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Life in Freshwater

Pond Snails (Genus Lymnaea)

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Greater Pond Snail feeding

Great Pond Snail (Lymnaea stagnalis)

IDENTIFICATION: These are the "typical" snails found in freshwater. One species, the Wandering Snail (Lymnaea pyregea) is particularly abundant. The shell of Great Pond Snail is thin and a pale brown. Most molluscs in freshwater are dull in colour compared to the marine ones. The shell grows up to 5 cm long.

There are a number of freshwater snails with the genus Lymnaea and they are found in a diversity of water environments. The larger species are pond dwellers but not if they are acidic. Invariably acidic water suggests a lack of nutrients and minerals, especially calcium which is essential for the shell to form. The Great Pond Snail is extremely abundant around Europe.

ECOLOGY: The tentacles are broad and flattened, carrying important sense organs. The pond snails creep over the vegetation with their rippling muscular foot making their way across a mat of large quantities of mucus which they produce. Using the radula (a flexible tongue with teeth) it rasps away plant debris and algae. They are unisexual meaningthey have separate sexes, male and females. The eggs are usually produced in a mass of jelly laid on to the vegetation. The Great Pond Snail may have as many as 300 eggs per mass. A number of water birds feed on Lymnaea and the snails act as a secondary host for fluke parasites with the adults living in the bird. The larval fluke is found living in the huge digestive gland within the spiral of the shell. The presence of flukes may be seen as after a period of time as a deformity of the shell develops.

See also Fluke parasites and Theodoxus











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