Ecology: The Japanese mysterysnail is known to feed on detritus and sludge, both of which contain a myriad of different types of bacteria (Kurihara and Kadowaki 1988). In Japan, this species is commonly found in rice paddy fields on soil amongst higher plants (Kurihara and Kadowaki 1988).
Lives in freshwater rivers and lakes. The Japanese mystery snail in Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie, survives in conditions where surface water temperatures may reach 30ºC, bottom water temperatures can reach 16–24ºC, water is 4 m deep or less, there is high turbidity, the substrate is mud, and aquatic vegetation is sparse (Wolfert and Hiltunen 1968). It sometimes undergoes mortality events in marshes around Sandusky Bay in hot periods when waters dry up (Wolfert and Hiltunen 1968). In general in North America, the Japanese mystery snail has been found inhabiting waters of pH 6.3–7.3, calcium concentration of 11 ppm, sodium concentration of 16 ppm and conductivity of 62–194 μmhos/cm (Jokinen 1992).
This species is viviparous (Wolfert and Hiltunen 1968), giving birth to crawling young. Females live up to 8 years and are able to carry 10–120 young (Jokinen 1992). Young are generally born after water temperature rises to 15ºC or more (Jokinen 1992).
Wolfert and Hiltunen (1968) found that the densities and distribution of the species in a waterbody is influenced by prevailing winds.
This species hosts many parasites, some of which affect human health (Michelson 1970; Lin and Chen 1980).
Impact of Introduction:
This species reaches very high densities, and is considered a nuisance to fisherman; it has been caught in very large numbers by fishermen in Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie, in fact, two tons have sometimes been caught in one seine haul (Wolfert and Hiltunen 1968).
Parasite, Human Health
In the U.S., the Japanese mystery snail has been found to be a regular host to the common native parasite Aspidogaster conchicola, which is a first-time record in North America for a gastropod acting as host to this species (Michelson 1970).
The Japanese mysterysnail is a host to Angiostrongylus cantonensis larvae, a species associated with eosinophilic meningitis (Lin and Chen 1980).
Human Health, Agriculture
The ready ingestion of sewage sludge in rice fields by Cipangopaludina japonica has implications for wastewater treatment problems in urban areas (Kurihara and Kadowaki 1988).
The Chinese mysterysnail (Cipangopaludina chinensis) is of the same genus as the Japanese mysterysnail; the species are difficult to distinguish from one another morphologically (see 'Remarks' section below; Jokinen 1982), and the Chinese mysterysnail appears to have been studied more heavily for its impacts, which can be viewed here.
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.
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
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.
Jokinen, E.H. 1982. Cipangopaludina chinensis (Gastropoda: Viviparidae) in North America, review and update. Nautilus 96(3):89-95.
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.
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., and K.I. Kadowaki. 1988. Effect of different ecological conditions on the mud snail Cipangopaludina japonica in submerged paddy soil. Biology and Fertility of Soils 6(4):292-297.
Lin, C.Y. and S.N. Chen. 1980. Epidemiologic studies of angiostrongyliasis in north Taiwan. Medical Journal of Osaka University 31(1-2):7-12.
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.
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
Smith, D.G. 2000. Notes on the taxonomy of introduced Bellamya (Gastropoda: Viviparidae) species in northeastern North America. Nautilus 114(2):31-37.
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.
Wood, W.M. 1892. Paludina japonica Mart.fro sale in the San Francisco Chinese markets. The Nautilus 5(10):114-115.
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.