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Banded mystery snail (Viviparus georgianus)

Banded mystery snail Common Names: Mystery snail, Banded apple snail, Pond snail

Description: Introduced intentionally into the Hudson River by an amateur conchologist in 1867; spread to the Great Lakes via the Erie Canal and Mohawk River.

Identification: Large (up to 1 3/4 inches); olive-green shell has 4-5 whorls with distinct sutures; 4 reddish bands circle the shell (sometimes only visible from the inside): along the lip of the shell, there are ridges and "hairs" with hooked ends.

Habitat: Native the northeast to Florida, Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi River to Illinois. Prefers sandy-bottomed areas of lakes, ponds, slow-moving rivers and streams.

Reproduction: Dioecious, iteroparous and ovoviviparous. Females generally brood eggs for 9-10 months. Normally have between 4-81 young per female. Females can brood more than one batch of young at a time and the number of young depend on the size of the female, which are larger than 16 mm. Females can live 28-48 months while males live 18-36 months.

Impact and Damage: Can invade largemouth bass nests and reduce the survival of bass eggs. They compete with native snails for food and habitat and serves as a host for parasites that may be transmitted to fish and other wildlife.

Similar species: European river snail (Viviparus viviparus).

Monitoring and rapid response: Physical removal of snails via baiting or hand netting. Clean watercraft, trailer, motor and equipment. Remove visible snails before leaving any water access. Drain water from boat, bilge, motor and live well by removing drain plug. Dry everything for at least 5 days before going in other waters or spray/rinse recreation equipment with high pressure and/or hot water (120 degrees Fahrenheit or higher).

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the "Invaders of the Great Lakes" produced by Wildlife Forever and the Sea Grant Great Lakes Network.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Banded mystery snail

Scientific Name:

Viviparus georgianus


(River snail)