The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Cipangopaludina chinensis
Cipangopaludina chinensis
(Chinese mysterysnail)

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Cipangopaludina chinensis (Gray, 1834)

Common name: Chinese mysterysnail

Synonyms and Other Names: Chinese mysterysnail, Oriental mysterysnail, Asian applesnail, Chinese applesnail, C. chinensis malleatus, Viviparus malleatus, V. chinensis malleatus, Bellamya chinensis, B. chinensis malleatus

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Species of the genus Cipangopaludina can be identified by their relatively large globose shells and concentrically marked opercula (Burch 1980). Cipangopaludina chinensis has a width to height ratio of 0.74–0.82, the shell has 6.0–7.0 whorls, and the inner coloration is white to pale blue (Clarke 1981, Jokinen 1992). This species has a small and round umbilicus and the spire is produced at an angle of 65–80º (Jokinen 1992). Cipangopaludina chinensis exhibits light coloration as a juvenile and olive green, greenish brown, brown or reddish brown pigmentation as an adult (Clarke 1981, Jokinen 1992). In juveniles, the last shell whorl displays a distinct carina, and the shell contains grooves with 20 striae/mm between each groove (Clarke 1981, Smith 2000). Juveniles also have a detailed pattern on their periostracum consisting of 2 apical and 3 body whorl rows of hairs with long hooks on the ends, distinct ridges and many other hairs with short hooks (Jokinen 1984).           

The shell of C. chinensis grows allometrically (the height increasing faster than the width) and does so at a decreased rate in comparison with C. japonica, such that the adult shell is less elongate than that of its congener (Jokinen 1982). The radula (feeding structure) also may differ between C. japonica and C. chinensis, but there is so much variation even within one species that it is not a good diagnostic characteristic (Smith 2000). However, as a general guide, in one North American population, the radula of C. chinensis had seven small cusps on the marginal tooth and a large central cusp with four small cusps on either side (Jokinen 1982).

Size: can reach 64 mm (Johnsons et al., 2009)

Native Range: From Southeast Asia to Japan and eastern Russia.

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Cipangopaludina chinensis are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AZ196520183Imperial Reservoir; Lower Salt; Upper Santa Cruz
CA1911201914Coyote; Honcut Headwaters-Lower Feather; Lower Sacramento; Mad-Redwood; Middle San Joaquin-Lower Chowchilla; Pajaro; San Diego; San Francisco Bay; San Jacinto; San Joaquin Delta; San Pablo Bay; Santa Barbara Coastal; Santa Monica Bay; Suisun Bay
CT198320216Farmington; Housatonic; Lower Connecticut; Quinnipiac; Saugatuck; Shetucket
FL196520183Charlotte Harbor; Peace; Tampa Bay
GA201320131Upper Chattahoochee
HI180019974Hawaii; Kauai; Molokai; Oahu
ID200820185Clearwater; Lower Boise; Palouse; Pend Oreille Lake; Upper Spokane
IL1974201516Apple-Plum; Chicago; Copperas-Duck; Des Plaines; Flint-Henderson; Kankakee; Kishwaukee; Little Wabash; Lower Fox; Lower Illinois-Lake Chautauqua; Mackinaw; Pike-Root; Upper Fox; Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau; Upper Sangamon; Vermilion
IN1965201913Eel; Highland-Pigeon; Kankakee; Little Calumet-Galien; Lower Wabash; Lower White; Middle Wabash-Busseron; Ohio Region; St. Joseph; Tippecanoe; Upper White; Whitewater; Wildcat
IA194320104Blackbird-Soldier; Flint-Henderson; Middle Des Moines; South Skunk
KS200120186Little Arkansas; Lower Kansas; Lower Missouri-Crooked; North Fork Ninnescah; Solomon; Upper Walnut River
KY200920172Kentucky Lake; Salt
ME196520207Fish; Lower Androscoggin; Lower Kennebec; Mattawamkeag; Piscataqua-Salmon Falls; Presumpscot; St. George-Sheepscot
MD197420183Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan; Upper Chesapeake Bay; Youghiogheny
MA1914201710Blackstone; Cape Cod; Charles; Chicopee; Deerfield; Lower Connecticut; Merrimack River; Middle Connecticut; Narragansett; Nashua
MI1947201925Au Sable; Betsy-Chocolay; Black; Black-Macatawa; Clinton; Detroit; Great Lakes Region; Kalamazoo; Keweenaw Peninsula; Lake Huron; Lake St. Clair; Manistee; Michigamme; Muskegon; Ontonagon; Ottawa-Stony; Pere Marquette-White; Raisin; Shiawassee; St. Joseph; Thornapple; Thunder Bay; Tiffin; Upper Grand; Upper Wisconsin
MN1944201837Baptism-Brule; Beartrap-Nemadji; Beaver-Lester; Buffalo; Buffalo-Whitewater; Cannon; Chippewa; Clearwater; Clearwater-Elk; Cloquet; Crow; Crow Wing; Elk-Nokasippi; Kettle; Lac Qui Parle; Leech Lake; Little Fork; Long Prairie; Lower Minnesota; Lower St. Croix; Mississippi Headwaters; Otter Tail; Pine; Platte-Spunk; Prairie-Willow; Red Lake; Red Lakes; Redeye; Rum; Rush-Vermillion; Sauk; Shell Rock; Snake; St. Louis; Twin Cities; Upper Cedar; Vermilion
MO200220198Blackwater; James; Little Chariton; Lower Kansas; Lower Missouri-Crooked; Niangua; Peruque-Piasa; Thompson
NE197420207Big Papillion-Mosquito; Lower Elkhorn; Lower Platte; Middle Big Blue; Middle Platte-Buffalo; Salt; South Loup
NH197320205Contoocook; Merrimack River; Middle Connecticut; Piscataqua-Salmon Falls; Winnipesaukee River
NJ196520207Cohansey-Maurice; Crosswicks-Neshaminy; Hackensack-Passaic; Lower Delaware; Mullica-Toms; Raritan; Sandy Hook-Staten Island
NY1920201813Hudson-Wappinger; Lake Champlain; Lower Hudson; Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead; Middle Hudson; Mohawk; Niagara; Oneida; Raquette; Rondout; Saranac River; Seneca; Southern Long Island
NC1965201910Deep; Haw; Lower Cape Fear; Lower Pee Dee; Lower Tar; Lower Yadkin; Roanoke Rapids; Upper Catawba; Upper Neuse; Upper Pee Dee
OH1965202119Cuyahoga; Hocking; Lake Erie; Licking; Little Miami; Lower Scioto; Mahoning; Mohican; Muskingum; Paint; Raccoon-Symmes; Sandusky; Shenango; Tuscarawas; Upper Great Miami; Upper Ohio; Upper Scioto; Walhonding; Wills
OR200820168Coast Fork Willamette; Lost; Lower Willamette; Middle Rogue; Middle Willamette; Necanicum; Upper Deschutes; Upper Willamette
PA1957202017Connoquenessing; Crosswicks-Neshaminy; French; Lackawaxen; Lake Erie; Lower Allegheny; Lower Delaware; Lower Susquehanna; Lower Susquehanna-Swatara; Middle Allegheny-Redbank; Middle Allegheny-Tionesta; Raystown; Schuylkill; Shenango; Sinnemahoning; Upper Delaware; Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna
SC201720184Cooper; Lake Marion; Lower Broad; Saluda
TX196520163Lower West Fork Trinity; Middle Brazos-Lake Whitney; Trinity
UT196519651Utah Lake
VT196519652Black-Ottauquechee; Upper Connecticut-Mascoma
VA199320172Middle James-Willis; Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan
WA196520187Deschutes; Lake Washington; Lower Columbia-Clatskanie; Lower Spokane; Nooksack; Puget Sound; Strait of Georgia
WV201120203Cacapon-Town; Middle New; West Fork
WI1974201841Bad-Montreal; Baraboo; Beartrap-Nemadji; Black; Brule; Buffalo-Whitewater; Castle Rock; Coon-Yellow; Des Plaines; Duck-Pensaukee; Eau Claire; Flambeau; Jump; La Crosse-Pine; Lake Dubay; Lake Michigan; Lake Winnebago; Lower Chippewa; Lower Fox; Lower St. Croix; Lower Wisconsin; Manitowoc-Sheboygan; Menominee; Middle Rock; Milwaukee; Namekagon; Oconto; Ontonagon; Peshtigo; Pike-Root; Red Cedar; South Fork Flambeau; Sugar; Trempealeau; Upper Chippewa; Upper Fox; Upper Fox; Upper Rock; Upper St. Croix; Upper Wisconsin; Wolf

Table last updated 10/16/2021

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Cipangopaludina chinensis feeds non-selectively on organic and inorganic bottom material as well as benthic and epiphytic algae, mostly by scraping, but diatoms are probably the most nutritious food it ingests at sites in eastern North America (Jokinen 1982).

It prefers lentic water bodies with silt, sand, and mud substrate in eastern North America, although it can survive in slower regions of streams as well (Jokinen 1982, Stanczykowska et al. 1971). This species has been found in waters in eastern North America with pH 6.5–8.4, calcium concentration of 5–97 ppm, magnesium concentration of 13–31 ppm, oxygen concentration of 7–11 ppm, depths of 0.2–3 m, conductivity of 63–400 μmhos/cm, and sodium concentration of 2–49 ppm (Jokinen 1982, Jokinen 1992, Stanczykowska et al. 1971).  It can tolerate conditions in stagnant waters near septic tanks (Perron and Probert 1973). Prefers slow-moving freshwater rivers, streams, and lakes with soft, muddy or silty bottoms.

This species is ovoviviparous (Jokinen 1992). Females live up to 5 years, while males live up to 3, occasionally 4 years (Jokinen 1982; Jokinen 1992). Female fecundity is very high, with brood pouches found to contain up to 133 embroys at once; larger females have larger broods, rather than larger embryos, increasing cluch sizes overall (Stephen et al. 2013). All females generally contain embryos from May to August and young are born from June through October in eastern North America in shallow water, then females begin migrating to deeper water for the winter in the fall (Jokinen 1982; Jokinen 1992; Stanczykowska et al. 1971). Females bear more young in their 4th and 5th years than in other years (Jokinen 1992).           

Johnson et al. (2009) showed that C. chinensis often co-occurs with the rusty crayfish (Faxonius rusticus), another species that has invaded the midwest; this co-occurrence is likey due to the resistance of C. chinensis to crayfish predation, which is attributed to their thick shell.

This species is a host to many parasites (see 'Impacts' section below; Chang et al 1968; Michelson 1970; Otsuru 1979; Chao et al. 1993; Chung and Jung, 1999; Sohn et al. 2013).

Means of Introduction: This species was sold in Chinese food market in San Francisco in the late 1800s; collected as early as 1914 in Boston.  Probably released from an aquarium into the Niagara River between 1931 and 1942 (Mills et al. 1993).

Status: Cipangopaludina chinensis is established in Lake Ontario and Lake Michigan drainages.

Impact of Introduction:
Summary of species impacts derived from literature review. Click on an icon to find out more...

EcologicalEconomicHuman Health


Human Health, Parasites

This species host to many parasties: the common native parasite Aspidogaster conchicola (Michelson 1970), the human-intestinal trematide Echinostoma cinetorchis (Chung and Jung, 1999) and Echinostoma macrorchis (Sohn et al. 2013), and the rat lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis) (Chang et al 1968; Otsuru 1979). This It is also a common host to larvae of echinostomes in the Kinmen islands (Chao et al. 1993).

Additionally, the parasite Aspidogaster conchicola, which this species hosts, can be spread to native Unionid mussels (Huehner and Etges, 1977).


This species has been shown to alter feeding behavior in the native snail Helisoma trivolvis (marsh rams-horn) when present in high densities (Sura and Mahon, 2011).

During mesocosm experiments, C. chinesis reduced the abundance of the native snail Lymnaea stagnalis; when Faxonius rusticus (the rusty crayfish) co-occured with Cipangopaludina chinensis, Lymnaea stagnalis was extipated from the mesocosm (Johnson et al., 2009).

Habitat Alteration, Recreation

Since this species reaches such high densities where it occurs, large die-offs often occur with the species as well, which result in shell accumulations and wrack line on the lake beaches, often to the dismay of recreational users (Bury et al. 2007).

Human Health, Agriculture

Cipangopaludina chinensis is capable of ingesting, and therefore removing, the heavy metals from sewage fertilizer on rice fields; this has implications for human health and food safety (Kurihara et al. 1987).

Remarks: Prefers slow-moving freshwater rivers, streams, and lakes with soft, muddy or silty bottoms.  Can have up to 7 whorls; females are livebearers giving birth to crawling young.  This species was sold in Chinese food market in San Francisco in the late 1800s; collected as early as 1914 in Boston.

Taxonomy of the introduced populations of mysterysnails from Asia is confusing and there are many scientific names in use. There has also been debate regarding whether or not C. chinensis and C. japonica in North America are synonymous and simply different phenotypes of the same species. This database considers the two as separate species.  Smith (2000) argues that Cipangopaludina is a subgenus of Bellamya; however, because most North American literature does not use the genus Bellamya to refer to these introduced snails, the mysterysnails discussed here are referred to by the name Cipangopaludina. David and Cote (2019) did a genetic and morphological analysis on North American populations of both C. japonica and C. chinensis, finding them genetically distinct, morphologically indistinguishable, and co-occuring in multiple lakes of New York; the authors go on to discuss literature which also supports the idea that these two species have no shell characters that can be used to distinguish them morphologically.

Literature cited in this database regarding the Chinese mysterysnail may employ the following names: C. chinensis, C. chinensis malleatus, C. chinensis malleata, Viviparus malleatus, V. chinensis malleatus, B. chinensis and B. chinensis malleatus.

References: (click for full references)

Burch, J.B. 1980. A guide to the fresh water snails of the Philippines. Malacological Review 13(1-2):121-144.

Bury, J.A., B.E. Sietman, and B.N. Karns. 2007. Distribution of the non-native Viviparid snails, Bellamya chinensis and Viviparus georgianus, in Minnesota and the first record of Bellamya japonica from Wisconsin. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 22(4):697-703.

Chao, D., L.C. Wang, and T.C. Huang. 1993. Prevalence of larval helminths in freshwater snails of the Kinmen Islands. Journal of Helminthology 67(4):259-264.

Chang, P-K, J.H. Cross, and S.S.S. Chen. 1968. Aquatic Snails as Intermediate Hosts for Angiostrongylus cantonensis on Taiwan. The Journal of Parasitology 54(1):182-183.

Chung, P.R., and Y. Jung. 1999. Cipangopaludina chinensis malleata (Gastropoda: Viviparidae): a new second molluscan intermediate host of a human intestinal fluke Echinostoma cinetorchis (Trematoda: Echinostomatidae) in Korea. Journal of Parasitology 85(5):963-964.

Clarke, A.H. 1978. The Asian apple snail Cipangopaludina chinensis (Viviparidae) in Oneida Lake, New York. Nautilus 92(3):134.

Clarke, A.H. 1981.  The freshwater molluscs of Canada.  National Museum of Natural Sciences, National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, Canada. 447 pp.

Cordeiro, J.R. 2002. Proliferation of the Chinese mystery snail, Cipangopaludina chinensis malleata (Reeve, 1863) throughout Connecticut [Abstract]. (R.T. Dillon, ed.) Program and Abstracts of the 68th Meeting of the American Malacological Society, Charleston, SC. p. 37. Available http://www.malacological.org/meetings/archives/2002/2002_abs.pdf

David, A.A., and S.C. Cote. 2019. Genetic evidence confirms the presence of the Japanese mystery snail, Cipangopaludina japonica (von Martens, 1861) (Caenogastropoda: Viviparidae) in northern New York. BioInvasions Records 8(4):793-803. https://www.reabic.net/journals/bir/2019/4/BIR_2019_David_Cote.pdf

Gracyzk, T.K., and B. Fried. 1998. Echinostomiasis: a common but forgotten food-borne disease. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 58(4): 501-504.

Havel, J.E. 2011. Survival of the exotic Chinese mystery snail (Cipangopaludina chinensis malleata) during air exposure and implications for overland dispersal by boats. Hydrobiologia DOI: 10.1007/s10750-010-0566-3. 8pp.

Huehner, M.K., and F.J. Etges. 1977. The life cycle and development of Aspidogaster conchicola in the smails, Viviparus malleatus and Goniobasis livescens. The Journal of Parasitology 63(4):669-674.

Johnson, P.T.J., J.D. Olden, C.T. Solomon, and M.J. Vander Zanden. 2009. Interactions among invaders: community and ecosystem effects of multiple invasive species in an experimental aquatic system. Oecologia 159: 161-170.

Jokinen, E.H. 1982. Cipangopaludina chinensis (Gastropoda: Viviparidae) in North America, review and update. Nautilus 96(3):89-95.

Jokinen, E.H. 1984. Periostracal morphology of viviparid snail shells. Transactions of the American Microscopical Society 103(4):312-316.

Jokinen, E.H. 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.

Jones, B. 2017. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (personal communication).

Karatayev, A.Y., L.E. Burlakova, V.A. Karatayev, and D.K. Padilla. 2009. Introduction, distribution, spread, and impacts of exotic freshwater gastropods in Texas. Hydrobiologia 619: 181-194.

Kurihara, Y., T. Suzuki, and K. Moriyama. 1987. Incorporation of heavy metals by the mud snail, Cipangopaludina chinensis malleata Reeve, in submerged paddy soil treated with composted sewage sludge. Biol Fertil Soils 5:93-97.

Mackie, G.L. 1996. A review of impacts of freshwater Mollusca (Gastropoda and Bivalvia) introduced into North America. 6th International Zebra Mussel and Other Aquatic Nuisance Species Conference, Dearborn, Michigan, March 1996.

Mackie, G.L. 2000. Introduction of molluscs through the import for live food. Pp. 305-313 in R. Claudi and J.H. Leach, eds. Nonindigenous Freshwater Organisms: Vectors, Biology and Impacts. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, Florida. 464 pp.

Michelson, E.H. 1970. Aspidogaster conchicola from fresh water gastropods in the USA. Journal of Parasitology 56(4):709-712.

Mills, E.L., J.H. Leach, J.T. Carlton, and C.L. Secor. 1993. Exotic species in the Great Lakes: a history of biotic crises and anthropogenic introductions. Journal of Great Lakes Research 19(1):1-54.

Otsuru, M. 1979. Angiostronglus cantonensis and Angiostrongyliasis in Japan, with those of neighboring Taiwan. Progress of medical parasitology in Japan 6:227-274.

Perron, F., and T. Probert. 1973. Viviparus malleatus, new record in New Hampshire. Nautilus 87(3):90.

Rivera, CJR.  2008.  Obstruction of the upstream migration of the invasive snail Cipangopaludina chinensis by high water currents.  Unpublished practicum.  Accessed  10/28/13.  http://www3.nd.edu/~underc/east/education/documents/Rivera2008.pdf

Stephen, B.J., C.R. Allen, N.M. Chaine, K.A. Fricke, D.M. Haak, M.L. Hellman, R.A. Kill, K.T. Nemec, K.L. Pope, N.A. Smeenk, D.R. Uden, K.M. Unstad, and A. Wong. 2013. Fecundity of the Chinese mystery snail in a Nebraska reservoir. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 28(3):439-444.

Sohn, W.M., J.Y. Chai, B.K. Na, T.S. Yong, K.S. Eom, H. Park, D.Y. Min, and H.J. Rim. 2013. Echinostoma macrorchis in Lao PDR: metacercariae in Cipangopaludina snails and adults from experimentally infected animals. Korean J Parasitol 51(2):191-196.

Solomon, C.T., J.D. Olden, P.T.J. Johnson, R.T. Dillon Jr. 2009. Distribution and community-level effects of the Chinese mystery snail (Bellamya chinensis) in northern Wisconsin lakes. Biological Invasions 12: 1591-1605.

Smith, D.G. 2000. Notes on the taxonomy of introduced Bellamya (Gastropoda: Viviparidae) species in northeastern North America. Nautilus 114(2):31-37.

Stanczykowska, A., E. Magnin, and A. Dumouchel. 1971. Study of 3 Viviparus malleatus (Gastropoda: Prosobranchia) populations of the Montreal region. Part 1: Growth, fecundity, biomass and annual production. Canadian Journal of Zoology 49(11):1431-1441.

Sura, S.A. and H.K. Mahon. 2011. Effects of competition and predation on the feeding rate of the freshwater snail Helisoma trivolvis. American Midland Naturalist 166:358-368.

Wolfert, D.R., and J.K. Hiltunen. 1968. Distribution and abundance of the Japanese snail Viviparus japonicus, and associated macrobenthos in Sandusky Bay, Ohio. Ohio Journal of Science 68(1):32-40.

Author: Kipp, R.M., A.J. Benson, J. Larson, A. Fusaro and C. Morningstar

Revision Date: 1/15/2020

Citation Information:
Kipp, R.M., A.J. Benson, J. Larson, A. Fusaro and C. Morningstar, 2021, Cipangopaludina chinensis (Gray, 1834): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=1044, Revision Date: 1/15/2020, Access Date: 10/16/2021

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2021]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [10/16/2021].

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