State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Bithynia tentaculata (Linnaeus, 1758)

  • Helix tentaculata Linnaeus, 1758
  • Amnicola meridionalis (Frauenfeld, 1862)
  • Bithynia meridionalis Frauenfeld, 1862
Vernacular Name
Common Bithynia, Mud Bithynia, Faucet Snail
Conservation status
No status defined
Value of species
The distribution of Bithynia tentaculata is Palearctic. The species occurs in: Northern Europe: Scandinavia; Central Europe: Czech Republic - least concern (LC), Germany - common species overall in Germany, but is listed as endangered (gefährdet) in Saxony and in Thuringia, Poland, Slovakia; Western Europe: British Isles: Great Britain and Ireland, the Netherlands; Eastern Europe: Ukraine; Southeastern Europe: Bulgaria - There is southern distribution border of Bithynia tentaculata in northern Bulgaria, Croatia. Bithynia tentaculata has been mentioned from Greece, but it does not occur there, it probably does not occur in Turkey and in Iran (Glöer & Pešić, 2012). Bithynia tentaculata is nonindigenous in the United States and in Canada. 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. It lives mostly in shoals, but is also found at depths of up to 5 m. Bithynia tentaculata inhabits intertidal zones in the Hudson River 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. It can potentially survive well in water bodies with high concentrations of K+ and low concentrations of NO3−. In the Saint Lawrence River, it tends to occur in relatively unpolluted, nearshore areas and amongst dreissenid mussel beds. 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. 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. Bithynia tentaculata feeds selectively on food items. The faucet snail is known in Eurasia to feed on black fly larvae. 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. 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. In its native Eurasian habitat, the faucet snail is host to many different species of digeneans, cercariae, metacercariae, cysticercoids, and other parasites. As first intermediate host for Prosthogonimus ovatus. As an intermediate host for Sphaeridiotrema globulus. As first intermediate hosts and as second intermediate host for Cyanthocotyle bushiensis. As second intermediate host for Echinostoma revolutum. As intermediate host for Syngamus trachea. Capillariidae, probably Capillaria obsignata. Bithynia tenataculata is a suspected intermediate host for Leyogonimus polyoon. Parasites of Bithynia tentaculata include trematode Aspidogaster conchicola. Natural dispersal of this snail is known to occur by passive transport in birds. Bithynia tentaculata is capable of detecting the presence of molluscivorous leeches through chemoreception and of closing its operculum to avoid predation.
Book reference
  • Гураль Р.І., Гураль-Сверлова Н.В. Каталог прісноводних молюсків України [Електронний ресурс]. – 2018. – 317с.
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Taxonomic branch