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For the orchid of Orchidaceae family, see Pachystoma.
Pachychilus laevisimus 004.JPG
Two shells of Pachychilus laevissimus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda

clade Sorbeoconcha

Superfamily: Cerithioidea
Family: Pachychilidae
Genus: Pachychilus
I. Lea & H. C. Lea, 1851[1]

Pachychilus, common name the jute snails,[2] is a genus of freshwater snails with an operculum, aquatic gastropod mollusk in the family Pachychilidae.

Pachychilus is the type genus of the family Pachychilidae.[3]


The distribution of species in the genus Pachychilus includes:


Species within the genus Pachychilus include:

subgenus Pachychiloides Wenz, 1939[5]

Human use[edit]

One of the Maya peoples, the Lacandon people, now Mexico's native peoples from state Chiapas, use the Chiapas species Pachychilus indiorum, known locally as "t’unu," as a type of protein supplement to their diet when animal protein is unavailable.[7] In addition, the shells from this "chuti" snail have great nutritional value, as they provide calcium and slaked lime when burnt. They are often preferred as a lime source over local limestone or other freshwater snail species for their purity as an alkali. The slaked lime is added to maize during the process of making maize dough for tortillas, pozole, and other foods. Slaked lime allows the release of amino acids such as tryptophan and lysine and the vitamin niacin, which would otherwise be unavailable from the maize (unable to be metabolized) if the lime were not added.[7]


  1. ^ Lea I. & Lea H. C. (1851). "Description of a new genus of the family Melaniana, and of many new species of the genus Melania, chiefly collected by Hugh Cuming, Esq., during his zoological voyage in the East, and now first described". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 18: 179-197. 179.
  2. ^ Healy P. F., Emery K. & Wright L. E. (1990). "Ancient and Modern Maya Exploitation of the Jute Snail (Pachychilus)". Latin American Antiquity 1(2): 170-183. JSTOR.
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ a b c Vázquez A. A. & Perera S. (2010). "Endemic Freshwater molluscs of Cuba and their conservation status". Tropical Conservation Science 3(2): 190-199. HTM, PDF.
  5. ^ Wenz (1939). Handb. Paläozool. (4)6(1): 686.
  6. ^ Perrilliat M. D. C., Vega F. J., Espinosa B. & Naranjo-Garcia E. (2008). "Late Cretaceous and Paleogene Freshwater Gastropods from Northeastern Mexico". Journal of Paleontology 82(2): 255-266. doi:10.1666/06-062.1.
  7. ^ a b Nations J. D. (1979). Snail Shells and Maize Preparation: A Lacandon Maya Analogy. American Antiquity 44.3: 568-571.

External links[edit]

"Pachychilus". National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).