Pond SnailThe Lymnaeidae is a family of gastropods, commonly called the pond snails. These animals are quite common in European rivers, lakes, and ponds. The large freshwater snails also live in garden ponds and aquaria where they are often introduced involuntarily with water plants, but also many people like to have them and so put them into their ponds on purpose. The snails are famous for their shells which often have a beautiful color and showy patterns
However, not all pond snails have such a lovely shell. In the case of some species from North America and Mexico, this is not only true for the shell: the entire snail is colored in an ugly shade of yellow-brown to brown and has a rather disgusting pattern on its skin.
The snail is much larger than the common species from Europe. It easily reaches 4 centimeters in diameter and can weigh as much as 35 grams! Thus, it is one of the largest snails that occur in the wild and certainly belongs to the biggest gastropods in the world. Only the Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) can rival it in size. This snail inhabits large parts of Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina.
Interesting is that its shell, though bigger than the one of most pond snails, is less colorful. Often they are golden brown with a golden sheen. Yet there are some populations in which the shell is orange to dark red. The most spectacular individuals come from Honduras and Mexico where it has an intense color with strong reflections. Except for its size, there is nothing really spectacular about this snail.
It has clearly recognizable anatomy and behavior. The shell is conoidal (pointed at both ends) and it bears relatively small but sharp protrusions all over the surface. These projections may be white or orange and give the shell a rather rough look that helps camouflage it among the rocks. The shell has a thick layer of nacre and often bears light or darker lines on the spiral side as well as various patterns. Some shells are so heavily patterned that it is difficult to see their original color.
The snail's flesh is dark brown with longitudinal blackish stripes and small yellow dots; this makes it appear even more disgusting. The mantle covers almost the entire shell and is orange to dark red in color. Its tentacles are relatively short but very visible because of their white or yellowish color. The species feeds on vegetation found in shallow water, including different types of algae, aquatic grasses, and dead leaves from the margins of rivers and ponds.
Global pond snail production
Pond snails are found in freshwater habitats all over the world, and their global production is estimated to be in the billions. In North America alone, there are over 60 species of pond snails. Pond snails are an important food source for fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. They are also a key part of the aquatic ecosystem, providing essential nutrients and energy for other animals.
Pond snails are generally small, with most species being less than an inch in length. They have soft, slimy body that is often brightly colored. Pond snails have long, coiled shell that protects them from predators and the elements. The shell also stores nutrients and moisture, which the snail can access when necessary.
Pond snails are herbivores, and their diet consists mainly of algae and other aquatic plants. They use their rasping tongue to scrape food from surfaces. Pond snails are also known to eat dead animals and excrement.
Pond snails reproduce sexually, and the eggs are often laid in clusters on aquatic plants. The young snails hatch from the eggs and go through a process of metamorphosis before becoming adults.
Pond snails are vulnerable to a variety of predators, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. They are also subject to parasitism by a variety of parasites, including bacteria, fungi, and other organisms. Pond snails are an important food source for many animals, and they play a key role in the aquatic ecosystem. However, pond snail populations are threatened by a number of factors, including habitat loss, pollution, and predation.
Pond snails are an important part of the global aquaculture industry, providing a valuable source of food for fish and other animals. In 2017, global production of pond snails was estimated at 1.3 million tonnes, worth an estimated US$1.9 billion. China is by far the largest producer of pond snails, accounting for over 80% of global production. Other major producers include India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Thailand. Pond snails are typically harvested from natural ponds or lakes, although some aquaculture operations exist. The snails are usually collected by hand, although mechanized collection methods are also used in some cases. Once collected, the pond snails are typically cleaned and then sold fresh, frozen, or canned. Pond snails are a popular food in many parts of the world, especially in Asia. They are often used in soups and stews, or simply eaten as a snack. In addition to their culinary use, pond snails are also used for their shells, which are used to make jewelry and other decorative items. Pond snail farming is a relatively simple and inexpensive proposition, making it an attractive option for small-scale farmers in developing countries. With proper management, pond snail production can provide a sustainable source of income and food security for smallscale farmers and their families.