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P antipodarum.jpg
A live but retracted individual of the New Zealand mud snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda

clade Hypsogastropoda
clade Littorinimorpha

Superfamily: Truncatelloidea
Family: Hydrobiidae
Stimpson, 1865

See text

About 1250 freshwater species and some marine

Hydrobiidae, common name mud snails, is a large cosmopolitan taxonomic family of very small freshwater snails and brackish water snails that have an operculum, aquatic gastropod mollusks in the clade Littorinimorpha.


There are over 260 species of Hydrobiidae living in Australia.[2]


These are very small or minute snails, with a shell height of less than 8 mm. The dextrally-coiled shells are smooth (except for growth lines conforming to the shape of the outer lip) and are usually rather nondescript. The shell offers very few robust characteristics to the systematist who is attempting to classify the species within this family. This difficulty is compounded by a high degree of intraspecific variation. Descriptions often have to be based on the characteristics of the operculum, radula and penis.

The shell of species within this family varies from planispiral to needle-shaped. The shell may have an open umbilicus or a plugged umbilicus. The thickness of the shell can vary from thin to fairly solid. The shell may be transparent and horn-colored, or colorless.

The number of whorls in the shell varies between two and eight. The shell can sometimes even assume a corkscrew or hornlike shape by loosening of the attachment of body whorl. The periostracum (outer layer of the shell) is usually thin, and is often colored. It can sometimes show hair-like projections.

The sinuous aperture is entire, not interrupted by a siphonal canal or other extensions. It is sometimes thickened. The protoconch is usually shaped like a dome, and usually shows a few spirals.

The corneous operculum is usually well-formed and shows only a few spirals.

The head, foot, mantle and visceral coil are colored pale gray to dark purple-black with melanin pigments. Subterranean species are often unpigmented.

The strong foot can be retracted into the shell. The mucous glands are situated at the anterior edge of the foot. There are no posterior mucous glands. The symmetrical cephalic tentacles are threadlike, with blunt or rounded tips. The eyes are located at the base of the tentacles.

The ctenidium (a comblike respiratory apparatus) goes along most of the length of the pallial cavity. This respiratory gill consists of 10 to 200 triangular filaments. The osphradium, the olfactory organ linked with the respiration organ, is usually relatively small.

The taenioglossate radula consists of more than fifty rows of teeth. The central tooth is trapezoidal. The lateral teeth have few to numerous cusps. The marginal teeth are usually with numerous cusps.

The species usually have both male and female individuals, but very rarely reproduction may be parthenogenic, caused by internal fertilization. The females lay eggs in single capsules on the leaves or stems of water plants. But sometimes they produce eggs that are hatched within the pallial gonoduct of the body, and in these cases the young are born alive. Species that inhabit estuaries sometimes produce veliger larvae.

The fossil record of this family extends back to the Early Carboniferous.[3]



Most species of this family live in freshwater (lakes, ponds, rivers, streams), but some are found in brackish water or at the borders between freshwater and brackish water. A few occur in marine environments on sandy or muddy bottoms between algae and sea grass.

Feeding habits[edit]

These small snails feed on algae, diatoms and detritus.


This is the largest family within the superfamily Truncatelloidea. At one time or another some 400 genera have been assigned to this family, and probably more than 1,000 species.[3] This family was originally named by Troschel in 1857, as the group Hydrobiae. Troschel was not certain of their rank, and he placed them in the Taenioglossata: Ctenobranchiata between the Lithoglyphi and Ancyloti.[3] Over the years there have been numerous attempts to give an adequate and more finely divided classification. Thiele (1925, 1929 and 1931) set up the most comprehensive classification, with a review of the family at generic level.

Notable works about taxonomy of Hydrobiidae includes works by Radoman, for example Radoman (1983).[4]

The classification, as specified by Kabat and Hershler (1993),[3] does not form a monophyletic group, and was in need of revision.

A study by Wilke et al. (2001)[5] using molecular data from COI (Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I) and 18S genes has resulted in a new tentative set of subfamilies: Hydrobiinae, Pseudamnicolinae, Nymphophilinae, Islamiinae and Horatiinae.

2005 taxonomy[edit]

The following subfamilies are recognized in the gastropod taxonomy of Bouchet & Rocroi from 2005:[6]

  • Hydrobiinae Stimpson, 1865 - synonyms: Paludestrinidae Newton, 1891; Pyrgorientaliinae Radoman, 1977; Pseudocaspiidae Sitnikova & Starobogatov, 1983
  • Belgrandiinae de Stefani, 1877 - synonyms: Horatiini D. W. Taylor, 1966; Sadlerianinae Radoman, 1973; Pseudohoratiinae Radoman, 1973; Orientaliidae Radoman, 1973 (inv.); Lithoglyphulidae Radoman, 1973; Orientalinidae Radoman, 1978 (inv.); Belgrandiellinae Radoman, 1983; Dabrianidae Starobogatov, 1983; Istrianidae Starobogatov, 1983; Kireliinae Starobogatov, 1983; lanzaiidae Starobogatov, 1983; Tanousiidae Starobogatov, 1983; Bucharamnicolinae Izzatulaev, Sitnikova & Starobogatov, 1985; Martensamnicolinae Izzatulaev, Sitnikova & Starobogatov, 1985; Turkmenamnicolinae Izzatulaev, Sitnikova & Starobogatov, 1985
  • Clenchiellinae D. W. Taylor, 1966[7]
  • Islamiinae Radoman, 1973
  • Nymphophilinae D. W. Taylor, 1966[7]
  • Pseudamnicolinae Radoman, 1977
  • Pyrgulinae Brusina, 1882 (1869)[8] - synonyms: Caspiidae B. Dybowski, 1913; Microliopalaeinae B. Dybowski & Grochmalicki, 1914; Micromelaniidae B. Dybowski & Grochmalicki, 1914; Turricaspiinae B. Dybowski & Grochmalicki, 1915; Liosarmatinae B. Dybowski & Grochmalicki, 1920; Chilopyrgulinae Radoman, 1973; Micropyrgulidae Radoman, 1973; Falsipyrgulinae Radoman, 1983; Ohridopyrgulinae Radoman, 1983; Prosostheniinae Pana, 1989
  • Tateinae Thiele, 1925[9] - synonyms: Potamopyrgidae F. C. Baker, 1928; Hemistomiinae Thiele, 1929

The Amnicolidae and Cochliopidae are considered as distinct families according to the taxonomy of Bouchet & Rocroi (2005).[6]


Genera in the family Hydrobiidae include:

A shell of Peringia ulvae, syn. Hydrobia ulvae




  • Clenchiella Abbott, 1948 - type genus of the subfamily Clenchiellinae[6]


  • Islamia Radoman, 1973[10] - type genus of the subfamily Islamiinae[6]




Tateinae[note 1]

subfamily uncertain

subfamily ?

other generic names:

  • Paludestrina d'Orbigny, 1840 is a rejected or invalid name, that was previously placed within Hydrobiidae[23]

Notes & References[edit]


  1. ^ Recent research has found that Hydrobiidae are probably polyphyletic and all Australasian hydrobiid species fall within the distinct clade Tateinae, suggesting they should now be called Tateidae.[14]


  1. ^ Strong E. E., Gargominy O., Ponder W. F. & Bouchet P. (2008). "Global Diversity of Gastropods (Gastropoda; Mollusca) in Freshwater". Hydrobiologia 595: 149-166. hdl:10088/7390 doi:10.1007/s10750-007-9012-6.
  2. ^ Ponder W. F.; Walker K. F. (January 2003). "From mound springs to mighty rivers: The conservation status of freshwater molluscs in Australia". Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 6 (1): 19–28. doi:10.1080/14634980301482. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Kabat, Alan R.; Herhsler, Robert (1993). "The Prosobranch Snail Family Hydrobiidae (Gastropoda: Rissooidea): Review of Classification and Supraspecific Taxa" (PDF). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 547: 1–94. doi:10.5479/si.00810282.547. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Radoman, P. (1983). Hydrobioidea a superfamily of Prosobranchia (Gastropoda). I. Systematics. Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts Monographs DXLVII, Department of Sciences 571: 1–256.  book description.
  5. ^ Wilke T.; Davis G. M.; Falniowski A.; Giusti F.; Bodon M.; Szarowska M. (2001). "Molecular systematics of Hydrobiidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Rissooidea): testing monophyly and phylogenetic relationships". Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 151 (1): 1–21. doi:10.1635/0097-3157(2001)151[0001:MSOHMG]2.0.CO;2. ISSN 0097-3157. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Bouchet P.; Rocroi J.-P.; Frýda J.; Hausdorf B.; Ponder W.; Valdés Á. & Warén A. (2005). "Classification and nomenclator of gastropod families". Malacologia: International Journal of Malacology (Hackenheim, Germany: ConchBooks) 47 (1-2): 1–397. ISBN 3-925919-72-4. ISSN 0076-2997. 
  7. ^ a b Taylor D. W. (1966). The Veliger 9(2): 181, 199.
  8. ^ Brusina (1882). Bulletino della Società Malacologica Italiana 7(13-19): 230.
  9. ^ Thiele (1925). Handbuch der Zoologie 5(1): 80.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Glöer P. (2002). Die Süßwassergastropoden Nord- und Mitteleuropas. Die Tierwelt Deutschlands, ConchBooks, Hackenheim, 326 pp., ISBN 3-925919-60-0, pages 13-16.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Hershler R., Liu H.-P. & Thompson F. G. (2003). "Phylogenetic relationships of North American nymphophiline gastropods based on mitochondrial DNA sequences". Zoologica Scripta 32(4): 357-366. doi:10.1046/j.1463-6409.2003.00115.x. PDF.
  12. ^ a b Thompson, F.G. (1979). "The systematic status of the hydrobioid snail genus Nymphophilus Taylor 1966 and the status of the subfamily Nymphophilinae". Malacological Review 13 (1–2): 41–49. 
  13. ^ Szarowska, M., Falniowksi, A., Riedel, F. & Wilke, T. (2005). "Phylogenetic relationships of the subfamily Pyrgulinae (Gastropoda: Caenogastropoda: Hydrobiidae) with emphasis on the genus Dianella Gude, 1913" (PDF). Zootaxa (Magnolia Press) 891: 1–32. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Richards, K. (2010). An ecological, morphological and molecular investigation of Beddomeia species (Gastropoda: Hydrobiidae) in Tasmania (PDF) (Ph.D.). University of Tasmania. 
  15. ^ Clark, Stephanie A.; Miller, Alison C.; Ponder, Winston F. (2003). "Revision of the Snail Genus Austropyrgus (Gastropoda: Hydrobiidae): A Morphostatic Radiation of Freshwater Gastropods in Southeastern Australia" (PDF). Records of the Australian Museum (The Australian Museum). Supplement 28: 1–109. doi:10.3853/j.0812-7387.28.2003.1377. ISBN 0-7347-2313-X. ISSN 0812-7387. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c Ponder, W. F., Clark, S. A. & Miller, A. C. (1999). "A new genus and two new species of Hydrobiidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Caenogastropoda) from south Western Australia". Proceedings of the Royal Society of Western Australia 82 (3): 109–120. 
  17. ^ Ponder, W. F., Wilke, T. , Zhang, W.-H., Golding, R. E., Fukuda, H., and Mason, R. A. B. (2008). "Edgbastonia alanwillsi n. gen & n. sp. (Tateinae: Hydrobiidae s.l.: Rissooidea: Caenogastropoda); a snail from an artesian spring group in western Queensland, Australia, convergent with some Asian Amnicolidae". Molluscan Research 28 (2): 89–106. 
  18. ^ Clark, S. A. (2009). "The Genus Posticobia (Mollusca: Caenogastropoda: Rissooidea: Hydrobiidae S.L.) from Australia and Norfolk Island". Malacologia 51 (2): 319–341. doi:10.4002/040.051.0207. 
  19. ^ a b c d Haase, M.; Bouchet, P. (1998). "Radiation of crenobiontic gastropods on an ancient continental island: the Hemistomia-clade in New Caledonia (Gastropoda: Hydrobiidae)".". Hydrobiologia 367 (1-3): 43–129. doi:10.1023/A:1003219931171. 
  20. ^ Gofas, S. (2011). Ecrobia Stimpson, 1865. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=238103 on 2011-07-14
  21. ^ Pešić, V.; Glöer, P. (2013). "A new freshwater snail genus (Hydrobiidae, Gastropoda) from Montenegro, with a discussion on gastropod diversity and endemism in Skadar Lake". ZooKeys 281: 69–90. doi:10.3897/zookeys.281.4409. PMC 3677384. PMID 23794834. 
  22. ^ a b Wesselingh F. P., Anderson L. C. & Kadolsky D. (2006). "Molluscs from the Miocene Pebas Formation of Peruvian and Colombian Amazonia". Scripta Geologica 1333: 19-290. PDF.
  23. ^ Bouchet, P. (2011). Paludestrina d'Orbigny, 1840. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=558766 on 2011-07-14

External links[edit]