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.

Melanoides tuberculata
Melanoides tuberculata
(red-rim melania)

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Melanoides tuberculata (Muller, 1774)

Common name: red-rim melania

Synonyms and Other Names: Melanoides tuberculata; Malaysian trumpet snail.

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: An elongate, conical shell with as many as 10-15 slightly convex whorls, usually light brown marked with rust colored spots. An operculum is present and has coarse striations spirally up the shell (India Biodiversity Portal 2018).

Size: Average shell length: 20–27 mm; 80 mm maximum (India Biodiversity Portal 2018)

Native Range: Native range included the subtropical and tropical portions of Africa (with exception of most of coastal western Africa) and southern Asia (Brown 1994). 

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 Melanoides tuberculata are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AL201920222Lower Tallapoosa; Mobile-Tensaw
AZ195420216Agua Fria; Havasu-Mohave Lakes; Imperial Reservoir; Lower Salt; Lower Virgin; Middle Gila
CA1972202217Death Valley-Lower Amargosa; Los Angeles; Lower Sacramento; Middle San Joaquin-Lower Chowchilla; Newport Bay; Salton Sea; San Diego; San Francisco Bay; San Gabriel; San Joaquin Delta; San Luis Rey-Escondido; Santa Ana; Santa Monica Bay; Southern Mojave; Upper Amargosa; Upper Mokelumne; Whitewater River
CO198919891San Luis
FL1966202419Alafia; Big Cypress Swamp; Caloosahatchee; Cape Canaveral; Florida Southeast Coast; Hillsborough; Lake Okeechobee; Little Manatee; Lower St. Johns; Manatee; Myakka; Oklawaha; Peace; Santa Fe; Sarasota Bay; Upper St. Johns; Vero Beach; Western Okeechobee Inflow; Withlacoochee
HI199720224Hawaii; Kauai; Maui; Oahu
ID200020102Little Lost; Medicine Lodge
LA197519752East Central Louisiana Coastal; Eastern Louisiana Coastal
MT199120223Beaverhead; Middle Powder; Upper Yellowstone
NV198520216Central Nevada Desert Basins; Lake Mead; Las Vegas Wash; Muddy; Upper Amargosa; White
NC200120011Lower Cape Fear
OR199219921Oregon closed basins
PR200720071Southern Puerto Rico
SC201520151Calibogue Sound-Wright River
SD201120202Angostura Reservoir; Middle Cheyenne-Spring
TX1964202125Aransas Bay; Austin-Travis Lakes; Buffalo-San Jacinto; Cibolo; East Fork Trinity; Elm-Sycamore; Guadalupe; Landreth-Monument Draws; Los Olmos; Lower Brazos; Lower Devils; Lower Frio; Lower Guadalupe; Lower Neches; Lower Rio Grande; Lower Trinity; Middle Guadalupe; North Galveston Bay; Sabine Lake; San Gabriel; San Marcos; South Laguna Madre; Toyah; Upper Guadalupe; Upper San Antonio
UT200220223Lower Beaver; Southern Great Salt Lake Desert; Utah Lake
VI198719871St. John-St. Thomas
WY200620092Snake Headwaters; Yellowstone Headwaters

Table last updated 7/20/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Red-rim melania is a freshwater benthic species living in and on the bottom sediments of permanent waters, from small springs to vast lakes (e.g. Lake Victoria), but it can also inhabit brackish waters (Wingard et al. 2008). Laboratory studies have shown it can survive hypersaline environments up to 45 ppt. (Wingard et al. 2008; Silva and Barros 2015). Optimum temperature range is from 18-32° Celsius (A. Mitchell, personal communication).  

Red-rim melania can breed sexually or parthenogenically (development of embryos occur without fertilization) and brood young internally (India Biodiversity Portal 2018). Under favourable conditions, females transfer 1-64 fertilised eggs to a brood pouch for hatching. Juvenile snails are 1.2-2.2 mm in size at birth (India Biodiversity Portal 2018). The species feeds on microalgae and detritus (dead plants and animals).

Means of Introduction: Imported by the aquarium industry as early as the 1930s.  Some of the early known populations most likely began from local aquarium hobbyists' releases. Red-rim melania has also been spread with rice cultivation (India Biodiversity Portal 2018).

Status: Established in multiple waterbodies in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

Populations in North Carolina, Virgin Islands and South Dakota are unknown.

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

EcologicalEconomicHuman Health

Red-rim melania is an intermediate host of Paragonimus westermani, (Oriental lung fluke), Metagonimus trematode, Clonorchis sinensis (Chinese liver fluke), Opisthorchis sinensis, Philophthalmus sp., and Haplorchis sp. Additionally, this snail is a known host for an introduced trematode (Centrocestus formosanus) that parasitizes many species of fish, including the endangered fountain darter (Ethsostoma fonticola) (Mitchell et al. 2007; India Biodiversity Portal 2018). Other parasites have also been found associated with this snail which can infect humans (Mitchell et al. 2007).

The species may be able to outcompete and replace native snails and will consume benthic fish eggs (Mitchell et al.2007; Phillips et al. 2010). Red-rim melania can have high-density populations with surveys of 200-300 ind/m2 in Lake Chad (Lévêque 1967), an average of 250 ind/m2 in Lake Victoria (Ngupula and Kayanda 2010), and up to 10,000 ind/m2 in sandy or gravelly sediments where the snails do not only live upon the surface but also in the top-layer of sediments (endobenthic) (Pererea and Walls 1996).

The introduction of this species in the Caribbean has affected the native hermit crab shell-use and behavior (van Oosterhout et al. 2013).

Remarks: Research has been conducted to determine the snail's lethal water temperature, about 50° Celsius (120° Fahrenheit), for the disinfection fishing gear and research equipment which may inadvertently spread snails to uninfested waters (A. Mitchell, personal communication).

Current I.T.I.S. official name is Melanoides tuberculatus but often spelled as Melanoides tuberculata. The justification for the name difference is based on Melanoides Olivier, 1804 which is described as feminine in German, since it was combined with the feminine specific epithet fasciolata in the original description (IUCN 2017).

References: (click for full references)

Bishop Museum. 1997. Listing of species known from aquatic environments (brackish/fresh water) in the Hawaiian Islands. www.wco.com/~aecos/fwater3a.html.

California Department of Fish and Game. 2009. California Aquatic Non-native Organism Database (CANOD). California Department of Fish and Game, Office of Spill Prevention and Response. http://www.dfg.ca.gov/ospr/Science/about_canod.aspx. Created on 03/08/2011. Accessed on 07/20/2011.

Courtenay, W.R., Jr., and J.D. Williams. 1992. Dispersal of exotic species from aquaculture sources, with emphasis on freshwater fishes. Pages 49-81 in Rosenfield, A., and R. Mann, eds. Dispersal of living organisms into aquatic ecosystems. Maryland Sea Grant. College Park, MD.

Dundee, D.S. 1974. Catalog of introduced mollusks of eastern North America (north of Mexico). Sterkiana 55:1-37.

Dundee, D.S., and A. Paine. 1977. Ecology of the snail Melanoides tuberculata (Müller), intermediate host of the human liver fluke (Opisthoris sinensis) in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Nautilus 91(1):17-20.

Howells, R.G. 1992. Annotated list of non-native fishes, mollusks, crustaceans, and aquatic plants, in Texas waters. Management Data Series No. 78. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Austin, TX.

India Biodiversity Portal. 2018. Melanoides tuberculatus Müller, 1774. http://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/237297. Accessed on 02/14/2018.

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-1. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed on 02/15/2018

Leveque, C. 1967. Mollusques aquatiques de la zone est du Lac Tchad. Bulletin l'I.F.A.N. 24, Series A(4).

Mitchell, A. USDA-ARS. (Personal communication).

Mitchell, A. J., and G. W. Hobbs, and T.M. Brandt. 2007. The effect fo chemical treatments on red-rim melania Melanoides tuberculata, an exotic aquatic snail that serves as a vector of trematodes to fish and other species in the USA. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 27(4):1287-1293.

Murray, H.D. 1975. Melanoides tuberculata (Miller), Las Moras Creek, Bracketville, Texas. Bulletin of the American Malacological Union 1975:43.

Ngupula, G. W., and R. Kayanda. 2010. Benthic macrofauna community composition, abundance and distribution in the Tanzanian and Ugandan inshore and offshore waters of Lake Victoria. African Journal of Aquatic Science 35: 185–192.

Pererea, G., and J. G. Walls. 1996. Apple Snails in the Aquarium: Ampullariids: Their Identification, Care, and Breeding. TFH Publications.

Phillips, C.T., M. L. Alexander,  and R. Howard. 2010. Consumption of eggs of the endangered fountain darter (Etheostoma fonticola) by native and nonnative snails. Southwestern Naturalist 55(1):115-117.

Ruiz, G.M., P.W. Fofonoff, J.T. Carlton, M.J. Wonham, and A.H. Hines. 2000. Invasion of coastal marine communities in North America: Apparent patterns, processes, and biases. Annual Review of Ecological Systematics 31:481-531.

Silva, E. C. D., and F. Barros. 2015. Sensibility of the invasive snail Melanoides tuberculatus (Müller, 1774) to salinity variations. Malacologia 58(1-2):365-369.

Taylor, D.W. 1981. Freshwater mollusks of California: a distributional checklist. California Fish and Game 67(3):140-163.

Thompson, F. G. 1984. The freshwater snails of Florida. A manual for identification. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 94 pp.  [On-line at http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/natsci/malacology/fl-snail/snails1.htm ]

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2005. National Wildlife Refuge System Invasive Species. http://www.nwrinvasives.com/index.asp (Last accessed 2006).

van Oosterhout, C., R.S. Mohammed, R. Xavier, J.F. Stephenson, G.A. Archard, F.A. Hockley, S.E. Perkins, and J. Cable. 2013. Invasive freshwater snails provide resource for native marine hermit crabs. Aquatic Invasions 8(2):185-191.

Vinsel, R., and J. Tiemann. 2016. Exotic aquatic mollusk collections in the Illinois Natural History Survey. Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, IL. Created on 06/15/2016.

Wingard, G.L., Murray, J. B.,  Schill, W. B., and E. C. Phillips. 2008. Red-rimmed melania (Melanoides tuberculatus) - a snail in Biscayne National Park, Florida - harmful invader of just a nuisance? http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2008/3006/pdf/fs2008-3006.pdf. Accessed on 12/29/2010.

Other Resources:
Jacksonville Shells

Author: Daniel, W. M., Benson, A. J., and M. E. Neilson

Revision Date: 5/24/2019

Citation Information:
Daniel, W. M., Benson, A. J., and M. E. Neilson, 2024, Melanoides tuberculata (Muller, 1774): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=1037, Revision Date: 5/24/2019, Access Date: 7/20/2024

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.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/20/2024].

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For general information and questions about the database, contact Wesley Daniel. For problems and technical issues, contact Matthew Neilson.