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shell of Neothauma tanganyicense
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Subclass: Caenogastropoda
Order: Architaenioglossa
Superfamily: Viviparoidea
Family: Viviparidae
Genus: Neothauma
E. A. Smith, 1880[1]
Type species
Neothauma tanganyicense E. A. Smith, 1880

Viviparus (Neothauma) E. A. Smith, 1880

Neothauma is a genus of freshwater snail with a gill and an operculum, an aquatic gastropod mollusc in the subfamily Bellamyinae of the family Viviparidae. [3]


Taxa inquirenda
  • Neothauma bridouxianum Grandidier, 1885
  • Neothauma servainianum Grandidier, 1885
Species brought into synonymy
  • Neothauma bicarinatum Bourguignat, 1885: synonym of Neothauma tanganyicense var. bicarinatum Bourguignat, 1885
  • Neothauma ecclesi Pain & Crowley, 1964: synonym of Bellamya ecclesi (Crowley & Pain, 1964) (original combination)
  • Neothauma giraudi Bourguignat, 1885: synonym of Neothauma tanganyicense E. A. Smith, 1880 (junior synonym)


This freshwater snail is only found in Lake Tanganyika, where it is the largest gastropod, and occurs in all four of the bordering countries — Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia — although fossil shells have been discovered at Lake Edward and in the Lake Albert basin.[2]

The type locality is the East shore of Lake Tanganyika, at Ujiji.[6]

More archaic Neothauma species


Archaic Neothauma species

The genus Neothauma previously contained several species, but most were reassigned to other genera.[7]


The width of the shell is 46 mm (1.8 in).[6] The height of the shell is 60 mm (2.4 in).[6]


This species lives in depths of up to 65 m (213 ft).[6] There is conflicting information relating to its feeding behavior, with one study referring to it as a detritus-feeder,[8] another saying that it actively preys on endobenthic organisms,[9] and finally that it feeds on particulate organic filtered while the snail is buried.[10]

The shells of dead Neothauma tanganyicense often form carpets over large areas, and are used by a number of other animals, such as cichlid fish (shell dwellers),[11] and freshwater crabs of the genus Platythelphusa.[12] Juvenile snails live in the sediment in order to avoid predators.[6]


  1. ^ Smith E. A. (1880). "On the shells of Lake Tanganyika and of the neighbourhood of Ujiji, central Africa". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1880: 344-352. Page 349. Plate 31.
  2. ^ a b F. Nicayenzi; C. Ngereza & C. N. Lange (2010). "Neothauma tanganyicense". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2010: e.T14569A4445054. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-3.RLTS.T14569A4445054.en.
  3. ^ MolluscaBase eds. (2021). MolluscaBase. Neothauma E. A. Smith, 1880. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at: on 2021-09-19
  4. ^ MNHN, Paris: syntype of Neothauma jouberti
  5. ^ Mita E. Sengupta; Thomas K. Kristensen; Henry Madsen & Aslak Jørgensen (2009). "Molecular phylogenetic investigations of the Viviparidae (Gastropoda: Caenogastropoda) in the lakes of the Rift Valley area of Africa". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 52 (3): 797–805. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.05.007. PMID 19435609.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Brown D. S. (1994). Freshwater Snails of Africa and their Medical Importance. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-7484-0026-5.
  7. ^ Bourguignat, Jules René (1888-01-01). Iconographie malacologique des animaux mollusques fluviatiles du Lac Tanganika (in French). Impr. Crété.
  8. ^ Palacios-Fest, M.R.; S.R. Alin; A.S. Cohen; B. Tanner; H. Heuser (2005). "Paleolimnological investigations of anthropogenic environmental change in Lake Tanganyika: IV. Lacustrine paleoecology". Journal of Paleolimnology. 34: 51–71. CiteSeerX doi:10.1007/s10933-005-2397-1.
  9. ^ Van Damme, D.; Pickford, M. (1998). "The late Cenozoic Viviparidae (Mollusca, Gastropoda) of the Albertine Rift Valley". Hydrobiologia. 390 (1): 171–217. doi:10.1023/A:1003518218109.
  10. ^ West, K.; Cohen, A.; Baron, M. (1991). "Morphology and behavior of crabs and gastropods from Lake Tanganyika, Africa: Implications for lacustrine predator-prey coevolution". Evolution. 45 (3): 589–607. doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.1991.tb04331.x. PMID 28568834.
  11. ^ Stephan Koblmüller; Nina Duftner; Kristina M Sefc; Mitsuto Aibara; Martina Stipacek; Michel Blanc; Bernd Egger & Christian Sturmbauer (2007). "Reticulate phylogeny of gastropod-shell-breeding cichlids from Lake Tanganyika — the result of repeated introgressive hybridization". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 7: 7. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-7-7. PMC 1790888. PMID 17254340.
  12. ^ N. Cumberlidge; R. von Sternberg; I. R. Bills & H. Martin (1999). "A revision of the genus Platythelphusa A. Milne-Edwards, 1887 from Lake Tanganyika, East Africa (Decapoda: Potamoidea: Platythelphusidae)". Journal of Natural History. 33 (10): 1487–1512. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/002229399299860.

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