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Melanoides Tuberculata, also known as red-rimmed melania is a freshwater snail. Belonging to the genus Melanoides, it is commonly found in parts of southern Asia and Africa. Their names have been derived from rust-like reddish spots bearing on the shells. Melanoides Tuberculata is known for their burrowing nature.
Melanoides Tuberculata is also known by several other common names:
- Malaysian Trumpet Snail
- Trumpet Snail
- Melanoides tubercularia
- Malayan Mud Snail
- Red-rimmed Melania
- Dominican Trumpet Snail
- Malayan Burrowing Snail
Size: These snails grow up to a length of 20-27mm and at times even 30-36mm. There are certain types of fresh water snails that are 80mm long.
Color: These snails are commonly known as red-rimmed melania because of their reddish spots. The shells are light brown having rust-colored dots.
Shells: The shells stretch quite long and are conical in shape. Shells have 10-15 coils.
Here are a few behavioral traits of the freshwater snail:
- These species are known to have colonizing behavior. They tend to settle in areas which they turn into their own territories.
- They live for long periods and make dense populations.
- They tend to opt for regions that have high human activities.
- Malaysian Trumpet snails are considered nocturnal as they are found to be most active during nighttime.
- These creatures are burrowing in nature.
- They tend to socialize well with other non-predator aquatic animals.
- These snails are slow movers and keep at low levels, only reaching the top waters at night.
- They have no control over their internal temperatures so when kept in high temperatures they tend to move fast resulting in a low life span of 1 year.
The freshwater snails largely feed on algae. The young ones tend to feed on other eggs while still in the brood pouch. The young ones prefer the egg yolk while living inside the brood pouch. The adults mainly feed on plants – living or decayed.
When in tanks these creatures are fed with fish food, par-boiled vegetables and fruits.
The red-rimmed melania are usually found in subtropical and tropical northern Africa and southern Asia. The African regions where Malaysian Trumpet Snails are Algeria, Burundi, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Eastern Cape Province, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Senegal, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
The Asian regions where the species have been found in great extents are Bangladesh, China, India (including Andaman Islands), Japan, Laos, Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia), Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Thailand.
This snail has also been found in some other parts of the world. These areas have been recent additions i.e. these regions are not indigenous to the Melanoides Tuberculata. Due to heavy imports this species have been found in United States, Cuba, Brazil, and Germany. The distribution of these snails is expanding in many other exotic locations.
These species prefer living in streams and rivers. Slow and stagnant rivers form the natural habitats of Red-rimmed Melania. These creatures cannot bear living in strong currents. Whenever these creatures get caught in between strong currents, they tend to hit the banks. They strongly prefer the soft river beds and edges of the river banks.
These species prefer warm climates. They tend to live in temperatures ranging from 18 to 25 degree C and 18 to 32 degree C.
These snails are largely threatened by fishes. Clea helena and Cray fishes are snail eating aquatic predators which pose threat to this snail.
The Red-rimmed Melania are found to be great water-indicators. When seen above water it indicates something gravely wrong in the quality of the water. They cannot bear high saline waters. They are resistant to some other factors like high pH levels and low oxygen saturation levels. Water with high pH levels tend to break down their shell.
They usually have a great number of offspring. The Red-rimmed Melania females are known to be:
- Asexual - They tend to give birth, grow and develop the embryos without the fertilization process involved.
- Ovoviviparous – they reproduce by developing the embryos till the eggs hatch. With good fertilizing conditions females are able to produce fertilized eggs which are transferred to a brood pouch. The eggs remain in the brood pouch till the hatching time arrives.
Usually there are about 1 to 64 embryos in a brood pouch. They start reproducing when they reach the length of 5mm or 10mm. Eggs tend to be 60 to 90mm in diameter. A parent melanoides tuberculata has a shell size of 20mm which happens due to carrying 70 offspring.
These creatures are 1.2-2.2mm when they are born. They have very slow growth rate and reach maturity slowly. They normally become mature when they measure 25mm. A young one reaches 5mm before it leaves the parent.
These animals are known to carry parasites that are considered dangerous for humans. These species act as the host to trematode parasite which infects fountain darter, a Texan endangered fish.
In certain parts of China these creatures have been termed as agricultural pests. There have been reports of damage in Hong Kong’s Chinese cabbage plantations. These snails are territorial in nature. They erase competitions from native snail populations. Local snails have been known to become extinct because of melanoides tuberculata.
The IUCN or International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed them on the ‘Least Concern’ category.
Given here are a few interesting facts about the snails:
- They are parasite bearers and are considered threatening for humans.
- These snails have multiple reproductive behaviors such as asexual and ovoviviparous.
- They cannot live in waters having high salinity.
- They are territorial and create colonies in their living areas.
- They remain active mostly during night hours.
Here are a few images of the fresh water snail.