4 Aquatic Snails

The aquatic gastropods of Kansas were compiled by starting with Leonard (1959) in the “Handbook of the Gastropods of Kansas”, updated for taxonomic changes. It also includes the review of Kansas prosobranch (gilled) snails by Angelo et al. (2002) and information from Burch (1989), Wu et al. (1997), Hubendick (1951), Perez et al. (2004), Dillon et al. (2006), and Wethington and Lydeard (2007). That all said, the taxonomic status of many freshwater snails has been or is under review and any attempt to provide a definitive “checklist” is risky. So, this is a “working checklist” and a lot of work is left to be done in terms of new collections and review of museum records.

There is a Checklist of the Aquatic Snails of Kansas at: https://www.emporia.edu/ksn/v61n2-december2014/index.html.

freshwatergastropodFreshwater snails fall into two major groups. The prosobranch snails have gills and an operculum (or cover plate) that isolates the animal inside the shell. The pulmonate snails lack gills but have pseudo-lungs and no operculum.

All of the prosobranch snails have the typical elevated coiled spire. The pulmonates have three different shell morphologies: the elevated coiled spire, the coiled shell without raised spire, and no coil at all (the limpets).

The list also includes one Kansas endangered species (Pomatiopsis lapidaria, the Slender Walker snail – actually an amphibious snail) and two threatened species (Probythinella emarginata, the Delta Hydrobe and Pleurocera acuta, the Sharp Hornsnail).

The Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) program of the USGS tracks the distribution of nonindigenous aquatic species. Their data (as of 7/31/2014) showed occurrences of the Chinese and Japanese mystery snails (Bellamya chinensis and Bellamya japonica). There were no records of the invasive New Zealand Mud Snail.

Checklist of the Aquatic Snails of Kansas

Prosobranch form (gill breathers)


  • Amnicola limosa (Mud Amnicola) [1]


  • Cincinnatia integra (Midland Siltsnail )
  • Probythinella emarginata (Delta Hydrobe) [Th]


  • Elimia potosiensis (Pyramid Elimia)
  • Pleurocera acuta (Sharp Hornsnail) [Th]


  • Pomatiopsis lapidaria (Slender Walker) [En]


  • Bellamya chinensis (Chineses Mysterysnail) [In]
  • Bellamya japonica (Japanese Mysterysnail) [In]
  • Campeloma decisum (Pointed Campeloma) [2]

Pulmonate form (lung breathers)


  • Galba bulimoides (Prairie Fossaria)
  • Galba humulis (a fossaria snail)
  • Pseudosuccinea columella (Mimic Lymnaea)
  • Stagnicola elodes (Marsh Pondsnail)


  • Physa acuta (Pewter Physa)
  • Physa gyrina (Tadpole Physa)
  • Physa pomilia (Glossy Physa)


  • Ferrissia fragilis (Fragile Ancylid)
  • Ferrissia rivularis (Creeping Ancylid)
  • Gyraulus circumstriatus (Disc Gyro)
  • Gyraulus parvus (Ash Gyro)
  • Helisoma anceps (Two-ridged Rams-horn)
  • Laevapex fuscus (Dusky Ancylid)
  • Micromenetus dilatatus (Bugle Sprite)
  • Planorbella trivolus (Marsh Rams-horn)
  • Promenetus exacuous (Sharp Sprite)
  • Promenetus umbilicatellus (Umbilicate Sprite)

[1] likely extinct, but present in Missouri (Angelo et al. 2002)
[2] (a) likely extinct, but there may be new findings; (b) species is present in Missouri; (c) its taxonomy is uncertain, originally thought to be Campeloma crassulum, the Ponderous Campeloma; may be C. decisum, the Pointed Campeloma
[Th] = Kansas Threatened Species
[En] = Kansas Endangered Species
[In] = Kansas Invasive species


Following limited new field collections and an updated of lists of species, a preliminary list of Kansas aquatic snails was generated based on the following sources:

Angelo, R., Cringan, M. & Fry, J. (2002) Distributional revisions and new and amended occurrence records for prosobranch snails in Kansas.  Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci. 105: 246 – 257.

Burch, J. (1989) North American Freshwater Snails. Hamburg, MI: Malacological Publications.

Dillon, R. T., Jr., B.T. Watson, T. W. Stewart & W. K. Reeves. 2006. The freshwater gastropods of North America. Internet address: http://www.fwgna.org

Hubendick, B. 1951. Recent Lymnaeidae.  Their variation, morphology, taxonomy, nomenclature, and distribution. Kungl. Svenska Vetensk. Akad. Handl., 3, 1-223.

Johnson, P. D., A. E. Bogan, K. M. Brown, N. M. Burkhead, J. R. Cordeiro, J. T. Garner, P. D. Hartfield, D. A. W. Lepitzki, G. L. Mackie, E. Pip, T. A. Tarpley, J. S. Tiemann, N. V. Whelan & E. E. Strong.  2013.  Conservation status of freshwater gastropods of Canada and the United States.  Fisheries 38: 247–282.

Leonard, A. (1959) Handbook of Gastropods in Kansas. Misc. Publ., no. 20. Lawrence: Univ. Kansas Mus. Natl. Hist.

Nature Serve (2012). http://www.natureserve.org/ (accessed November 14, 2012)

Wethington, A. R. & C. Lydeard (2007) A molecular phylogeny of Physidae (Gastropoda: Basommatophora) based on mitochondrial DNA sequences. J. Molluscan Stud. 73: 241 – 257.

Wu, S.-K., Oesch, R. & Gordon, M. (1997) Missouri Aquatic Snails. Jefferson City: Missouri Department of Conservation.


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