Ecology: Found in lakes and slow-moving rivers with mud bottoms. This species thrives in eutrophic lentic environments such as lakes, ponds and some low-flow streams (Lee et al. 2002). It is usually absent from larger, faster flowing rivers (Katoh and Foltz 1994); however, it is able to survive conditions of high water velocity in the St. Lawrence River, and may even be better adapted than the introduced Bithynia tentaculata to such habitat (Vincent 1979). Individuals are generally found in a range of habitats, including: regions with silt and mud substrate; communities dominated by diatoms and filamentous algae (not blue-green algae); shallow waters with sand or gravel substrate; soft and hard water; waters with pH between 6.3 and 8.5; freshwater habitats only; river reaches more than meanders (Duch 1976, Jokinen 1992, Jokinen and Pondick 1981, Lee et al. 2002, Pace and Szuch 1985, Vincent 1979, Wade and Vasey 1976).
Viviparus georgianus breeds and lives in shallow waters, often amongst macrophytes, in spring to fall, then moves out to deeper areas in the fall in order to overwinter away from shore (Jokinen et al. 1982, Lee et al. 2002, Wade 1985a). In more open waters, fall migration begins earlier than in smaller lakes and ponds (Lee et al. 2002). Most growth generally occurs when waters become warmer in spring and summer, although reduced growth continues in winter (Browne 1978, Jokinen et al. 1982).
It is dioecious, iteroparous and ovoviviparous, laying eggs singly in albumen-filled capsules (Browne 1978, Lee et al. 2002, Rivest and Vanderpool 1986). Females generally brood eggs for 9–10 months (Jokinen et al. 1982, Rivest and Vanderpool 1986). Fecundity is generally between 4 and 81 young/female, but on average is closer to 11 young/female (Jokinen 1992, Vail 1978). Females can brood more than one batch of young at a time and the number of young in one brood is positively related to the size of the female (Vail 1977). Reproductive females are usually larger than 16 mm (Buckley 1986). Female banded mystery snails live 28–48 months and males live 18–36 months (Jokinen et al. 1982, Lee et al. 2002).
Viviparus georgianus is known to be a facultative or even obligate filter-feeding detritivore and thus can be used as a bioindicator of sediment contamination by oil and fertilizer, because growth, survival and histology are significantly affected by ingestion of contaminated sediments (Browne 1978, Lee et al. 2002). This species grazes on diatom clusters found on silt and mud substrates, but may require the ingestion of some grit to break down algae (Duch 1976).
The banded mysterysnail often lives at high densities, sometimes up to around 864/m2 (Lee et al. 2002, Pace and Szuch 1985).
It is host to many parasites in its native habitat, including cercaria, metacercaria, ciliated protozoans, annelids, and chironomid larvae (Wade 1985b).
References: (click for full references)
Browne, R.A. 1978. Growth, mortality, fecundity, biomass and productivity of four lake populations of the prosobranch snail, Viviparus georgianus
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Buckley, D.E. 1986. Bioenergetics of age-related vs. size-related reproductive tactics in female Viviparus georgianus. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 27(4):293-310.
Clench, W.J. 1962. A catalogue of the Viviparidae of North America with notes on the distribution of Viviparus georgianus. Occasional Papers on Mollusks 2:261-287.
Dillon, R.T., Jr., B.T. Watson, T.W. Stewart, and W.K Reeves. 2006. The freshwater gastropods of North America. http://www.fwgna.org/species/viviparidae/v_georgianus.html. Accessed on 03/12/2013.
Duch, T.M. 1976. Aspects of the feeding habits of Viviparus georgianus. The Nautilus 90(1):7-10.
Eckblad, J.W., and M.H. Shealy, Jr. 1972. Predation on largemouth bass embryos by the pond snail. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 101: 734-738.
Jokinen, E.H. 1984. Periostracal morphology of viviparid snail shells. Transactions of the American Microscopical Society 103(4):312-316.
Jokinen, E. 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.
Jokinen, E.H., and J. Pondick. 1981. Rare and endangered species: freshwater gastropods of southern New England. The Bulletin of the American Malacological Union, Inc. 50:52-53.
Jokinen, E.H., J. Guerette, and R.W. Kortmann. 1982. The natural history of an ovoviviparous snail Viviparus georgianus in a soft water eutrophic lake. Freshwater Invertebrate Biology 1(4):2-17.
Katoh, M., and D.W. Foltz. 1994. Genetic subdivision and morphological variation in a freshwater snail species complex formerly referred to as Viviparus georgianus (Lea). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 53(1):73-90.
Lee, L.E.J., J. Stassen, A. McDonald, C. Culshaw, A.D. Venosa, and K. Lee. 2002. Snails as biomonitors of oil-spill and bioremediation strategies. Bioremediation Journal 6(4):373-386.
Mackie, G.L., D.S. White, and T.W. Zdeba. 1980. A guide to freshwater mollusks of the Laurentian Great Lakes with special emphasis on the genus Pisidium. Environmental Research Laboratory, Office of Research and Development, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Duluth, Minnesota 55804. 144 pp.
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.
Myers, J. 2016. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Personal communication (April 5, 2016).
Pace, G.L., and E.J. Szuch. 1985. An exceptional stream population of the banded apple snail Viviparus georgianus in Michigan, USA. Nautilus 99(2-3):48-53.
Rivest, B.R., and R. Vanderpool. 1986. Variation in capsule albumen in the freshwater snail Viviparus georgianus. American Zoologist 26(4):41A.
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.
Strayer, D. 1987. Ecology and zoogeography of the freshwater mollusks of the Hudson River Basin. Malacological Review 20:1-68.
Vail, V.A. 1977. Observations on brood production in three viviparid gastropods. Bulletin of the American Malacological Union, Inc. 43:90.
Vail, V.A. 1978. Seasonal reproductive patterns in 3 viviparid gastropods. Malacologia 17(1):7-98.
Vincent, B. 1979. Étude du benthos d’eau douce dans le haut-estuaire du Saint-Laurent (Québec). Canadian Journal of Zoology 57(11):1271-2182.
Wade, J.Q. 1985a. Studies of the gastropods of Conesus Lake, Livingston County, New York, USA II. Identification, occurrence and ecology of species. Proceedings of the Rochester Academy of Science 15(3):206-212.
Wade, J.Q. 1985b. Studies of the gastropods of Conesus Lake, Livingston County, New York, USA III. Endozoic and parasitic organisms obtained from gastropods. Proceedings of the Rochester Academy of Science 15(3):213-215.
Wade, J.Q., and C.E. Vasey. 1976. A study of the gastropods of Conesus Lake, Livingston County, New York. Proceedings of the Rochester Academy of Science 13(1):17-22.
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