Anentome helena

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Anentome helena
Clea helena.png
Antentome Helena2.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Subclass: Caenogastropoda
Order: Neogastropoda
Family: Nassariidae
Genus: Anentome
A. helena
Binomial name
Anentome helena
Clea helena map.png
Distribution map of Anentome helena
  • Canidia bocourti Brot, 1876
  • Canidia fusiformis Deshayes, 1876
  • Canidia harmandiana Rochebrune, 1881
  • Canidia helena (von dem Busch, 1847) (new combination)
  • Canidia helena var. rotundicosta Schepman, 1891
  • Canidia helena var. rotundicosta f. angustior Schepman, 1891 (unavailable name: infrasubspecific)
  • Canidia stomatodonta Rochebrune, 1882
  • Canidia tenuicostata Brot, 1876
  • Clea (Anentome) helena (von dem Busch, 1847)· accepted, alternate representation
  • Clea helena (von dem Busch, 1847)
  • Clea theminckiana (Petit de la Saussaye, 1853)
  • Hemisinus baudonianus Mabille & Le Mesle, 1866
  • Hemisinus helena (Philippi, 1847)
  • Hemisinus theminckianus (Petit de la Saussaye, 1853)
  • Melania helena von dem Busch, 1847 (original combination)
  • Melania theminckiana Petit de la Saussaye, 1853

Anentome helena, common name assassin snail or bumblebee snail, is a species of freshwater snail with an operculum, an aquatic gastropod in the family Nassariidae, most of which are marine.[2]


Anentome helena 01.JPG

This species occurs throughout southeast Asia, especially in Malaysia, Thailand, and in Lake Toba on the Indonesian island Sumatra.[3][4]


This snail will typically grow to 0.7–1.25 in (20–35 mm) in size depending on food sources, usually smaller in the aquarium[citation needed]. The shell, which is conical in shape, often consists of dark brown and yellowish tan bands, leading to some people to refer to this snail as the bumble bee snail, a name also applied to the marine snail Engina mendicaria. Some specimens have been identified with completely brown shells, lacking banding.



The snails will spend much of their time buried in their substrate. They are least active during mid day, however they can sense food and will become active if fed.[5]

Feeding habits[edit]

Like all snails in the clade Neogastropoda, this species is carnivorous. It feeds on worms and gastropods, and is often known as the "assassin snail" for its habit of eating other snails. These snails will often feed on larger snails, often burying themselves and ambushing their prey.[2]

Anentome helena may be a serious threat to native freshwater gastropods in countries, when introduced.[6]

Life cycle[edit]

In A. helena the sexes are separated, meaning there are male and female individuals which are not hermaphroditic. Currently it is not known how to identify which is male and which is female. Both males and females seem to be the same size and shape. When a male and female mate, they lock together for many hours. The female lays several clear egg capsules which are square in shape and approximately 1.0 to 1.5 mm in width and height. Each egg capsule contains a single small yellow egg. The egg capsules are generally laid on solid surfaces such as plastic and often on the base of plants. Fertile eggs usually hatch within a few weeks.[5]


Like many snail species, Anentome helena can serve as an intermediate host to trematode parasites. It has been confirmed as an intermediate host to Echinostoma revolutum in the Chiang Mai province in Thailand. [7]

Human use[edit]

It is a part of ornamental pet trade for freshwater aquaria,[8] where they are used to control populations of unwanted small snail species such as the Malaysian trumpet snail.[2]


  1. ^ Bouchet, P. (2017). Anentome helena (von dem Busch, 1847). In: MolluscaBase (2017). Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at on 2017-11-21
  2. ^ a b c Monks, Neale (2009). "Assassin Snails and Sulawesi Elephant Snails: Keeping Clea and Tylomelania in the aquarium". Conscientious Aquarist Magazine. Vol. 6, no. 4. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
  3. ^ "Map of Clea helena". Discover Life. National Biological Information Infrastructure. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  4. ^ (in Thai) Boon-ngam P., Sriyarun J., Tanamai S. & Dumrongrojwattana P. (PDF file created 12 January 2010). "การศึกษาเบืองต้ นความหลากชนิดของหอยทากบก และหอยนําจืดในจังหวัดสระแก้ ว Preliminary taxonomic study of land snail and freshwater mollusk species in Sakaeo Province, Eastern Thailand". 10 pp., pages unnumbered. PDF[permanent dead link].
  5. ^ a b Newel, M. S.; Bourne, G. B. (January 5, 2013). "The 'assassin' snail, Clea (Anentome) helena (Gastropoda: Buccinidae), as a model for developmental and environmental physiology". Society for Integrative and Comparative Developmental Biology 2013 Annual Meeting.
  6. ^ Mienis, H. K. (2011). "Will the Uncontrolled Sale of the Snail-eating Gastropod Anentome helena in Aquarium Shops in Israel Result in Another Disaster for Israel's Native Freshwater Mollusc Fauna?" (PDF). Ellipsaria: 10–11.
  7. ^ Chantima, Kittichai; Chai, Jong-Yil; Wongsawad, Chalobol (2013). "Echinostoma revolutum: Freshwater snails as the second intermediate hosts in Chiang Mai, Thailand". The Korean Journal of Parasitology. 51 (2): 183–189. doi:10.3347/kjp.2013.51.2.183.
  8. ^ Ng, Ting Hui; Tan, Siong Kiat; Wong, Wing Hing; Meier, Rudolf; Chan, Sow-Yan; Tan, Heok Hui; Yeo, Darren C. J. (2016). "Molluscs for sale: Assessment of freshwater gastropods and bivalves in the ornamental pet trade". PLOS ONE. 11 (8): e0161130. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0161130.