Physella acuta

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Physella acuta
Physa acuta 001.JPG
A live individual of Physella acuta
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Subclass: Heterobranchia
Superorder: Hygrophila
Family: Physidae
Genus: Physella
P. acuta
Binomial name
Physella acuta

Physa acuta Draparnaud, 1805
Physella heterostropha (Say, 1817)[2]
Physella integra (Haldeman, 1841)[2]
Physa globosa Haldeman, 1841
Haitia acuta

Physella acuta is a species of small, left-handed or sinistral, air-breathing freshwater snail, an aquatic gastropod mollusk in the family Physidae. Common names include European physa, tadpole snail, bladder snail, and acute bladder snail. In addition, Physa acuta, Physa heterostropha (Say, 1817) and Physa integra (Haldeman, 1841) are synonyms of Physella acuta (Draparnaud, 1805).


The etymology of the name Physella is obscure but could be ultimately from a Greek root. "Physella" (as a place name) is recorded in Giovanni Gemisto's printed edition of Pliny's encyclopedia, perhaps lifted from Ermolao Barbaro's Castigationes Plinianae where it is recorded as Physcella.[3] The French naturalist Jacques Draparnaud was the first to describe a species of the genus Physella and coined the name.

Shell description[edit]

Shell of Physella acuta

Snails in the family Physidae have shells that are sinistral, which means that if the shell is held with the aperture facing the observer and the spire pointing up, then the aperture is on the left-hand side.

The shells of Physella species have a long and large aperture, a pointed spire, and no operculum. The shells are thin and corneous and rather transparent.


It was once thought that the indigenous distribution of Physella acuta is Mediterranean.[4][5] However, when Physella heterostropha is considered to be a synonym, then the indigenous distribution of the species includes North America.[6]

Physella acuta is a common species which is common in all of North America and Europe including the United Kingdom. The species seems to have first spread through the Mediterranean regions and then more slowly into Northern Europe.[2][6] This species has been introduced into New Zealand and is widespread throughout both islands in ponds, lakes, and running water [7]

In the United Kingdom[edit]

Within the United Kingdom, P. acuta is considered to be an invasive species. The "European physa" or "common bladder snail", as it is commonly known in England, is a prolific species that has undergone naturalisation. The European physa has been observed on several great Rivers, streams and tributaries within England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland including the River Severn and the River Thames.[8] The ecological impact of this invasive species to the native floral and faunal species of the United Kingdom was assessed by the United Kingdom Technical Advisory Group (UKTAG) as "Unknown"[9] under the Water Framework Directive guidelines for Alien species.

In Europe[edit]

This species is found in:

The distribution also includes Mediterranean regions and Africa.[14]

In the Americas[edit]

The distribution includes the United States: Maryland, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Virginia.[14]



This species lives in freshwater rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and swamps.[14]

Physella acuta is frequently found in anthropogenic reservoirs, occurring in warm water discharges from power stations and in some rivers, but very rarely and not numerously in clay pit ponds. It can survive well under temporary harsh conditions (extreme temperature and water pollution), as long as they are short-lived.[6]

Feeding habits[edit]

These snails eat dead plant and animal matter and various other detritus.

Because Physella acuta forages mainly on epiphytic vegetation and on the macrophytes, whereas other gastropods (Planorbis planorbis, Radix ovata) exploit the algal cover or phytobentos on the bottom, competition between Physella acuta and other gastropods appears to be minimal.[6]

Interspecific relationship[edit]

This species successfully co-exists with other alien gastropods: for example with Potamopyrgus antipodarum in many streams, lakes and ponds in New Zealand and with Lithoglyphus naticoides in the Danube River.[6] Within the United Kingdom, this species has also been to observed to coexists with Jenkins' Spire-Snail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) in many aquatic habitats. The presence of the European physa may encourage proliferation of invasive non-native macrophytes such as Nuttall's waterweed (Elodea nuttallii)


The bladder snail is a frequent prey of many snail-eating predators, such as


P. acuta is a self-compatible hermaphrodite. In natural populations, P. acuta preferentially reproduces by outcrossing.[17] When individuals from such populations self-fertilize they show a high degree of inbreeding depression. However, in exprerimentally constrained lines (where mates were often unavailable), after about 20 generations of self-fertilization, most of the inbreeding depression was purged.[17]


This article incorporates CC-BY-2.0 text (but not under GFDL) from reference.[6]

  1. ^ Draparnaud J.-P.-R. 1805. Histoire naturelle des mollusques terrestres et fluviatiles de la France. Ouvrage posthume. Avec XIII planches. pp. [1-9], j-viij [= 1-8], 1-134, [Plates 1-13]. Paris, Montpellier. (Plassan, Renaud).
  2. ^ a b c Dillon R. T., Wethington A. R., Rhett J. M. & Smith T. P. 2002. Populations of the European freshwater pulmonate Physa acuta are not reproductively isolated from American Physa heterostopha or Physa integra. Invertebrate Biology, 121: 226-234. (abstract)
  3. ^ Greece Reinvented: Transformations of Byzantine Hellenism in Renaissance Italy by Han Lamers
  4. ^ (in Slovak) Lisický M. J. (1991). Mollusca Slovenska [The Slovak molluscs]. VEDA vydavateľstvo Slovenskej akadémie vied, Bratislava, 344 pp.
  5. ^ Glöer, P. 2002 Die Süßwassergastropoden Nord- und Mitteleuropas. Die Tierwelt Deutschlands, ConchBooks, Hackenheim, 326 pp., ISBN 3-925919-60-0, page 238-239.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Vitaliy Semenchenko, Tatiana Laenko & Vladimir Razlutskij. 2008. A new record of the North American gastropod Physella acuta (Draparnaud 1805) from the Neman River Basin, Belarus. Aquatic Invasions (2008) Volume 3, Issue 3: 359–360.
  7. ^ "Freshwater Pests of New Zealand" (PDF). NIWA. 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Physella acuta | NBN Atlas".
  9. ^ "European physa, Physella acuta - GB non-native species secretariat".
  10. ^ a b (in Czech) Horsák M., Juřičková L., Beran L., Čejka T. & Dvořák L. (2010). "Komentovaný seznam měkkýšů zjištěných ve volné přírodě České a Slovenské republiky. [Annotated list of mollusc species recorded outdoors in the Czech and Slovak Republics]". Malacologica Bohemoslovaca, Suppl. 1: 1–37. PDF.
  11. ^ Beran, L. (2002) Vodní měkkýši České Republiky – rozšíření a jeho změny, stanoviště, šíření, ohrožení a ochrana, červený seznam. Aquatic molluscs of the Czech Republic – distribution and its changes, habitats, dispersal, threat and protection, Red List. – Sborník přírodovědného klubu v Uherském Hradišti, Supplementum 10, 258 pp. (in Czech)
  12. ^ MollBase – Physella acuta – Spitze Blasenschnecke – Verbreitungsatlas Schleswig-Holstein 1991
  13. ^ "Physella acuta". 2005.
  14. ^ a b c Amy Benson. 2007. Physella acuta. USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL. Revision Date: 4/22/2004
  15. ^ Vázquez A. A. & Perera S. (2010). "Endemic Freshwater molluscs of Cuba and their conservation status". Tropical Conservation Science 3(2): 190–199. HTM, PDF.
  16. ^ Collado, Gonzalo A. (March 2017). "Unraveling cryptic invasion of a freshwater snail in Chile based on molecular and morphological data". Biodiversity and Conservation. 26 (3): 567–578. doi:10.1007/s10531-016-1255-y. ISSN 0960-3115. S2CID 34260702.
  17. ^ a b Noël E, Chemtob Y, Janicke T, Sarda V, Pélissié B, Jarne P, David P. Reduced mate availability leads to evolution of self-fertilization and purging of inbreeding depression in a hermaphrodite. Evolution. 2016 Mar;70(3):625-40. doi: 10.1111/evo.12886. Epub 2016 Mar 9. PMID: 26899922

Further reading[edit]

  • Naranjo-García E. & Appleton C. C. (2009). "The architecture of the physid musculature of Physa acuta Draparnaud, 1805 (Gastropoda: Physidae)". African Invertebrates 50(1): 1-11. Abstract

External links[edit]