithynia tentaculata is the type species of the genus Bithynia.[4]

    Forms of Bithynia tentaculata include:

    • Bithynia tentaculata f. codia
    • Bithynia tentaculata f. excavata
    • Bithynia tentaculata f. gigas
    • Bithynia tentaculata f. producta Menke, 1828
    • Bithynia tentaculata tellinii Sacco, 1886

    The variety † Bithynia tentaculata var. allobrogica Fontannes, 1881: synonym of † Bithynia minor Locard, 1878


    Indigenous distribution

    The distribution of Bithynia tentaculata is Palearctic.[5] The species occurs in:

    Northern Europe:

    • Scandinavia

    Central Europe:

    Western Europe:

    Eastern Europe:

    Southeastern Europe:

    • Bulgaria - There is southern distribution border of Bithynia tentaculata in northern Bulgaria.[4]
    • Croatia[11]

    Bithynia tentaculata has been mentioned from Greece, but it does not occur there.[4] It probably does not occur in Turkey and in Iran.[4]

    Nonindigenous distribution

    Bithynia tentaculata is nonindigenous in the United States[3] and in Canada.

    Great Lakes Region: Bithynia tentaculata was first recorded in Lake Michigan in 1871, but was probably introduced in 1870.[12] It spread to Lake Ontario by 1879, the Hudson River by 1892, and other tributaries and water bodies in the Finger Lakes region during the 20th century.[13][12] It was introduced to Lake Erie sometime before 1930.[14][15] This snail’s range extends in 1992 from Quebec and Wisconsin to Pennsylvania and New York.[13] It has been recorded from Lake Huron, but only a few individuals were found in benthic samples from Saginaw Bay in the 1980s and 1990s.[16]

    In the Mid-Atlantic Region it is found in Lake Champlain, widespread across New York, Potomac River in Virginia. It is established in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.[17]


    A shell of Bithynia tentaculata.
    Operculum of Bithynia tentaculata.

    The height of shell is usually no larger than 12–15 mm. The snail is sexually mature by the time the height of shell reaches 8 mm in size.[13][18][19][20]

    The width of the shell is 5–7 mm.[citation needed]

    The faucet snail has a shiny pale brown shell, oval in shape, with a relatively large and rounded spire consisting of 5–6 somewhat flattened whorls, no umbilicus, and a very thick lip.[13][18][21] The aperture is less than half the height of the shell.[21]

    Adult Bithynia tentaculata possess a white, calcareous, tear-drop to oval-shaped operculum with distinct concentric rings.[13][20][21] The operculum of juveniles, however, is spirally marked.[13] The operculum (on the back of the foot) is always situated very close to the aperture of the shell.[13] The animal itself has pointed, long tentacles and a simple foot with the right cervical lobe acting as a channel for water.[13]

    Foot of Bithynia tentaculata



    This snail lives in slow-running freshwater habitat such as low-velocity rivers, and standing-water bodies such as lakes. The species flourishes in calcium-rich waters.

    It is commonly found in freshwater ponds, shallow lakes, and canals. This species is found on the substrate in fall and winter (including gravel, sand, clay, mud or undersides of rocks) and on aquatic macrophytes (including milfoil, Myriophyllum spicatum and muskgrass, Chara spp.) in warmer months.[13][20] [22] It lives mostly in shoals, but is also found at depths of up to 5 m.[13] Bithynia tentaculata inhabits intertidal zones in the Hudson River[13] But in general, this snail inhabits waters with pH of 6.6–8.4, conductivity of 87–2320 μmhos/cm, Ca2+ of 5–89 ppm, and Na+ of 4–291 ppm.[13] It can potentially survive well in water bodies with high concentrations of K+ and low concentrations of NO3.[13] In the Saint Lawrence River, it tends to occur in relatively unpolluted, nearshore areas[23] and amongst dreissenid mussel beds.[24]

    Feeding habits

    This species functions as both a scraper and a collector-filterer, grazing on algae on the substrate, as well as using its gills to filter suspended algae from the water column. When filter feeding, algae is sucked in, condensed, and then passed out between the right tentacle and exhalant siphon in pellet-like packages which are then eaten.[13] The ability to filter feed may play a role in allowing populations of the faucet snail to survive at high densities in relatively eutrophic, anthropogenically influenced water bodies.[13] Bithynia tentaculata feeds selectively on food items.[25] The faucet snail is known in Eurasia to feed on black fly larvae.[26]

    Life cycle

    Egg capsules of Bithynia tentaculata with gastropods shortly before hatching.

    Bithynia tentaculata is dioecious (it has two separate sexes) and lays its eggs on rocks, wood and shells in organized aggregates arranged in double rows, in clumps of 1–77. Egg-laying occurs from May to July when water temperature is 20 °C or higher, and sometimes a second time in October and November by females born early in the year. The density of eggs on the substrate can sometimes reach 155 clumps/m2. Fecundity may reach up to 347 eggs and is greatest for the 2nd year class. Eggs hatch in three weeks to three months, depending on water temperature. Oocytes develop poorly at temperatures of 30 - 34 °C. Growth usually does not occur from September to May. The lifespan varies regionally and can be anywhere from 17–39 months.[13][27]

    The faucet snail has the potential to be a good biomonitor for contaminants such as Cd, Zn, and methylmercury (MeHg) because there are good correlations between environmental concentrations and snail tissue concentrations with respect to these toxic compounds.[28][29]


    In its native Eurasian habitat, the faucet snail is host to many different species of digeneans, cercariae, metacercariae, cysticercoids, and other parasites.[30][31][32]

    Parasites of Bithynia tentaculata include trematode Aspidogaster conchicola.[40]

    Other interspecific relationship

    Natural dispersal of this snail is known to occur by passive transport in birds.[41]

    Bithynia tentaculata is capable of detecting the presence of molluscivorous leeches through chemoreception and of closing its operculum to avoid predation.[42]


    This article incorporates public domain text from the reference[3]

    1. ^ Seddon M. B. (2014). "Bithynia tentaculata". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. . Downloaded on 07 August 2014.
    2. ^ Linnaeus C. (1758). Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. 10th edition. - Vermes. Testacea: 700-781. Holmiae. (Salvius).
    3. ^ a b c Kipp R. M. & Benson A. (2008). Bithynia tentaculata. USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL. https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.asp?speciesID=987 Revision Date: 2/28/2007.
    4. ^ a b c d Glöer P. & Pešić V. (2012). "The freshwater snails (Gastropoda) of Iran, with descriptions of two new genera and eight new species". ZooKeys 219: 11.
    5. ^ Horsák M., Juřičková L. & Picka J. (2013). Měkkýši České a Slovenské republiky. Molluscs of the Czech and Slovak Republics. Kabourek, Zlín, 264 pp., page 28-29.
    6. ^ Juřičková L., Horsák M. & Beran L. (2001). "Check-list of the molluscs (Mollusca) of the Czech Republic". Acta Soc. Zool. Bohem. 65: 25-40.
    7. ^ a b (in Czech) Horsák M., Juřičková L., Beran L., Čejka T. & Dvořák L. (2010). "Komentovaný seznam měkkýšů zjištěných ve volné přírodě České a Slovenské republiky. [Annotated list of mollusc species recorded outdoors in the Czech and Slovak Republics]". Malacologica Bohemoslovaca, Suppl. 1: 1-37. PDF.
    8. ^ (in German) Glöer P. & Meier-Brook C. (2003). Süsswassermollusken. DJN, pp. 134, page 106, .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}ISBN 3-923376-02-2
    9. ^ Bithynia tentaculata www.mollbase.de, Verbreitungsatlas Schleswig-Holstein 1991, accessed 19 October 2008.
    10. ^ Bithynia tentaculata.
    11. ^ Beran L. (2009). "The first record of Anisus vorticulus (Troschel, 1834) (Gastropoda: Planorbidae) in Croatia?". Malacologica Bohemoslovaca 8: 70. PDF.
    12. ^ a b Mills E. L., Leach J. H., Carlton J. T. & Secor C. L. (1993). "Exotic species in the Great Lakes: a history of biotic crises and anthropogenic introductions". Journal of Great Lakes Research 19(1): 1-54.
    13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p 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.
    14. ^ Carr J. F. & Hiltunen J. K. (1965). "Changes in the bottom fauna of western Lake Erie from 1930 to 1961". Limnology and Oceanography 10: 551-569.
    15. ^ Krieger K. A. (1985). "Snail distribution in Lake Erie, USA, Canada; the influence of anoxia in the southern central basin nearshore zone". Ohio Journal of Science 85(5): 230-244.
    16. ^ Nalepa T. F., Fanslow D. L., Lansing M. B., Lang G. A., Ford M., Gostenik G. & Hartson D. J. (2002). Abundance, Biomass, and Species Composition of Benthic Macroinvertebrates Populations in Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron, 1987-1996. NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory and Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystem Research, Michigan, Ann Arbor. 32 pp.
    17. ^ Ruiz (2000). "Established range of Bithynia tentaculata over time: a study in population dynamics". Journal of Ecology. 52 (10): 102–112.
    18. ^ a b Mackie G. L., White D. S. & Zdeba T. W. (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.
    19. ^ Peckarsky B. L., Fraissinet P. R., Penton M. A. & Conklin Jr. D. J. (1993). Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of Northeastern North America. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York State. 442 pp.
    20. ^ a b c Pennak R. (1989). Fresh-water Invertebrates of the United States, 3rd ed. Protozoa to Mollusca. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, New York State. 628 pp.
    21. ^ a b c Clarke A. H. (1981). The freshwater molluscs of Canada. National Museum of Natural Sciences, National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, Canada. 447 pp.
    22. ^ Vincent B., Rioux H. & Harvey M. (1981). "Factors affecting the structure of epiphytic gastropod communities in the St. Lawrence River (Quebec, Canada)". Hydrobiologia 220: 57-71.
    23. ^ Vaillancourt G. & Lafarriere E. (1983). "Relationship between the quality of the environment and the benthic groupings in the littoral zone of the St. Lawrence River, Canada". Naturaliste Canadien (Quebec) 110(4): 385-396.
    24. ^ Ricciardi A., Whoriskey F. G. & Rasmussen J. B. (1997). "The role of the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) in structuring macroinvertebrate communities on hard substrata". Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 54: 2596–2608.
    25. ^ Brendelberger H. (1997). "Contrasting feeding strategies of two freshwater gastropods, Radix peregra (Lymnaeidae) and Bithynia tentaculata (Bithynidae)". Archiv für Hydrobiologie 140(1): 1-21.
    26. ^ Pavlichenko V. I. (1977). "The role of Hydropsyche angustipennis (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae) larvae in destroying black flies in flowing reservoirs of the Zaporozyhe oblast, USSR". Ekologiya (Moscow) 1: 104-105.
    27. ^ Korotneva N. V. & Dregol’skaya I. N. (1992). "Effect of the elevated temperature in the habitat of fresh water mollusk Bithynia tentaculata L. on its oogenesis". Tsitologiya 34(2): 30-36.
    28. ^ Desy J. C., Archambault J.-F., Pinel-Alloul B., Hubert J. & Campbell P. G. C. (2000). "Relationships between total mercury in sediments and methyl mercury in the freshwater gastropod prosobranch Bithynia tentaculata in the St. Lawrence River, Quebec". Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 57(Suppl. 1): 164-173.
    29. ^ Flessas C., Couillard Y., Pinel-Alloul B., St-Cyr L. & Campbell P. G. C. (2000). "Metal concentrations in two freshwater gastropods (Mollusca) in the St. Lawrence River and relationships with environmental contamination". Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 57(Suppl. 1): 126-137.
    30. ^ Mattison R. G., Dunn T. S., Hanna R. E. B., Nizami W. A. & Ali Q. M. (1995). "Population dynamics of freshwater gastropods and epidemiology of their helminth infections with emphasis on larval parmphistomes in northern India". Journal of Helminthology 69(2): 125-138.
    31. ^ Morley N. J., Adam M. E. & Lewis J. W. (2004). "The role of Bithynia tentaculata in the transmission of larval digeneans from a gravel pit in the Lower Thames Valley". Journal of Helminthology 78(2): 129-135.
    32. ^ Toledo R., Munoz-Antoli V., Perez M. & Esteban J. G. (1998). "Larval trematode infections in freshwater gastropods from the Albufera Natural Park in Spain". Journal of Helminthology 72(1): 79-82.
    33. ^ Prosthogonimus ovatus (Parasite Species Summary) Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
    34. ^ a b Sauer J. S., Cole R. A. & Nissen J. M. (2007). "Finding the exotic faucet snail (Bithynia tentaculata): Investigation of waterbird die-offs on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge." U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007–1065, 3 p.
    35. ^ "Cyanthocotyle bushiensis (Parasite Species Summary)" Archived 1 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
    36. ^ "Echinostomum revolutum (Parasite Species Summary)". Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
    37. ^ "Syngamus trachea (Parasite Species Summary)" Archived 1 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
    38. ^ http://www.iepp.bas.bg/EPP_6_11_2003/23_24_EPP_6_11_2003.pdf[permanent dead link]
    39. ^ "Chapter 35 - Miscellaneous Parasitic Diseases - Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases Archived 22 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine.".
    40. ^ Alevs, Philippe V.; Vieira, Fabiano M.; Santos, Cláudia P.; Scholz, Tomáš; Luque, José L. (2015-02-12). "A Checklist of the Aspidogastrea (Platyhelminthes: Trematoda) of the World". Zootaxa. 3918 (3). doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3918.3.2. ISSN 1175-5334.
    41. ^ von Proschwitz T. (1997). "Bithynia tentaculata (L.) in Norway – a rare species on the edge of its western distribution, and some notes on the dispersal of freshwater snails". Fauna (Oslo) 50(3): 102-107.
    42. ^ Kelly P. M. & Cory J. S. (1987). "Operculum closing as a defense against predatory leeches in four British freshwater prosobranch snails". Hydrobiologia 144(2): 121-124.